Destruction and sacredness of life are often reasons for conflicts in Western culture; on the contrary, ceremonies like hari kuyo can become, even for Westerners, precious opportunities for reflection. In our habit of first producing and then acquiring, often with craving, a great quantity of objects destined to be thrown away like useless, harmful, and cumbersome rubbish shortly after their acquisition, are hidden the germs of attachment and hate that, together with nescience (avidyā), form the sad trio of spiritual poisons. We generally believe we are good custodians of the environment when hurriedly, even with a bit of resentment, we throw in the rubbish bin all that has been discarded. In transforming "removal" into "restitution," the getting rid of useless objects can instead become a stimulus, and not a mere gesture of refusal, for considering our relationship with activities, objects, and the environment, by carrying out, through decorous and at times melancholic farewell ceremonies, daily exercises of kindness and giving.Farewell Ceremonies for Things, from Dharma World, providing context for a number of Japanese ceremonies, including Hari-Kuyo, the Festival of Broken Needles, Fude-Kuyo, a ceremony for brushes, Ningyo-Kuyo, "a doll funeral", and other ceremony for valued items, activities, and professions.
***WARNING ALL LINKS IN THIS POST POTENTIAL NIGHTMARE FUEL*** Crocodile (Krokodil), the super-powerful Flesh-Eating Russian version of morphine, has been called the World's Most Dangerous drug by such connoisseurs as Vice Magazine. Last week, news broke that it has spread to the United States, and even [gasp] New York City. [more inside]
It's 1963. You're in a cold war with Russia. You want to keep up communication capabilities globally. Communication satellites haven't come into their own. The ionosphere is fickle and jammable. What do you do? You fire 480 million tiny copper wires into space to create an artificial dipole antenna belt around the earth. You call it Project West Ford. It works. [more inside]
The history of needle exchanges in the United States starts in 1986 with Jon Parker, a dyslexic Yale medical student and former IDU (intravenous drug user), who was arrested time and time again for providing sterile needles and supplies to drug users, to prevent infection and spread of disease. David Purchase started the first organized (and illegal) needle exchange in Tacoma Washington in 1988, which still exists 21 years later. [more inside]
"Vancouver has opened North America's first legal shooting gallery for drug addicts." -for all you poor saps where guns are a part of your everyday vocabulary, NO that's not a place where drug addicts shoot guns.- this is a pilot program supported by all levels of government in BC and in Canada, where addicts can inject drugs in a supervised, clean environment. The purpose of which ultimately I think is to bridge the huge gap between "them" and "us" and possibly shrink the distance addicts have to reach through for help. Does my heart bleed for "them"? Absolutely not. You choose your weapon, you suffer the consequences. But what this could lead to is less addicts and therefore less reason for addicts to commit crimes to support their addictions...