Sometimes when I’m asked to describe the Buddhist teachings, I say this: Everything is connected; nothing lasts; you are not alone. This is really just a restatement of the traditional Three Marks of Existence: non-self, impermanence, and suffering.
Zen has been called the “religion before religion,” which is to say that anyone can practice, including those committed to another faith. And that phrase evokes that natural religion of our early childhood, when heaven and a splendorous earth were one. But soon the child’s clear eye is clouded over by ideas and opinions, preconceptions and abstractions. Not until years later does an instinct come that a vital sense of mystery has been withdrawn. The sun glints through the pines, and the heart is pierced in a moment of beauty and strange pain, like a memory of paradise. After that day, at the bottom of each breath, there is a hollow place filled with longing. We become seekers without knowing that we seek, and at first, we long for something “greater” than ourselves, something apart and far away. It is not a return to childhood, for childhood is not a truly enlightened state. Yet to seek one’s own true nature is “a way to lead you to your long lost home.” To practice Zen means to realize one’s existence moment after moment, rather than letting life unravel in regret of the past and daydreaming of the future. To “rest in the present” is a state of magical simplicity…out of the emptiness can come a true insight into our natural harmony all creation. To travel this path, one need not be a ‘Zen Buddhist,’ which is only another idea to be discarded like ‘enlightenment,’ and like ‘the Buddha’ and like ‘God.’
John W. Gardner writes in Excellence: Can We Be Equal and Excellent Too? (1961,)
No society can successfully resolve its internal conflicts if its only asset is cleverness in the management of these conflicts. It must also have compelling goals that are shared by the conflicting parties; and it must have a sense of movement toward these goals. All conflicting groups must have a vision that lifts their minds and spirits above the tensions of the moment.
These tribes living away from civilization, whom western society calls “primitive” and “uncivilized,” these people are actually very rich: They have food from mother earth, they have no government screwing them, they help one another, they find healing in plants and herbs, with no poverty, no racism, no pesticides, no bombs, no prisons, no debts, no stress, no shootings, and they don’t need to appear every day at the same boring job. They are superior to us, get over it!
From Martin L. Abbott and Michael T. Fisher’s The Art of Scalability: Scalable Web Architecture, Processes, and Organizations for the Modern Enterprise (,)
It’s not just about finding people with the right and best skills for the amount you are willing to pay. It’s about ensuring that you have the right person in the right job at the right time and with the right behaviors.
On June 16, 1991, civic leader and former United States Secretary of Health and Human Services John W. Gardner gave a commencement address to the Stanford Alumni Association 61 years after he graduated from that college:
You come to understand that most people are neither for you nor against you, they are thinking about themselves. You learn that no matter how hard you try to please, some people in this world are not going to love you, a lesson that is at first troubling and then really quite relaxing.
Train-18, now called Vande Bharat Express, India’s 16-coach train, built in 18 months at a low cost is the country’s first attempt at making an indigenous semi high-speed train-set.
Lessons from the project from the Financial Express:
The real importance of Train 18 lies in the lessons it holds for frugal engineering, project management and empowering managers who dare to dream big.. General manager S Mani conceptualised the project and tenaciously followed up for getting the Railway Board to approve for the ICF to build two prototype train-sets. With just about 18 months left for his superannuation, Mani put together a key team at the ICF with a remit to “design and manufacture the best train ever made in India,” matching world standards.
The Futility Closet notes,
Americans think of the song “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee” as a patriotic anthem—which is ironic, because everyone else does, too. We stole the tune from the British, who know it as “God Save the Queen,” and the same melody has served as the national anthem of Denmark, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland, Norway, and Liechtenstein.
When England met Liechtenstein in a Euro 2004 qualifying football match, they had to play the same music twice.
Technoculture critic and former Wired contributor Erik Davis is concerned about the proliferation of reviews, too. “Our culture is afflicted with knowingness,” he says. “We exalt in being able to know as much as possible. And that’s great on many levels. But we’re forgetting the pleasures of not knowing. I’m no Luddite, but we’ve started replacing actual experience with someone else’s already digested knowledge.”