Interview with Matthew Fox by Sharon Callahan

Interview with Matthew Fox by Sharon Callahan on a very inspiring topic touching on animal advocacy and relationship.

Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide Nicholas D. Kristof, Sheryl WuDunn

From two of our most fiercely moral voices, a passionate call to arms against our era’s most pervasive human rights violation: the oppression of women and girls in the developing world.

With Pulitzer Prize winners Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn as our guides, we undertake an odyssey through Africa and Asia to meet the extraordinary women struggling there, among them a Cambodian teenager sold into sex slavery and an Ethiopian woman who suffered devastating injuries in childbirth. Drawing on the breadth of their combined reporting experience, Kristof and WuDunn depict our world with anger, sadness, clarity, and, ultimately, hope.

They show how a little help can transform the lives of women and girls abroad. That Cambodian girl eventually escaped from her brothel and, with assistance from an aid group, built a thriving retail business that supports her family. The Ethiopian woman had her injuries repaired and in time became a surgeon. A Zimbabwean mother of five, counseled to return to school, earned her doctorate and became an expert on AIDS.

Through these stories, Kristof and WuDunn help us see that the key to economic progress lies in unleashing women’s potential. They make clear how so many people have helped to do just that, and how we can each do our part. Throughout much of the world, the greatest unexploited economic resource is the female half of the population. Countries such as China have prospered precisely because they emancipated women and brought them into the formal economy. Unleashing that process globally is not only the right thing to do; it’s also the best strategy for fighting poverty.

Deeply felt, pragmatic, and inspirational, Half the Sky is essential reading for every global citizen.

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Half the Sky by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn (book trailer)

About the Author
Sheryl WuDunn is married to Nicholas D. Kristof and they were the first married couple to win a Pulitzer Prize for journalism. As longtime foreign correspondents for the New York Times, they won the prize for their coverage of the Tiananmen student movement in China and its bloody suppression. Mr. Kristof won a second Pulitzer for his op-ed columns in the Times. He has also served as bureau chief in Hong Kong, Beijing, and Tokyo, and as associate managing editor. At the Times, Ms. WuDunn worked as a business editor and as a foreign correspondent in Tokyo and Beijing. They live near New York City.

Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide

Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide is a landmark transmedia project featuring a four-hour PBS primetime national and international broadcast event, a Facebook-hosted social action game, mobile games, two interactive websites, educational video modules with companion text, and an impact assesment plan all inspired by Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, the widely acclaimed book by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn.

The series follows Kristof, WuDunn, and six celebrity activists including Diane Lane, America Ferrera, Olivia Wilde, and Nicole Kidman as they travel to nine countries and meet inspiring, courageous individuals. Across the globe oppression is being confronted, and real meaningful solutions are being fashioned through health care, education, and economic empowerment for women and girls. Embedded in the linked problems of sex trafficking and forced prostitution, gender-based violence, and maternal mortality — which still needlessly claims one woman every 90 seconds — is the single most vital opportunity of our time — and all over the world, women are seizing it.

Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women | Behind the Scenes | PBS

The Role of Harmlessness in Spiritual Activism ~ Author Archive: hhteam

The principal the Harmlessness is very close to the Hindu concept of Ahimsa. Ahimsa is a religious-ethical principle adopted presently in Hinduism, but widely accepted by Jainism and Buddhism. Ahimsa is the constant rejection of violence and absolute respect for all life: non-violence is inspired by universal love.

Ahimsa is therefore a waiver of any intention to kill or injury, to input suffering to another by cause of violence. Ahimsa is the opposite of selfishness, hence is absolute love, purity and straight action. Ahimsa is nonviolence in thought, word and deeds. Ahimsa can be expressed by the respect for the ideas of others, or respect for all religions, schools of thoughts, sects, organizations, and the respect for other’s spiritual sovereignty and freedom to live their lives.

But, through the observation of these two concepts, one has to query, when is it correct to interfere in someone’s else life in order to help them, meaning when is it righteously our deed to do, and when it can only aggravate the karmic load of the other, stealing the opportunity of the karmic learning experience? But how one distinguishes the limits of these situations and not incur in a personal karmic overload when just genuinely trying to help?

Harmlessness is a view that does not limit itself through the general intention of “not harm”, to vow itself to adhere be a code of non-violence, but also means to not accept any fruits of violence, meaning not engaging in commercial activities that cause direct or indirect suffering to other sentient beings, either actuality using diamonds from Congo, for example, or either accepting animal-based food, that causes suffering and death of innocent lives. To embody true harmlessness, one has to be rid of everything that can maculate its purity principles. Harmlessness or ahimsa also rejects violent principals as entertainment, such as allowing oneself to accept the banalization that violent movies bring to our immediate reality. His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, regards the acceptance of the trivialization of violence as passive evil and warns us that prolonged exposure to viciousness can damage the core of our soul.

But harmlessness has also to be practiced in our normal daily interaction with others. In these occasions, we do not tend to keep mindful of our opinions, judgments or thoughts and its repercussions on other’s lives. If we create an impact as a result of our actions in someone’s life that is adverse, the negative effect will also weight on us. Even if the action or thought were motivated by good intentions, but the end result end up being undesirable, we still altered a path and somewhat overruled the weaving of the circumstances: hence the old adage, “The way to hell is paved with good intentions”.

A spiritual activist, or world server, should keep in mind one’s own responsibilities and limitations with the same vivacity they should also consider other’s sovereignty. In no circumstances should one forget the limitation on acting upon other’s problems and challenges. By no means judge this article as an apologetic essay on Non-action, but just the opposite, we promote action with consciousness, with awareness. To exemplify this, remember how one of the precepts of the Healing Code of Ethics: the energetic healer is allowed to take the pain, but never overrule or take away the lesson which is manifested through the painful situation.

A true spiritual activist differs greatly from an individual that professes to be a simply a humanitarian per se. The difference mainly resides not in the actions that both may come to perform, but in the underlining intent that engenders the call for action. Both may assist the emergency needs of others, but only the Spiritual Activist will act with the purpose to empower the helped being to take charge on his situation and create change in his life; therefore keeping him aligned with the purpose of his soul and not affecting his karmic contracts. Spiritually, the intention is to bring a hand up, not a hand out. Ideally, spiritual activists can be seen as facilitator of life transforming experiences. To illustrate this thought, we share the Sufi tale of the Seventeen Camels.

The Seventeen Camels

Once upon a time that was a compassionate and wise merchant that owned seventeen camels. Despite of his good relations to many prominent members of his town, the camels were all his had as his prized possession. When he died he left behind three sons.

In his will, he wrote expressed orders that his valuable property should be divided as follows:

He bestowed 1/2 of his property to his eldest son, 1/3 of his property to his second son and 1/9 of his property to his youngest son.

The sons were in a predicament wondering how to divide seventeen camels into one-half, one-third and one-ninth parts. They decided to visit another merchant, a very successful business man to ask for his interpretation on their dilemma. The man looked at the will and said that he was sure the father meant camel meat instead of the camels themselves. He suggested them to slaughter the camels and divide the meat among themselves. They were not satisfied by his answer.

They continue to ponder and then they decided to visit yet another of their father’s friend. The young man, also a merchant, suggested them to sale the camels and to share among themselves the sum of money from the sale. The three sons were not content with his answer either and decided to leave.

Feeling that they were running out of options, they decided to visit an old holy wise man said to live outside of the city walls, to ask for his insight and advice.

The old sage patiently heard the story with half of his eyes closed. After they finished, the old man finally spoke:

“I am on old man; I only have one possession which is my own camel. Even needing it for my daily activities, I will gladly give it to the three of you. “

“Add my camel to yours and now how many camels do you have?”

“Eighteen camels,” they all said.

“Good,” the Wise Man said.

He looked at the eldest son and said, “Your share is half the total camels – half of eighteen works out to be nine – so take your nine camels and go.”

Then he looked at the second son, “Your share is one third the total camels – one third of eighteen works out to be six – so take your six camels.”

Finally he looked at the youngest son, “Your share is one ninth the total camels – one ninth of eighteen works out to be two – so take your two camels.”

When finally the youngest son took his share of two camels, the old wise man asked the three of them at the same time. “Now that you all resolve this problem without dishonoring the will of your late father, I will ask you a favor. One camel was left behind, I am old and weak, may I take the last camel that happens to be the one I gifted you. The three sons agreed gladly and gave the wise man his camel.

The Wise Man took his camel, having successfully divided the seventeen camels amongst the three sons as per the share decreed in their father’s will, diverting what could have been a pit of karmic resentment among the brothers.

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