February 29, 1996
Talisman emails received 29 Feb 1996 --------------------------------------------------------- From: "QUANTA DAWNLIGHT"
To: email@example.com Date: Thu, 29 Feb 1996 20:40:51 EST Subject: (hillarious) This is a story typed verbatim from a book on 'Interviewing :Key to Effective Management by Joseph Zima, article titled Frames of Reference pg. 118-19. It is hillarious and please do not be offended. It deals with problems of intercultural miscommunication. Summary of the problem. An English Lady was interviewed for a job in Switzerland as a a teacher and after the interview she went back home it "suddenly occurred to her that she had not seen a W.C. (water closet) around the place ( meaning ladies room). She immediately wrote a note to the schoolmaster. He did not understand what W.C. stood for and asked the parish priest. Together they came up with the meaning being the Wayside Chapel. Then the schoolmaster wrote her. Dear Madam: I take great pleasure in informing you that the W.C. is situated nine miles from the house in the center of beautiful grove of pine trees surrounded by lovely grounds. It is capable of holding 229 people, and it is open on Sundays and Thursdays only. As there are great many people expected during the summer months, I would suggest that you come early, although there is usually plenty of standing room. This is an unfortunate situation, particularly if you are in the habit f going regularly. You will, no doubt, be glad to hear that a good number bring their own lunch and make a day of it, while others who can afford to go by car arrive just in time. I would especially recommen your LADYSHIP on Thursday when there is an organ accompaniment. The acoustics are excellent and even delicate sounds can be heard everywhere. It may interest you to know that my daughter was married in the W.C. and it was there that she met her husband. I can remember the rush there was for seats. There were ten people to a seat usually occupied by one. It was wonderful to see the expression on their faces. The newest attraction is a bell donated by a wealthy resident of the district. It rings everytime a person enters. A bazaar is to be held to provide plush seats for all since it is along felt want. My wife is rather delicate so she can't attend regularly. It is almost a year since she went last. Naturally, it pains her very much not to be able to go more often. I shall be delighted to reserve the best seat for you, if you wih, where you will be seen by all. For the children, there is a special time and place so that they will not disturb the others. Hoping to have been of some service to you, I remain, Sincerely yours, The Schoolmaster ************* by now Quanta Dawn-Light (*_*) =END= Date: Thu, 29 Feb 1996 18:11:19 -0700 (MST) From: Sadra To: Talisman@indiana.edu Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org, Masumian@mail.utexas.edu, Noorbakhsh.Monzavi@hibo.no Subject: Reuters 2/29/96 (fwd) > 'IRAN' STORIES >Transmission date: 96/02/29 > 1. 14:30 U.S. SAYS IRAN WANTS TO STEAL NUKE ARMS CAPABILITY > 2. 13:56 CENTRISTS, CONSERVATIVES OPEN IRAN ELECTION DRIVE > 3. 12:23 DISSIDENTS ACCUSE IRAN ENVOY OF KILLING EXILES > 4. 12:15 RUSSIA, CHINA, IRAN, INDIA PLAN NUCLEAR RESEARCH > 5. 12:14 VELAYATI COURTS RUSSIA ON CENTRAL ASIA TOUR > 6. 11:39 IRANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER TO VISIT RUSSIA IN MARCH > 7. 08:55 IRAN'S VELAYATI COURTS RUSSIA ON CENTRAL ASIA TOUR > 8. 02:50 QATAR REJECTS IRAN'S MILITARY OFFER, SEEKS FRENCH >Transmission date: 96/02/28 > 9. 15:58 IRAN YEARLY PISTACHIOS EXPORTS AT $400 MILLION > >=START= XMT: 14:30 Thu Feb 29 EXP: 4 :00 Sun Mar 03 > > > U.S. says Iran wants to steal nuke arms capability > By Irwin Arieff > PARIS, Feb 29 (Reuter) - The United States believes Iran is trying to steal >its way into the club of nations that have nuclear weapons, U.S. Undersecretary >of State Lynn Davis said on Thursday. > ``We have reason to believe that Iranians are looking, are out in the >world, trying to see whether they can find (the materials they need to produce >nuclear arms)'' Davis said. > ``We have no direct evidence that they have come close to that, but we know >that they are out there,'' Davis said in Paris on the final stop of a >three-country tour of Europe. > Davis, whose job includes disarmament and internal security issues, had >been asked by a reporter whether Iran was attempting to obtain nuclear weapons >by stealing what it needed. > She said Iran remains ``many years away'' from being able to make nuclear >arms but said they were ``every day, in various activities, trying to find >means to develop their own capabilities. > ``If you're successful in stealing it, you can reduce the time dramatically >in terms of developing a weapon,'' she said. > Washington has long accused Tehran of seeking to develop nuclear weapons >but has not previously openly said that Iran was attempting to steal what it >needs to produce them. > However, Germany's BND secret service head Konrad Porzner told a >parliamentary committee last month that his agency had proof Iran as well as >Iraq were trying through intermediaries to buy nuclear materials on the black >market. > Iran later protested to Germany over Porzner's remarks, saying the >allegations were false. > The United States imposed a trade and investment ban on Tehran last June, >accusing Tehran of both pursuing ``terrorism'' and trying to develop nuclear >weapons. > Iran has denied both charges, saying the United States was motivated by >opposition to the existence of an independent Islamic government in Iran. > Davis said that Washington wanted the entire international community to >stop selling Iran any goods that might be useful in making nuclear weapons, >whether the goods were destined for peaceful or military use. > ``The United States would wish that all other countries would not be >trading in any sensitive items for any purpose to Iran -- that is, for either >civil or military purposes,'' she said. > Iran has obtained nuclear technology for civilian programmes from several >nations including Russia, France and Germany. > REUTER > >=END= > >=START= XMT: 13:56 Thu Feb 29 EXP: 3 :00 Sun Mar 03 > > > Centrists, conservatives open Iran election drive > By Sharif Imam-Jomeh > TEHRAN, Feb 29 (Reuter) - Campaigning for Iran's March 8 parliamentary >elections started on Thursday, with centrists who back the policies of >President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and rival conservatives having the most >visible presence. > Thousands of posters in the green-white-red colours of the Iranian flag and >large newspaper ads carried the names of 30 Tehran pro-Rafsanjani candidates >who are challenging conservatives that control the 270-seat Majlis. > The Combattant Clergy Association (CCA), the main conservative group, has >put up posters with photographs of Iran's late supreme leader Ayatollah >Ruhollah Khomeini, his successor Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and 30 group >candidates. > In an apparent effort to mend ties after the split last month of Rafsanjani >supporters from the CCA, the two groups are backing 10 joint candidates, >including conservative leader and parliament speaker Ali Akbar Nateq-Nouri. > Campaign slogans of the two groups have included general calls for >preserving Islamic values, boosting development and social justice. But there >has been little substantive debate on political and economic programmes. > Rafsanjani supporters have criticised the lack of expertise among >parliament deputies and called for electing candidates with sound managerial >backgrounds who could help plan the country's economic development. > But some conservatives countered by stressing political and Islamic >commitment ahead of expertise, and accusing their rivals of wanting to fill >parliament with ``pro-Western technocrats.'' > The CCA list includes 12 Shi'ite Moslem clerics and five women, while >Rafsanjani supporters are fielding 10 clerics and five women, including Faezeh >Hashemi, a daughter of the president and Iran's top official for women's >sports. > The Society for the Defense of the Islamic Revolution, a new group set up >by former Intelligence (Internal Security) minister Mohammad Mohammadi >Reyshahri, has also backed 30 candidates, about half of them jointly with the >previous lists. > Ebrahim Yazdi, leader of the liberal Islamist opposition Iran Freedom >Movement, told Reuters on Thursday his illegal but tolerated coalition had yet >to decide whether to stay in the race or withdraw after the Guardian Council >barred all but four of its candidates, mostly lesser known figures, from >running. > Newspapers printed the names of 3,232 candidates approved by the clerical >council after screening 5,132 for their belief in Islam and Iran's Islamic >state system, including the principle that it is headed by a supreme spiritual >leader. > Several groups and newspapers had criticised the barring of over a third of >the candidates but Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, the council's secretary, said last >week the screening of candidates was necessary to weed out enemies of the >Islamic government. > The radical Islamist Mujahideen of the Islamic Revolution, a small legal >opposition group led by former heavy industries minister Behzad Nabavi, is >fielding 22 candidates. > A women's society and several other professional and political groups have >presented election slates, but independent candidates dominate the field by >their numbers, comprising over two thirds of the 420 people running for Majlis >in Tehran. > >=END= > >=START= XMT: 12:23 Thu Feb 29 EXP: 2 :00 Sun Mar 03 > > > Dissidents accuse Iran envoy of killing exiles > PARIS, Feb 29 (Reuter) - An Iranian opposition group said on Thursday it >had identified an Iranian diplomat based in Turkey and two other agents as >being involved in the murder of two dissidents in Istanbul last week. > ``...The National Council of Resistance of Iran identified three of the >terrorists involved in the assassination of Mrs Zahra Rajabi and Mr Ali >Moradi,'' the exiled group said in a statement issued in Paris. > Iran promptly denied the accusation. > The dissident group, linked to the Iraq-based Mujahideen Khalq armed >opposition, said Mohammad Esfahlani, who it alleged was an Iranian intelligence >operative assigned to the consulate in Istanbul under diplomatic cover, had >helped carry out the murders. > It said the agent, whose duties included monitoring Iranian exiles in >Turkey, had been following Moradi and surveying the apartment where the pair >were staying. > The Iranian embassy in Ankara dismissed the charges as groundless, saying >the names of the alleged killers as provided by the National Council were >fabricated. > The embassy said in a statement the murders were carried about by the >exiled group itself ``to eliminate its own internal opponents.'' > ``The said terrorist grouplet has no other option except through...such >accusations in order to put its own intra-organisational actions in disguise,'' >the embassy said. > Authorities said Rajabi and Moradi were shot dead in a flat they were >sharing in the Aksaray district of Istanbul on February 20. > The Paris group also provided what it said were names and details of travel >documents used by Iranian intelligence to infiltrate two other agents into >Turkey. > Last week Massoud Radjavi, president of the National Council, called on the >Turkish authorities to close all Iranian diplomatic offices in Turkey after the >killings. > Radjavi said Rajabi had been active in the Iranian opposition since 1977, >serving as a member of the Mujahideen leadership since 1993. > He said she had been the target of an earlier assassination attempt by >Iranian agents in Germany in 1992. > The National Council statement identified Moradi as an Iranian activist >well-known for his activities in Turkey. > Turkish police last November arrested an Islamist hit man wanted for the >killing of Mujahideen Khalq member Ali Akbar Ghorbani and Abbas Qolizadeh, a >supporter of the late Iranian shah. Iran denied involvement in the killings. > >=END= > >=START= XMT: 12:15 Thu Feb 29 EXP: 2 :00 Sun Mar 03 > > > Russia, China, Iran, India plan nuclear research > MOSCOW, Feb 29 (Reuter) - Russia, China, Iran and India have set up a >research foundation to try to harness thermonuclear power for commercial ends, >Russian news agencies said on Thursday. > The Asiatic Fund for Thermonuclear Research aimed to build an experimental >nuclear reactor by 1998, Itar-Tass news agency said, quoting a scientist from a >Russian scientific centre. > Russia's Atomic Energy Ministry, China's National Atomic Corporation, the >Indian Institute of Plasma Research and Iran's Atomic Energy Ministry are to >join forces in the project, said Interfax news agency. > Tass quoted Yevgeny Velikhov from Moscow's Kurchatov Institute as saying >Russia's economic problems meant it would contribute mainly expertise. > It was not clear which of the other countries would be prepared to bankroll >the research. Tass quoted Velikhov as saying Japan had also shown interest in >the project, but gave no further details. > Velikhov said thermonuclear power could not be adapted for military ends, >but industry sources said that the substances used did have military >applications. > The plan is likely to upset Washington, which has expressed concern over >cooperation between former communist rivals Russia and China and Iran, which >the U.S. views as an outlaw state. > U.S. pressure has so far failed to stop Russia going ahead with a contract >to build three reactors at Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant. > REUTER > >=END= > >=START= XMT: 12:14 Thu Feb 29 EXP: 2 :00 Sun Mar 03 > > > Velayati courts Russia on Central Asia tour > (Adds comments on Russia visit, trip to Kyrgyzstan, recasts) > By Douglas Busvine > ALMATY, Feb 29 (Reuter) - Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayati, on a >tour of Central Asia, said on Thursday that Tehran shared Russia's aim of >maintaining stability on the southern fringes of the former Soviet Union. > Velayati pressed a compromise proposal to renew a U.N. ceasefire in >Tajikistan whose expiry on Monday raised fears of an upsurge of violence after >a three-year civil war. > ``Without doubt Russia and Iran can play an important role in dealing with >the crisis and stabilising the situation in the region,'' Itar Tass news agency >quoted him saying in the Tajik capital Dushanbe after meeting President Imomali >Rakhmonov. > Velayati, who is due to visit Russia on March 7-8, later went to Kyrgyzstan >where he told reporters: ``We hope the ceasefire...will be extended.'' > Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Albert Chernyshev said Velayati's visit, >would touch on the situations in Tajikistan, Afghanistan and the Armenian >enclave of Nagorno Karabakh in Azerbaijan, Interfax news agency said. > Fighting is still going on between the pro-Moscow Afghan and Tajik >goverments and their Islamic opponents and a drawn-out conflict in >Nagorno-Karabakh remains unresolved. > Moscow views Iran's growing commercial and political influence in Central >Asia, its geopolitical backyard, with deep suspicion. > Russian Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov has visited the region twice >since his appointment in January and has called for peace in Tajikistan -- >Russia's ``strategic underbelly.'' > The Russian Foreign Ministry called on the opposition to agree to extend >the ceasefire -- first agreed in Tehran in 1994 -- for the duration of peace >talks, Tass reported from Moscow. > Iran, branded by Washington as an outlaw state, harbours leaders of >Tajikistan's Islamic opposition who fled the country in 1992 and are leading a >fightback by insurgent rebels who have won ground in central Tajikistan in the >past month. > The Tajik Foreign Ministry said rebels killed 12 people, including four >government troops, travelling on Tuesday between Dushanbe and the disputed >region of Garm to the east. > Neutral diplomats say Iran is playing a constructive role in peace efforts >by trying to moderate the opposition's demands. > Its proposal softens opposition terms for extending the ceasefire, calling >for a standstill of fighting at current front lines and a prisoner exchange. [B> Velayati said after meeting Kyrgyz President Askar Akayev that both the >Tajik government and opposition had agreed to swap prisoners of war and review >the venue of U.N. peace talks. > B But despite Velayati's remarks, it seemed unlikely that a concrete >ceasefire deal had been agreed and no date for further face-to-face talks was >announced. The opposition has rejected an invitation to a special parliamentary >session on March 11. > Velayati, who is also seeking to open up the Central Asian hinterland to >IrBanian exports, is inviting regional leaders to the opening of a railway from >Iran to Turkmenistan in May. > The link would connect the Gulf port of Bandar Abbas to the old Soviet rail >network and enable Iranian goods to penetrate the land-locked Central Asian >mar[Bket of 50 million people. > ``The railway linking the Central Asian states shows the way into the 21st >century,'' Akayev said. > Velayati was due to travel to Kazakhstan on Friday. > REUT[BER > >=END= > >=START= XMT: 11:39 Thu Feb 29 EXP: 1 :00 Sun Mar 03 >[B > > Iranian foreign minister to visit Russia in March > MOSCOW, Feb 29 (Reuter) - Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayati will >visit Russia next week to discuss the volatile former Soviet republics where >Moscow and Tehran are competing for influence. > Russia's deputy foreign minister, Albert Chernyshev, said the visit, on >March 7 and 8, would touch on the situation in Tajikistan, Afghanistan and the >Armenian enclave of Nagorno Karabakh in Azerbaijan, Interfax news agency said >on Thursday. > Fighting is continuing between the pro-Moscow Afghan and Tajik goverments >and their Islamic opponents and a drawn-out conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh >remains unresolved. > Chernyshev said issues of military and technical cooperation between Russia >and Iran would not be discussed during the visit. > Russia is building three reactors at Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant >despite pressure from the United States, which imposed an embargo on Iran last >April because of Tehran's support for extremist groups in the Middle East. > REUTER > >=END= > >=START= XMT: 08:55 Thu Feb 29 EXP: 8 :00 Sun Mar 03 > > > Iran's Velayati courts Russia on Central Asia tour > By Douglas Busvine > ALMATY, Feb 29 (Reuter) - Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayati said >in Tajikistan on Thursday that Tehran shared Russia's aim of maintaining >stability on the southern fringes of the former Soviet Union. > Velayati, on a tour of the formerly Soviet Central Asia region, was >pressing a compromise proposal to renew a U.N. ceasefire in Tajikistan. The >expiry of the ceasefire has raised fears of a return to the violence of past >civil war. > ``Russia and Iran have common views on resolving the Tajik crisis,'' >Itar-Tass news agency quoted Velayati as saying. > ``Without doubt Russia and Iran can play an important role in dealing with >the crisis and stabilising the situation in the region,'' he told reporters in >the Tajik capital Dushanbe after talks with President Imomali Rakhmonov. > Velayati's comments will be viewed with interest in Russia. Moscow views >Iran's growing commercial and political interest in the region, long its >strategic preserve, with deep suspicion. > Iran, branded by the U.S. an outlaw state, harbours leaders of the Islamic >Tajik opposition who fled the country in 1992 and are leading a fightback by >insurgent rebels who have won territory in central Tajikistan in the past >month. > The Tajik foreign ministry said rebels had killed 12 people, four of them >government soldiers, travelling between Dushanbe and the disputed region of >Garm to the east on Tuesday. > But despite the upsurge of violence, diplomats say Iran is playing a >constructive and pragmatic role in the peace process by trying to moderate the >demands of the opposition. > Iran's proposal envisages softening opposition terms for extending the >ceasefire. But it still calls for both sides to stop fighting where they stand, >thus recognising rebel gains. > With tensions running high, Velayati said it was unlikely opposition >leaders would attend a special session of the Tajik parliament on March 11 to >which they had been invited. > Central Asian leaders -- all former communists -- are deeply afraid of the >threat posed by militant Islam and still look to Moscow for economic and >political leadership. > Russian Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov has visited the region twice >since his appointment last month, and has called for peace in Tajikistan -- >Russia's ``strategic underbelly.'' > Velayati is also on a mission to open up the Central Asian hinterland to >Iranian exports, and is inviting regional leaders to the opening of a railway >from Iran to Turkmenistan in May. > The link would connect the Gulf port of Bandar Abbas to the Soviet rail >network and enable Iranian goods -- cheaper than western imports but of better >quality than local produce -- to penetrate the Central Asian market of 50 >million inhabitants. > Although Russia may frown on Iran's attempts to undermine its economic >hegemony, the two countries' interests converge in other areas -- such as a row >with newly-independent states over ownership of the Caspian Sea's potentially >huge oil reserves. > Velayati said Iran and Russia opposed the eastward expansion of NATO. ``It >will not bring stability to the region,'' he said. > He said he planned to visit Russia, but no date had yet been fixed. >Velayati, who visited Uzbekistan on Wednesday, flew on to Kyrgyzstan and was >due in Kazakhstan on Friday, officials said. > REUTER > >=END= > >=START= XMT: 02:50 Thu Feb 29 EXP: 2 :00 Sun Mar 03 > > > Qatar rejects Iran's military offer, seeks French > DUBAI, Feb 29 (Reuter) - Qatar has rejected an Iranian offer to send 30,000 >soldiers to help protect its security following an alleged plot and has turned >to France instead, an Arabic daily said on Thursday quoting a senior Qatari >official. > ``Iran has offered to send us military forces to help us protect our >security and expressed readiness to send 30,000 Iranian soldiers, but we >apologised...'' the London-based al-Hayat newspaper quoted a high-level Qatari >source. > Qatar said last week that it had foiled a February 17 plot against the >government and arrested around 100 suspects. > The source said Qatar ``will seek the help of French troops to protect its >security against any foreign risks,'' adding these troops were expected to >arrive soon. > The United States and France have brought forward wargames with Qatar to >demonstrate their commitment to the Gulf state after the foiled plot, diplomats >said on Tuesday. > It was not clear from the newspaper's report whether the French troops >would be separate from the those taking part in the wargames. > Two French warships, the Jules Verne and the Anquetil, which has been >patrolling Gulf waters for the past two and a half months, will take part in >the exercise. > The newspaper said Qatar could have not accepted the Iranian offer because >it would have angered the United States which has a military presence there and >is an ally. > The United States vowed to support the security of Qatar immediately after >Doha's announcement that it had foiled a plot against it and its emir, Sheikh >Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani. > Qatar is a site of one of Washington's pre-positioned arms centres in the >region. > The newspaper said Qatar's acceptance of the Iranian offer would have also >meant ``cutting all its bridges with its Gulf neighbours, foremost of which is >Saudi Arabia.'' > Qatar's already tense ties with most of its Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) >partners were further damaged when Doha officials, in closed-door talks with >foreign ambassadors, linked Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE to the plot, >officials and diplomats in the region said. > Saudi Arabia is the only state with land borders with Qatar. > Independent-minded Qatar has not officially linked any of its GCC >neighbours to the plot which it said had foreign backing. > Qatar said supporters of the emir's father Sheikh Khalifa bin Hamad >al-Thani, who was toppled in a bloodless palace coup in June, and former >members of his bedouin bodyguard were among those arrested. The former emir has >denied any involvement. > His son, the current emir, has accused ``foreign sides and some of those >surrounding the father'' of inciting the former emir to return to power by >force. > Sheikh Khalifa did not name these foreign sides. ``We do not want to >embarrass anybody or to be accusaed of spreading accusations although we have >proof to implicate foreign sides in attempting to destabilise security and >stability in Qatar,'' he told al-Hayat. > The newspaper said the alleged plot was aimed at bringing in mercenaries >from abroad in addition to forces inside to blow up the palaces of the emir, >his deputy and his foreign minister. > REUTER > >=END= > >=START= XMT: 15:58 Wed Feb 28 EXP: 5 :00 Sat Mar 02 > > > Iran yearly pistachios exports at $400 million > TEHRAN, Feb 28 (Reuter) - Iran made $400 million in the past year from >pistachio exports, a major hard currency earner after oil and Persian carpets, >the Iranian news agency IRNA said on Wednesday. > It quoted Ministry of Agriculture official Hossein Farivar as saying Iran >earned about $400 million in the Iranian year ending on March 19 from the >export of half of its pistachio production of 210,000 tonnes. > About 25,000 hectares (61,800 acres) of land are under pistachio >cultivation across Iran, the agency added. > Carpets, estimated to earn more than $1 billion this year, dominate Iran's >non-oil exports which are expected to be about $3.2 billion. Oil revenue is >expected to reach $14.6 billion. > >=END= > > > > =END= Date: Thu, 29 Feb 1996 21:11:19 -0600 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Mark A. Foster) Subject: Feminine and Masculine Cc: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org Talismanians - I think that part of the problem with European-based societies is that we have too rigid a concept of gender. It seems to me that we could learn a great deal from many Native American peoples who accept not two, but four, genders: 1. masculine 2. feminine 3. feminized masculine (berdaches) 4. masculinized feminine I sometimes feel that, at the root of many sociocultural problems with gender identity is the way in which we tend to compartmentalize it (much as we do with race). Everyone has to be either feminine or masculine. So, masculine women were, and still are to some extent, regarded as dykes, and feminine men continue to be seen as sissies or wimps. (Women are generally ahead of men in having integrated traits from both genders, i.e., psychological androgyny.) The attempt at intimidation or forcing people to conform their "common-sense reasoning," as Harold Garfinkel called it, to a set of predetermined, inflexible rules is not only hurtful but, given what we know of human behavior, is also extemely unrealistic. To the Light, Mark (Foster) **************************************************************************** Mark A. Foster, Ph.D. * Sociologist of Religion * Full-Time College Faculty Owner, 3 Internet Lists * Staff, 3 CompuServe Forums * Staff, America Online Dir., Reality Sciences Inst. * Acad. Dir., Found. for the Science of Reality List Co-Mod. * BBS Sysop (913/768-1113) * Bd. of Dir./Talent, Tektite Films **************************************************************************** "The Prophets of God have been the Servants of reality; Their Teachings constitute the science of reality." - `Abdu'l-Baha "The sciences of today are bridges to reality; if they lead not to reality, naught remains but fruitless illusion." - `Abdu'l-Baha =END= Date: Fri, 1 Mar 96 13:04:43 JST From: "Stephen R. Friberg" To: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org Cc: email@example.com Subject: The Buddha's criterion for accepting other Teachers Dear Bruce, Jack and Friends: A short while back, I posted "The Shorter Discourse on the Lion's Roar," a Sutta from the Pali that records what the Buddha has said with regards to accepting other teachings. Here, I discuss what it appears that He considers the fundamentals that must be addressed if other teachings are to be accepted. The essential points seem to be in paragraph 14: 14. "Bhikkhus, when a Tathagata, accomplished and fully enlightened, claims to propound the full understanding of all kinds of clinging, he completely describes the full understanding of all kinds of clinging: he describes the full understanding of clinging to sensual pleasures, clinging to views, clinging to rules and observances, and clinging to a doctrine of self." Considering a Tathagata to be a Teacher, this seems to be saying the following. The Teacher must first be "accomplished and fully enlightened." If he satisfies this requirement, then he must stake a claim about his teachings: he must claim to explain the nature of "all kinds of clinging". It seems to me that this includes making a claim for the station of being a Teacher. Then, there seems to be four "understandings" that he must correctly propound, i.e., he must "completely describe the full understanding of all kinds of clinging." These four understandings, all about clinging, are: 1). Clinging to sensual pleasures. 2). Clinging to views. 3). Clinging to rules and observances. 4). Clinging to a doctrine of self. I think it should be made clear that by propounding a correct understanding is *not* meant providing a theoretical picture only. Rather, it means that the followers must be able to apply that understanding in their own lives so as to rid themselves of the four clingings. If the Teacher correctly propounds an understanding of these things, then, according to the Buddha: (paragraph 15). 15. "Bhikkhus, in such a Dhamma and Discipline as that it is plain that confidence in the Teacher is rightly directed, that confidence in the Dhamma is rightly directed, that fulfilment of the precepts is rightly directed, and that the affection among companions in the Dhamma is rightly directed. Why is that? Because that is how it is when the Dhamma and Discipline is well proclaimed and well expounded, emancipating, conducive to peace, expounded by one who is fully enlightened." Clearly, such propounding of understanding must lead to emanicipation and peace, or else it can be judged faulty. Obviously, there is much more to be explained about these criteria. But, they are basically quite straightforward and simple. It seems to me that using these criteria, or others that can be found in the recorded sayings of the Buddha, is very conducive to useful discussions about the relationship between the Baha'i Faith and Buddhism, perhaps more so than the arguments now being employed. Yours respectfully, Stephen R. Friberg =END= Date: Thu, 29 Feb 1996 23:33:23 -0500 To: Talisman@indiana.edu From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Marie L. Procter) Subject: Buddhism and the Baha'i Faith Dear Derek - touche! as the French would say. I thought your analysis of the debate over Buddhism very much to the point, especially your last remark about inviting Fozdar and Momen to review any book that Bruce Burrill would write about his version of Buddhism. Regards, Marie =END= Date: Thu, 29 Feb 1996 23:33:27 -0500 To: Talisman@indiana.edu From: email@example.com (Marie L. Procter) Subject: Spirituality and Mysticism Conference Dear Talismanians, The following is my synopsis of the Conference I wrote for a friend here in Vermont. I am also putting it in our March newsletter. Baha'is from Japan, Omaha, Nebraska , Vermont, Texas, Oregon, Arizona and many other states gathered at the beautiful Bosch Baha'i School set admidst ancient redwood trees in the Santa Cruz mountains where it snowed and hailed intermittedly, for the first Spirituality and Mysticism Conference. The program included three scholarly papers presented by regular contributors to the Baha'i E-Mail dialogue list called Talisman, and LuAnne Hightower, who drummed, sang and chanted Sufi melodies throughout the weekend. "The Mystical Path in the Writings of Shaykh Ahmad," was presented by Dr. Juan Cole who spoke for 10 minutes on video and then took questions via a live telephone hook-up. Some of the points in his talk that I found interesting included the idea that we can develop our own spiritual practices as long as they don't become rigid. The most important thing is to have time for mystical/spiritual practices as well as the time we spend in committee meetings. Many people are beginning to feel that we spend too much time on administration and not enough time together in worship. The idea of planning weekly meetings to say prayers and sing the praises of God was widely discussed and reflected a yearning for a reemergence of the mystical elements of our Faith. An interesting point was that mysticism survived in Catholicism because they had a central authority which allowed them the luxury to organize for mystical purposes. In Calvinism there was no room for differentiation because all were considered equal. Someone mentioned Calvin and Hobbes and I just got that perhaps the cartoonist was playing off the philosophy of the great Reformationist preacher, Calvin and the philosophy of Hobbes. I wish I knew more about both to comment further. Dr. Cole did say that Calvinism repressed mysticism - and our forebearers - the Puritianis - were imbued with an attitude that did not sanction spiritual practices that encouraged mysticism. Today, people are yearning for the return of the mysterious and spiritual union. Baha'i teachings are designed to bring together the mystical and the practical. We need the adminsitration to get things done, and some argue that American Baha'is have gone overboard on this. While we dwelt a lot on Sufi mystical practices, there was also a realization that we have to develop an authentic Baha'i form. We have a responsibility as spiritual beings to plumb the depths of our own traditions. No spiritual practice arises in a vacuum. Traditions from the past are important guides and we can plumb them for meaning but we have to avoid blind imitation. In the Sufi tradition, for example, it is essential that one have a spiritual guide or master whereas in the Faith, we are to become our own master. We can be examples to each other and give wake up calls or share our insights, but in Baha'i mysticism, the institution of the Sufi Master is abolished, because no one is superior to anyone else. I'm not sure how this fits in with our institution of the Learned which includes Hands of the Cause of God, etc. except that the Hands are all extremely humble and self-effacing, while projecting an unmistakable aura of holiness and great spiritual presence. Many have looked to them for guidance and understanding of the Writings, sometimes with surprising results. One person told a story of meeting Ruhiyyih Khanum and asking her if she could explain the symbols and metaphors of the Tablet of the Holy Mariner. She explained that even though the Guardian regularly deepened her on the mystical aspects of the Faith, it was not her "cup of tea." She advised him to ask Hand of the Cause of God, Mr. Faizi to explain this tablet. Some time later, he chanced to be with Mr. Faizi and asked him for help in unraveling the mysteries of the Holy Mariner. Much to his surprise, Mr. Faizi had a copy in his coat pocket. The tablet was underlined and annotated with explanations. It was as if he had been preparing for this very meeting to answer the questions of the one who found him. One never knows, does one? I conclude that it's very important to have questions - then the teacher appears. Right! The second speaker, Terry Culhane from Omaha, Nebraska, spoke on the Baha-Maidens Dialogue, or Exploring and Explaining the Chief Metaphor of our Faith....the encounter of Baha'u'llah with the Maid of Heaven in the Syah Chal. His main point was that we must integrate the experience of Baha'u'llah in the Syah Chal in our understanding of the Faith. The fact that the Revelation came to Him in a feminine form symbolized a redefinition of the male and female presence as an inclusive reality that transcends both. He described this encounter as a dialogue that manifests in ethical action - how to live and how to be or: the Ethic of Law and Justice and the Ethic of Care, Rights, Moral Action as described by Carol Gilligan, Harvard professor and author. Another interesting concept that keeps coming up in Talisman discussions is the word, "Irfan" - which is a Persian word (I think, or maybe it's Arabic) that refers to an experiential knowledge of the heart. A recent article on p. 11 of the Dec. 31, 1995 issue in The American Baha'i, outlines the plans of the Institute for Baha'i Studies to hold a history conferences and something called the "Iran Colloquium." Attendees at these conferences are Baha'i scholars who discuss ways to respond to criticisms of the Faith. At the Mysticism and Spirituality Conference, I gleaned that references to "irfan" have to do with condemming all forms of prejudice, recognizing the "other" as lover, and most especially the recognition of Him who is the desire of the world. Terry Culhane sees the House of Worship as an outward symbol of our desire for union with God. First, we must establish the Mashriqu'l-Adkhar in our hearts and then practice that worship with others - preferably in a special place especially designed for this purpose. To this end, the Baha'is of Omaha are planning to build a house of worship. It's been debated quite hotly on Talisman as to whether or not this is a prudent time to embark on such a venture when we need to be putting all our resources into completing the Arc, but the guidance is there in the Writings that Houses of Worship should be built and can be built by individual communities. Some have pointed out that it would be wise to consult with the NSA and the UHJ and others have said that this is not necessary. It will be interesting to see what develops. The third speaker was Nima Haziri. His topic was Mystical Praxis of Gnosis: The Quest for Perfection. His talk was most erudite. One thing I wrote down was that there are three levels of knowing: opinion, scientific and all-encompassing knowledge where the distinction between subject and object is obliterated. The main point I got from his talk was that there is no union without separation or, to put it another way, "that which is pushing me away is pulling me in." A typically paradoxical statement of mystical significance. Saturday afternoon we had a choice of "breakout" sessions. I chose to go to one called, "A Mystical Experience Using Music: A guided Lesson Taught by Amir." This proved to be a very relaxing and centering experience where we visualized 'Abdu'l-Baha coming towards us, coming closer as we lay on the floor in a relaxed state, holding a polished stone, (a symbol of patience) in our hands. That night I went to sleep visualizing 'Abdu'l-Baha. The next day, I was in a wonderful frame of mind - feeling very loving and happy. A lot of things conspired to produce this euphoria........LuAnne's drumming and chanting, the inspirational service Saturday evening to commemorate the life of Darvish Sidq 'Ali, one of the Sufis from the time of Baha'u'llah. In Memorials of the Faithful, 'Abdu'l-Baha recalls how Baha'u'llah "set apart a special night and He dedicated it to Darvish Sidq 'Ali. He wrote that every year....the dervishes should bedeck a meeting place, which should be in a flower garden, and gather there to make mention of God." The program notes said that "as far as we know, this will be the first commemoration in Darvish Sidq 'Ali's memory since the time of Baha'u'llah. The program began with the lighting of 40 candles in memory of the 40 years that Baha'u'llah spent in prison and exile, and included original music and chanting. It was lovely! The Conference concluded on Sunday morning with time for questions and answers and consultation. Some of the points made include: 1) We need to create an environment in our communities where all views can be heard. 2) The Mashriq is the place where spiritual practices can be enshrined. 3) We need to be witnesses to each other in our pain and in our joy. 4) Mysticism is a tool for empowerment. 5) This is one immutable Cause with all its ups and downs. We need not fear that the current movement to reclaim mysticism will create a splinter in the Faith. 6) We need to learn how to bring modalities from other traditions into our spiritual practices, such as breath work, relaxation, etc. While it isn't easy to capture the experience that includes so many intangibles, I wanted to be able to share with you my perspective on the experience. Allah'u'abha! I hope that others will share their impressions and experiences. Fond regards to all, Marie =END= Date: Fri, 1 Mar 1996 00:05:18 -0500 To: Talisman@indiana.edu From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Marie L. Procter) Subject: Mysticism Conference Response Dear All, I thought my friend, Tom Lanphier's response to my report on the Mysticism Conference would be interesting to others on this list. Date: 29 Feb 96 14:56:59 EST From: Patricia.B.Fisken@Dartmouth.EDU (Patricia B. Fisken) Subject: from Tom L. To: email@example.com Status: Dear Marie, Allah'u'Abha Thanks for the brief intro to your trip to the mysticism meeting. I'm struck by a few things and will ramble on a bit, not particular order... Read #204 of Selections from the Writings of 'Abdul-Baha, supposedly written to Hand of the Cause of God Samendari. (with the understanding that the "learned" are the ones refered to as "..how long will they delay their coming?" ..does this mean that it is up to each individual to come forth???) I'd be real curious to understand more about Shaykh Ahmad especially because I think the path of the Dawn Breakers is so key to our own path as their spiritual decendants. The Maid of Heaven. In Lokota traditions (expresed by Black Elk to a white scholar in the 1930's?) Black Elk relates the story of the mystical spirit who came to his people and gave them the Sacred Pipe. She (underlined) was called White Buffalo Calf Woman. I've always believed that this Spirit was one and the same as the Maid of Heaven, but that is my own vain imagining. I'm waiting for more insight to come from Bahah'u'llah's writings to confirm or explain that. As for "developing an authentic Baha'i form" of mysticism, I guess I'm a little disappointed to not find your notes filled with quotes and references or deeper explanations of things from Baha'u'llah's writings or from the Bab's or 'Abdul-Baha's etc. (Note: I am too. I hope that future Mysticism Conferences will address this point more directly.) But that is perhaps just more "proof" of your comment about "it's very important to have questions - then the teacher appears." I was expecting to hear someone explaining more about the long obligatory prayer for instance, or the prayers for dreams and morning and the clear eye'd wakefulness they call out for. There seem to be so many little quotes in the writings that are related to 'do this and this will follow' etc. But then this is all related to my reaction to your comments about the third speakers obtuseness, I find that the language of mysticism can be very simple and very clear or it be understandable to only the person speaking it. It's like the language of our dreams. It takes time for us to learn it and then we can begin to understand the things "spoken of" in the dream time. If we expect to understand it just because it's our dreams and we don't take the time to learn the language, then I think we miss an awful lot of the deeper meanings. And then, if we have a friend who is also learning their own dream language and we consult together, the windows can be thrown even wider still as we see more and more clearly. Then if one adds Jung or some other explainer into the mix, and add for studying the Writing's insights on dreaming etc, well, NOW we're getting somewhere! It would be interesting to learn the language of mysticism that the third speaker (Nima Haziri) understands. I guess what I long for is to have a common language and then use the light of Baha'u'llah's writings to illumin it all. Make any sense? I think the mix of practical and mystic demands a lot of care and focus especailly when we regard the wonderful mix of backgrounds we all can come from. I remember a Native American prophecy which said that once upon a time a long time ago the Creator gave each of the people a special thing to learn and be responsible for and then when it was time for the peoples to unify, each people could bring their skill to the mix of unity. The Red People were given responsiblity for the earth, White People were given fire, Black peoples were given water and the Yellow people were given air. If we look at breath and meditation practices from Asia, if we look at the love for Mother Earth by the Indians of this hemiphere, if we look at how good white folks seem to be able to do things from the light bulbs to automobiles to rocket ships, and if we look at the scientist who did the earliest work with blood and blood plasma (mostly water) a Black man...perhaps we can see what Unity might bring to humanity as we "carry forward an ever advancing civilization." I sounds like your trip was VERY worthwhile!! Perhaps the door is opening for us to find that common language with which to speak of these mysterious things? Thanks for sharing! More later, I've got to run away but I'll write some more about my China plans etc... Love, Tom =END= Subject: personal mail To: firstname.lastname@example.org Date: Thu, 29 Feb 96 22:04:59 PST From: Brian and Ann Miller Dear Talizens, It seems I inadvertently sent a private message to Richard Hollinger via Talisman. Public affection is one thing, but confessions on Talisman? Oh Well. Please use the delete key. I am terribly envious of you all freezing in my neighborhood at the mysticism conference while I was warm and dry and nursing a vicious cold 30 miles away. I greatly appreciate the reports and discussions. Could any of the presenters publish their papers/ presentations, comments or disclaimers on Talisman? Warm regards, Brian Miller [email@example.com] -- =END= Date: Fri, 1 Mar 96 15:36:13 JST From: "Stephen R. Friberg" To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Too touche'. The debate about Buddhism. Dear Friends: I know, especially after what appears to be a marvelous mysticism conference, that some of the friends are weary of arguing and negative-seeming critiques. So, I can understand and sympathize with the call for more a more open-minded discussion of Buddhism. HERE HERE for those who are tired of excessive criticism!! BUT!! With respect to the discussion about Buddhism, I would like to make some important points. First, Bruce Burrill is here by our invitation. A number of us, myself included, value his contributions very much. Not only myself, but Juan, Steve Scholl, Tony, Nima, Mark, Jack Coleman, Zaid, and many others very much appreciate not only Bruce's perspective, but also his clear feedback, even if it sounds a bit like a broken record at times. Let me try to say what I see him doing, and why I value it so much. He is making a very important point to us, even if he does so from a western intellectual's perspective. What he is saying is that Buddhism has an entirely different viewpoint on a number of issues, including religion, belief, and the Ultimate, and that we should not try to impose our perspective on it if we wish to understand it. In a way that is maddening to some, he is saying (do I get this right, Dr. Burl) that "the Ultimate is not what it used to be." Oops, let me look at my notes. Ah, so sorry! What he is saying is that "the Ultimate is not what you think it is!" Putting it succinctly in a physicist's language, this reads "the Ultimate is *not* the Ultimate!" Get it? Yours lovingly, Stephen Friberg Physics, Japan =END= Date: Fri, 1 Mar 1996 00:48:24 -0600 To: email@example.com From: Bruce Burrill Subject: Re: Buddhism and the Baha'i Faith. Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org (DEREK COCKSHUT ) Cockshut, > "Burrill version of Buddhism is purely his own, I find no reference in any of his postings which identify him with any particular body , branch or School of the Religion. It would be erroneous for anyone to assume his ideas represent the wholeness or even the essential essence of that Religion." < Your msg is an rather interesting personal attack, which is rather hard to take seriously since you do not see fit, or are unable to, show a basis for it, that mine is an idiosyncratic Buddhism. Now, according to you I must identify myself with a particular branch or school of Buddhism to be taken seriously. But then I suppose that if I do that, then I'll be dismissed as being particularly sectarian. I am not sure that anything I say or do will please you or some of the other Baha'is who would rather see Buddhism differently from how I see it. > "However it seems to me he has developed his version of Buddhism that is separate from the main body of the Religion.with a syncretic methodology that suits his own mind set." < And you would be kind enough to share with me a careful analysis of what brought you to this notion, and would you be kind enough to show me that what I have said is not in accord with the "main body of the Religion." This is a very serious accusation, and I think you need to either withdraw it and apologize, or back it up. The question of the "main body of the Religion" is an important one. The Buddhist sources I draw for my understanding are from what could be called mainstream Buddhism, particularly in terms of Indian Buddhism. I have here frequently quoted the Pali texts, I have looked at the Diamond Sutra in response to Fozdar's eisegesis. I see my self very much in terms of mainstream Buddhism, which is rooted in the Nikaya texts and expounded and expanded by the likes of Mogaliputta-Tissa, Buddhaghosa, Vasubhandhu, Asanga, Nagarjuna, Dharmakrti, Shantideva, Candrakirti and Tsongkhapa, all of which I have studied. I find that my understanding of Buddhism is rooted in the Pali texts. I have a great fondness for the Prajnaparamita Literature and I feel that the Prasangika Madhyamaka, the school of the Dalai Lama, is very a clear and appropriate exposition and expansion of the Buddha's teachings as found in the Nikayas. I would have to say that I have said _nothing_ that is inconsistent with or outside any variation within mainstream Buddhism. The fact that in the Pali texts you find the notion of a god rejected both directly and by virtue of the "metaphysics" presented in the texts is not something I made up, nor is the fact that the Indian doctors of Buddhism that consider the god notion reject it, nor is the fact that the Hindus considered Buddhism atheistic. It is not something that I made up that the Nagarjuna and the Madhyamaka school the grew up after him reject the notion of an "Absolute," nor is it something I made that this is consistent with the Pali texts. I'll await your showing me that I have presented an idiosyncratic Buddhism, or I'll await your apology. > "Kindest Regards" < Hardly seems so. Bruce =END= Date: Thu, 29 Feb 96 23:22 PST To: "QUANTA DAWNLIGHT" From: email@example.com (Burl Barer) Subject: Re: (hillarious) Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org >This is a story typed verbatim from a book on 'Interviewing :Key to >Effective Management by Joseph Zima, article titled Frames of >Reference pg. 118-19. > Hmmmm. Do you think Jack Paar would like this story? OK. Quanta is not familiar with the national scandal that ensued when this story was told on NBC. For those of you not familiar with the story of the story, suffice it to say, the fallout from the episode was one of the defining moments of American broadcast history and remains forever etched in the Cultural History of the United States. Thanks, Quanta, for bringing back vivid memories of what was, at one time, front page news. Burl ******************************************************* MAN OVERBOARD by Burl Barer (ISBN# 1-56901-815-4) May be ordered by any real bookstore. Accept no excuses. It is still only $19.95 suggested retail. Order it! ********************************************************