- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 14, 2008

Academy Dharma

“On a Monday morning in late October 2007, six U.S. Air Force Academy cadets gathered in a small room below the iconic aluminum spires of the academy’s Protestant chapel to arrange incense, flowers, votive candles and bowls of pure water for the coming ceremony. Soon, two dozen attendees to the dedication of the Vast Refuge Dharma Hall Chapel, the first space on an American military base dedicated solely to meditation, would remove their shoes.

“The $85,000 hall, situated in the Air Force Academy chapel’s basement, was built with donations from Friends of Zen, a nonprofit. After attendees chanted the Heart Sutra to the beat of a drum, the Reverend Dai en Wiley Burch of the Hollow Bones Rinzai Zen school dedicated the space with these words: ‘May this Buddhist sanctuary spread the dharma like a great bodhi tree, sheltering the cadets and airmen of the U.S. Air Force from storms of ignorance and the suffering of war.’ ”

Travis Duncan in “Salute to Buddhism” in the spring issue of Tricycle magazine

Not so smart

“Intellectuals in all civilizations have often been the most forceful exponents of political hatreds. … Lenin was a quintessential intellectual who brought hatred to a new pitch of practical expression: terror as an instrument of revolutionary coercion. And the world is familiar with the fact that the majority of the hate-filled practitioners of Islamist terror are college-educated intellectuals and professionals, from Ayman al-Zawahri on down … .

“Whether from the left or the right, however, hatred cannot possibly be an emotion that benefits the inhabitants of this nation or any nation in the world. When it reaches its full expression in any society, hatred usually ends up in one of three places: prison, the lunatic asylum, or the grave.”

David Aikman, writing in “The Rise of Political Hatred” on Feb. 4 for the Trinity Forum

Civil rights lesson

“Black History Month is about informing citizens of the hurdles and heroes of America’s climb toward civil rights and equality. How interesting, then, that so many race-related political myths continue to be perpetuated by Democrats who know better.

“Consider the recent fracas over Sen. Hillary Clinton’s contention that President Lyndon Johnson was the driving force behind the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. As any fair examination of history reveals, a large share of the legislative credit for the bill’s passage must go to that other senator from Illinois — Republican Minority Leader Everett Dirksen. …

“Democrats like former Klansman Sen. Robert C. Byrd and others launched a filibuster to kill the Civil Rights bill. … So the Republican Minority Leader Everett Dirksen set out to get the votes necessary to defeat the filibuster. On June 9, 1964, the night before the historic cloture vote, the 68-year-old Republican stayed up late into the night typing a speech on twelve sheets of Senate stationery that every American should know but that few do. The next day, Sen. Dirksen delivered his oration on the floor of the U.S. Senate just minutes before the final vote. The final tally: 71 to 29, with 27 of the 33 Republicans voting to defeat the Democrat-led filibuster.

Wynton Hall, writing in “The Unknown History of Civil Rights,” Feb. 4 on www.townhall.com

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