I get annoyed (and perhaps flattered?) when companies steal my content in an attempt to drum up their business, as Asia Adventures is doing with my article on cycling to Preah Vihear. Worst part is that they didn’t copy the whole entry – the story in their post ends before I even reach the cliffside temple.
Edward Burger, my good friend and acclaimed Director of Amongst White Clouds, just launched an Indiegogo campaign for his latest feature film, One Mind. The film is a cinematic meditation on Zen monastic life in China.
From the Director:
ONE MIND is a documentary film that will engage audiences with the living practice of a traditional Zen (Chan) monastic community in Southern China. Eschewing talking-head interviews and the authority of a narrative voice, audiences can expect a 90-minute immersion into the textures and sounds of a natural life, subtly expressing a motivation toward the spacious wisdom and compassion born of an enlightened awareness of unity and interdependence.
Really looking forward to seeing this film, but we first need to raise some funds to get One Mind finished! Please share with anyone you think might be interested in supporting the project.
According to Transparency International’s latest Corruption Perceptions Index results, Cambodia ranks dead last in ASEAN. Full report from the Phnom Penh Post here.
From the Phnom Penh Post:
The luscious jungles of Cambodia’s Cardamom mountains are under threat on many fronts. Few have visited the remote and pristine Areng valley in the Cardamoms, the latest target in the government’s push to turn Koh Kong into the “battery province”, until now. As the race to stop a hydropower dam slated for construction in the valley accelerates, a group of monks have joined the front line to try and save this natural treasure.
Check out entries from my trips through the Cardamom Mountains:
Cycling Across the Cardamom Mountain Range in Cambodia (Day 1)
Cycling Across the Cardamom Mountains (Video #1)
Crossing the Cardamom Mountain Range (Video #2)
TRAIL UPDATE: Cycling in the Cardamom Mountains (Smugglers Trail)
Community-Based Eco-Tourism in the Cambodian Cardamom Mountain Range (Chi Phat)
I remember reading this parable in “Old Path White Clouds” and thinking that the Buddha was a bit unsympathetic, if not crass. During my retreat a few weeks ago, however, Thay’s dharma talk cast new light on the Buddha’s deeper observation:
One day the Buddha was sitting in the wood with thirty or forty monks. They had an excellent lunch and they were enjoying the company of each other. There was a farmer passing by and the farmer was very unhappy. He asked the Buddha and the monks whether they had seen his cows passing by. The Buddha said they had not seen any cows passing by.
The farmer said, “Monks, I’m so unhappy. I have twelve cows and I don’t know why they all ran away. I have also a few acres of a sesame seed plantation and the insects have eaten up everything. I suffer so much I think I am going to kill myself.”
The Buddha said, “My friend, we have not seen any cows passing by here. You might like to look for them in the other direction.”
So the farmer thanked him and ran away, and the Buddha turned to his monks and said, “My dear friends, you are the happiest people in the world. You don’t have any cows to lose. If you have too many cows to take care of, you will be very busy.”
“That is why, in order to be happy, you have to learn the art of cow releasing. You release the cows one by one. In the beginning you thought that those cows were essential to your happiness, and you tried to get more and more cows. But now you realize that cows are not really conditions for your happiness; they constitute an obstacle for your happiness. That is why you are determined to release your cows.”
What’s your cow (or water buffalo)?
A $100 million seaport, a $400 million Chinese-backed coal power plant and a massive hotel development are threatening to destroy the last remnants of Cambodia’s coastal mangrove forests in Kep and Kampot (full Post article here). Sad news, but not unexpected in a country that grants concessions for vague economic projects that often never fully implemented (if at all).
The video below (from 4 minutes onward) is from my 2010 kayaking trip to through these mangroves. I returned only a few months later and nearly all of the mangroves on one side of the canal had been torn up and filled in.
From the Phnom Penh Post:
The International Court of Justice yesterday unanimously declared that its 1962 judgment awarding the Preah Vihear temple to Cambodia also gave the Kingdom sovereignty over the promontory that the temple sits on.
But while the announcement was initially greeted as a resounding victory by some in Cambodia, the world court took pains to specify that the 1962 decision dealt with only a “small area” surrounding the temple.
However, direct bilateral negotiations will still be needed to resolve the surrounding territory:
The decision leaves unanswered the question of sovereignty over the remainder of the 4.6-square-kilometre area forming the heart of the long-running dispute between Cambodia and Thailand.
You can read more about my cycling and motorcycle trips to Preah Vihear below: