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On Being with Krista Tippett is a public radio project delving into the human side of news stories + issues. Curated + edited by senior editor Trent Gilliss.

We publish guest contributions. We edit long; we scrapbook. We do big ideas + deep meaning. We answer questions.

We've even won a couple of Webbys + a Peabody Award.
HHDL in Badgers Red Trent Gilliss, senior editor
You’ve gotta dig seeing His Holiness the Dalai Lama donning a Badgers baseball cap, despite the fashion faux pas of wearing clashing reds!
To celebrate its grand opening, the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin is streaming live video of His Holiness the Dalai Lama talking with neuroscientist  Richard Davidson from Wisconsin! We wish they would let us embed it, but we’ll try to post the archival version here. Until then, tune in!
(photo: Trent Gilliss for Speakng of Faith, Flickr)
HHDL in Badgers Red Trent Gilliss, senior editor
You’ve gotta dig seeing His Holiness the Dalai Lama donning a Badgers baseball cap, despite the fashion faux pas of wearing clashing reds!
To celebrate its grand opening, the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin is streaming live video of His Holiness the Dalai Lama talking with neuroscientist  Richard Davidson from Wisconsin! We wish they would let us embed it, but we’ll try to post the archival version here. Until then, tune in!
(photo: Trent Gilliss for Speakng of Faith, Flickr)

HHDL in Badgers Red
Trent Gilliss, senior editor

You’ve gotta dig seeing His Holiness the Dalai Lama donning a Badgers baseball cap, despite the fashion faux pas of wearing clashing reds!

To celebrate its grand opening, the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin is streaming live video of His Holiness the Dalai Lama talking with neuroscientist Richard Davidson from Wisconsin! We wish they would let us embed it, but we’ll try to post the archival version here. Until then, tune in!

(photo: Trent Gilliss for Speakng of Faith, Flickr)

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If Jesus Wore a T-shirt

David Black, guest contributor

I almost never buy T-shirts. When my son Josh was younger and going through that gotta-have-that-shirt stage, he bought enough for a regiment: sports shirts, camp shirts, school shirts, fund-raiser shirts — whatever was on the market. And when he began to outgrow the T-shirt phase, I inherited more hand-me-downs than a man could use. I kept only enough to handle chore-work for a few years and donated the rest to Goodwill.

The only T-shirt I’ve bought in decades is a recent purchase. Even though it’s brand new, it’s a dingy brown and looks well-worn. It has the words “Same shirt, different day” printed on the front. Okay, it’s corny and maybe a little tasteless, but I fell for it, and I enjoy the brief look of alarm on people’s faces when they first read it.

I am thinking about buying another T-shirt I just saw in a mail-order catalog. This one has a quotation from the Dalai Lama on it: “My faith is kindness.”

How different is that short saying of his from the basic teachings of Jesus? If Jesus came back and gave up his robe for jeans and an imprinted T-shirt, what would his T-shirt say? Remember, now, this is the man who was asked about the most important commandment, and his answer ran — how long? Two lines?

Two lines, you could get on a T-shirt. And maybe I’ve not been that far off when I condensed his answer to five words: “Love God, love each other.” That would fit even better. Or in the modern pictorial idiom, “♥ God, ♥ each other.” Nothing like being current, I say.

And you know what? Jesus never recited enough creed and dogma to make your teeth ache. In fact, the essence of his teachings was ethical, not creedal. We’ve managed to mess that up.

So what would the twenty-first century Jesus wear on his imprinted T-shirt? Maybe “Love God, love each other.” And when that shirt was dirty and needed washing, I suspect he could wear the Dalai Lama’s T-shirt and be quite at home in it. In fact, I think everybody in the whole world should be able to wear a shirt like that and be at home in it.

David BlackMr. Black is a retired English teacher and former minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) who lives in Louisa, Virginia. His second book of poetry, “The Clown in the Tent,” will be published this fall.

He submitted this essay through our First Person Outreach page.

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First Time Flying a Kite
Trent Gilliss, online editor

The footage spliced together in the video above comes directly from the home library of Adele Diamond and her husband, Don. During her interview, she told Krista the following story:

So I think mysteries are just wonderful. It’s very interesting because when I made this book for the Dalai Lama, I put a lot of love and time and effort into it. And my husband said, who came with me to Dharamsala said, ‘If you’re going to give him a present, I want to give him a present too.’ So he wanted to give him a kite because he didn’t think the Dalai Lama got to spend enough time playing. …

And so then he found online that he could get a package of 10 plain undecorated kites very inexpensively. So he asked me if I could find classes of school children to decorate them. So I contacted a colleague, Kim Schonert-Reichl, and she helped me find a class of children with developmental disorders, many of them ADHD, who were either not on medication or on reduced medication because they were doing mindfulness. So they had heard of the Dalai Lama, and they were very excited to be decorating these kites. And there were two children per kite. So on one side, they did self portraits, so it looked like a Picasso because half of the kite is one child’s face and half of the kite is the other child’s face. Anyway, so my husband brings all these to Dharamsala and we get a private audience with His Holiness and we had the wisdom not to bring all the kites with us to the audience because the Dalai Lama said thank you but it was very clear he wasn’t going to fly any kites; he’s was going to put them in a drawer.

So after that we went to visit Matthieu Ricard at Katmandu, where he has a Tibetan monastery. And he has many humanitarian projects in connection with that and one of them are schools for poor children. Any background, doesn’t matter, religious or ethnic. They call it bamboo schools because the buildings are all made out of bamboo. So we went to these bamboo schools and we brought the rest of the kites and we gave it to the children there. They had never flown kites before, and they were so happy to be flying these kites. And Matthieu was so happy to see the children so happy. And we took photos and videos and I brought them back to the class in Vancouver to the children who had been studying mindfulness and I showed them the pictures and they were so happy to see how happy they had made the other children.

And one of them said, ‘You know, we’re on the other side of the world but we’re all connected.’”

As if Diamond’s descriptions of the Dalai Lama, Nepal, bamboo schools, and children painting kites weren’t enticing enough, we wanted to visualize the scene of those children flying kites. What strikes me is an immense amount of joy — the children playing and Adele and Don watching their gift come to life. I hope you enjoy these few minutes of seeing the world through an act of simplicity — flying and entangling a kite in a tree.

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Tools of the Mind

Nancy Rosenbaum, associate producer

Krista is away at the Vancouver Peace Summit in Vancouver, British Columbia where, among others, she’ll be interviewing psychologist and neuroscientist Adele Diamond. In April 2009 Diamond was invited by the Dalai Lama to speak at a conference in Dharamsala, India, “Attention, Memory and Mind.”

Diamond is interested in how “Executive Function” (EF) skills develop in children’s brains. As I understand it, EF skills reside in the brain’s prefrontal cortex and they help us to stay focused on a task, even when our impulses and other flashy distractions get in the way.

Diamond has studied an early childhood curriculum called Tools of the Mind that uses dramatic play and other techniques to help foster EF skills in young kids. Some researchers, including Diamond, say these EF Skills are better predictors of academic success than IQ scores.

This past weekend, The New York Times Magazine ran a feature article about Tools of the Mind, "Can the Right Kinds of Play Teach Self-Control?" that cites Diamond and her research. The article really helped me to get a better handle on how Tools of the Mind actually works in the classroom, especially how dramatic play teaches children mental focus. As a producer, I get excited when a person or topic we’re covering reveals itself in the popular culture unexpectedly.

Update (12/23): You can now listen to our produced program with Adele Diamond on the SOF Web site: "Learning, Doing, Being: A New Science of Education."

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