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Sent to: Yahoo! Groups: DrumCircles: Message 8922
Date: Friday 10 OCT 2K3 9:51 AM
and Yahoo! Groups: Djembe-L: Message 7348 Date: Sunday 22 OCT 2K 11:51 AM Revisited, Revised and Rewritten Fri 26 May 2K6 AM

 DjembEthics By Reverend R Clark

At 07:31 AM 9OCT2K3, Steve Parker wrote:
The tree felling as described lacks any managed sustainability and will contribute to loss of forest cover or particular species. We tend to think of the rainforests around the world as vast and never ending whereas in reality they are disappearing at an alarming rate. <snip>

“Forests precede civilizations and deserts follow.”

- Chateaubriand

The forests of the world especially the "Two Thirds World" countries are considered by many as resources to be exploited, usually with little or no regard for the future or sustainability. These folks want to eat, so they are utilizing whatever resources are available to them to create salable items be they drums or other things. Typically efforts to conserve these resources by removing demand for a particular product, in this case a Djembe or other instrument, results in the same wood resource being carved into masks, sculpture, or sawn up to make packing crates for things they Can sell. I have heard many stories where bans were put on particular types of wood (E.G. purpleheart) and then these exotic woods begin turning up as packing crates. The point I am trying to make here is that I would Much rather see the wood go to well made musical instruments than lesser uses like inauthentic, cheesy, masks for the tourist trade to adorn some yuppies den and used for the defacing of Reader's Digest magazines.

As a Vegan Society logo I would not buy a drum covered with an animal skin.

I applaud your ethical sense and it is one I shared for some time. However, I feel I must now weigh such considerations in light of the cold fact that the worst skin head sounds better than the best synthetic one IMNSHO. They have character, their own voice. Where the synthetics are quite uniformly too uniform.

I was vegetarian for 25 years and several of those as vegan. When I was younger I found that set well with me energetically. Philosophically I Loved not causing harm and living a life style that was more sustainable. Living up to the statement...

“Live simply so that others might simply live.”

- (Mahatma) Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi
(1869-1948 Hindu Indian nationalist leader)

Following a catastrophic car wreck 25DEC1994, I found that tofu and veggies simply didn't give me what I needed, anymore. I think it was because of all the steroids (I'm told I swelled up like the Pillsbury doughboy with fingers like sausages) and other drugs administered over the two months I was in hospital and the two months in a rest home and ten days inpatient rehab and ten months outpatient rehab.

That was over ten years ago and I have yet to fully recover having an unrepaired broken heart valve and mobility challenges. Still, Any day above ground is a good day. Through this Near Death Experience (NDE) I learned a lot and progressed from belief to knowing in much of my spiritual life. In some ways one of the best experiences in my life!

So although my desires were to confine my diet to lacto-vegetarian standards, there I was for the first time since I was a teen, craving Yang food of all types (speaking macrobiotically) and at long last tried animal products which are all Yang. It made all the difference in the world. It seems that I was experiencing the Failure To Thrive (FTT) syndrome as the term is used on Tom Billings' website BeyondVeg Dot Com. Mr. Billings' research and cogent writing on this subject is truly a labor of love and it shows. Although he is a long time vegetarian for spiritual reasons his is a rational voice amongst many who in their zeal to promote a veg*n agenda will resort to distortions of the truth and other warlike tactics of supposed superiority.

n.b. --The vegan diet is light on some nutrients including Vitamin B12, Iron, Calcium, Iodine and DHA. As we age absorbing Vitamin B12 becomes even more difficult. These nutrients can be supplemented through careful food choice or pills and are ubiquitous in the animal foods humans likely evolved on given the length of the alimentary canal and omnivoric evidence from archeology and fossil records.

I didn't like giving up my guilt-free existence, it bothered me being "brother to the butcher" yet it put more life in my life. Physically I felt so much better. Then one day I woke up one morning with a full blown epiphany. All life involves death. One cannot be had without the other. Cutting short the lives of fellow creatures is inherent in the course of our lives. Inadvertently even, even if we are most careful this is bound to be true. Adjusting our eating habits will cut down on this by a few individuals, avoiding drum heads from animals killed for meat will not. The spirit if not the letter of minimizing doing harm can I feel be met and include skin heads for my drums.

  • For even my meal of tofu and veggies even if organically grown involves the killing of many individuals taking the form of insects, moles, bunnies and the like routinely poisoned, trapped, and run over by the harvesting "combine."
  • At the cellular level in our blood streams are phagocytes that "eat" living things that are seen as "other" by our immune systems.
  • Our thought to be exclusive fruitarian distant simian relatives will occasionally gang up on some weaker animal, kill and consume it. Every living thing is food for some other living thing.
There's a barbecue place here in my hometown that has a bumper sticker that says it rather poetically, "I didn't claw my way to the top of the food chain just to eat vegetables."

For all of us there is a point at which we draw a line in the ethical treatment of animals. For the better part of us at least avoid doing harm to companion individuals with names and some kind souls like your self to the nameless hordes of other critters also.

  • So do we slap that mosquito that is sucking our blood, if so what about the cockroach in the kitchen, and the spider in our bed?
  • Do we wear shoes made with leather?
  • Do we head our drums with rawhide?
  • When our dog gets sick do we euthanize it or keep it alive and in pain?
  • How much money will we give the vet to keep our aging kitty alive?
  • Do we drive below the speed limit so we don't run over small animals?
  • How about turning off our headlamps at night so they don't attract insects that will be mashed onto the windscreen and grillwork?
From the sublime to the ridiculous, ay? Still they are all valid questions and we answer them even if we don't consider them.

Carrying the desire to avoid killing to kindness in the extreme, is the ahimsa of the Jain religious group, who sweep the ground before them so as to not walk on critters and drink through gauze to avoid swallowing even the tiniest bug swimming in their liquids. Some wear masks so they won't inadvertantly inhale an insect. They even avoid root vegetables as this kills the plant. These folks are usually wealthy by East Indian standards as they must employ others to grow their food and take responsibility for acts that might involve the demise of other individuals.

No matter where we draw the line there will likely be someone who is more and someone who is less, moral/ethical than us and sometimes both of them choose to feel "holier than thou" which makes for a cognitive "there's something wrong with this picture" moment. (grin)

Personally, I do as little harm as is practical. For the individuals that are harmed by me directly and indirectly I give thanks for their suffering and sacrifice, wish them a better incarnation next time and go on.

Just my 2%, self-expressed.

I hope this Helps!
Drumming Peace, R

Drumming 'n Drugs
Drumming As A Form of Prayer by Jim PathFinder Ewing (Nvnehi Awatisgi)
Drumming Peace One Oh One
Drum Reiki
Drums: How they beat stress by By Ann Trieger Kurland
Finding Healing Music in the Heart by Corey Kilgannon
Healing, Drumming & Praying by Jim PathFinder Ewing (Nvnehi Awatisgi)
Melodic Instruments at Drum Circles
Shamanism: Drumming and/or Drugs
Voices at Drumcircles: Testimony and Theories

“What does it mean, to be whole? It means that we must be willing to conceive of, to contain within ourselves, whatever is "other than" any limited idea. It means knowing that when we create a positive, we are at the same time creating a negative. When we choose an ideal of knowledge, then we must deal with the ignorance that is "other than" the knowledge. When we emphasize an ideal of holiness, then we must live with the sin that is its companion, and accept our responsibility for having created it.” (more)
- Thaddeus Golas (1924 1997) from "The Lazy Man's Guide to Enlightenment" (Chapter Two: Look, Ma, I'm Enlightened); 1972© ISBN: 0553263587

All duality pairings are flip sides of the same holistic coin, different points on a continuum. Life-Death; Good-Evil; Light-Dark. Whenever we make a strong statement in the negative, we can flip it over and make an equally positive statement. If the former is true then so will the latter be. We begin to die the moment we are born. According to Arlo Guthrie “You can't have Light without a Dark to stick it in,” and Terry Pratchett says, “Dark is faster wherever Light goes it finds Dark waiting for it.”

“Human beings, vegetables, or cosmic dust, we all dance to a mysterious tune, intoned in the distance by an invisible player.”
- Albert Einstein (1879-1955, German-born American Physicist, Person of the 20th Century)

“The Buddha taught that morality is the true beauty of a human being, not one's physical appearance or outer adornments.”
- Joseph Goldstein in Transforming the Mind, Healing the World

“A spontaneous act of generosity, performed with unselfish grace is an example of moral beauty, as are certain acts of courage; genuine modesty is a possible example, as is selfless love. Some people appear to possess moral beauty as others possess physical beauty. Although moral beauty may be a natural gift, it is nevertheless more likely to emerge and flourish in societies that appreciate and encourage it.”
- Yi-Fu Tuan, "Passing Strange and Wonderful"

“I cannot but have reverence for all that is called life. I cannot avoid compassion for everything that is called life. That is the beginning and foundation of morality.”
- Albert Schweitzer, "Reverence for Life," Harold E. Robles, ed.

“A man is truly ethical only when he obeys the compulsion to help all life which he is able to assist, and shrinks from injuring anything that lives.”
- Albert Schweitzer, "The Philosophy of Civilization"

“I have often thought morality may perhaps consist solely in the courage of making a choice.”
- Leon Blum

“There is no such thing as a minor lapse of integrity.”
- Tom Peters

“After 30 years of struggle to renew Kenya's natural resources and instill a sense of responsibility and ownership at the grassroots level, this elevation to the august company of Nobel laureates like Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, Kofi Annan, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Shireen Ebadi is a totally unexpected and gratifying validation.

Some people have asked what the relationship is between peace and environment, and to them I say that many wars are fought over resources, which are becoming increasingly scarce across the earth. If we did a better job of managing our resources sustainably, conflicts over them would be reduced. So, protecting the global environment is directly related to securing peace.

Many people have asked me through the years of struggle how I have kept going, how I have continued even when my ideas and my work were challenged or even ignored. Those of us who understand the complex concept of the environment have the burden to act. We must not tire, we must not give up, we must persist.

I would like to call on young people, in particular, to take inspiration from this prize. Despite all the constraints that they face, there is hope in the future in serving the common good. What my experiences have taught me is that service to others has its own special rewards.

When we plant trees, we plant the seeds of peace and seeds of hope. We also secure the future for our children. One of the first things I did yesterday when I got the extraordinary news about this prize was to plant a Nandi flame tree. It was at the foot of Mt. Kenya, which has been a source of inspiration to me and to generations before me.

So, on this wonderful occasion, I call on all Kenyans and those around the world to celebrate by planting a tree wherever you are. Once again, I want to thank members of the press, members of the Green Belt Movement, friends who have been with me all along, and my three children, Waweru, Wanjira and Muta.”
- Honorable Professor Wangari Maathai acceptance statement of the 2K4 Nobel Peace Prize

“The djembe is not reserved only for tradition. It is a popular instrument that can harmonize with all other instruments. It is open to all. There are performances and then there is the tradition. One must not confuse them. They are completely different.”
- Mamady Keita et al: Djembe - Rhythm - Traditional - Mandingue (DRTM)

“As we become increasingly aware of our global interdependence as a species, we can also deepen awareness of our spiritual interconnectedness. We cannot live in total isolation. The cross-cultural communion of awakened souls may be a key to co-creating a sustainable future and living in harmony with the earth.”
- Frances Vaughan, "Shadows of the Sacred"

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