Tuesday, December 27, 2005


The eight sections of the Path are not intended to be cultivated in the order they are given and the perfection of one stage is not required before another is begun. They must be regarded as a complete whole, requiring progress in all the sections. e practise and develop as we are able and progress in any section will lead to success in others. In it's entirety, the Eightfold Path, leads to the cultured mind, for when it is brought under control are we able to conquer greed, ill-will and delusion.


Is the complete and perfect knowledge of the Four Noble Truths and their inter-relationship with each other.


Are those free from lust, greed and desire; those free from hatred or ill-will'; those free from crueltly, unkindness or revenge. In the last analysis, it is the thoughts which promote our deeds and if the thinking is promoted to a high level of our deeds and actions will automatically respond. Thinking is the action of the mind and can cause bad karma just as much as physical deeds.


Is the control of the tongue by right thought. Withholding oneself from untruthful, deceitful or harsh speech and from gossip or idle talk. In it's positive aspect, it means to speak kindly and with tenderness to others; to be modest in referring to oneself and abstain from self-exaltation.


Is not to take the lefe of any living creature; not to indulge in improper sex relations; not to steal the property of another. In it's fullest sense, it means to perform deeds which do not cause suffering of oneself and others.


Is to avoid occupations, hobbies or trades which cause or lead to suffering for other beings. This would include those which do not permit the practice of right action. A disciple of the Buddha should not obtain his or her living by deceit, trickery, or usury. They should avoid the trade in arms and death-dealing weapons, flesh, intoxicating drinks and drugs or living beings. The guiding principle of Buddhism is to work for the happiness and welfare of mankind and not for it's sorrow.


Is the endeavour we make to live a moral and blameless life. The Four Right Efforts are; to avoid evil not yet existing, to overcome evil which already exists, to develop good not yet exisiting, and the effort to preserve the good already developed.


Is to be constantly vigilant over our thoughts, speech, and actions. It is easier for us to do wrong when we are careless and thoughtless. We must cultivate an alertness of mind, which in controlling our conduct, will establish harmony and not discord.


Of all the gems of the Buddha's Teaching, this is the one of the greatest brilliance. Meditation is fairly new to the West but it has been known for thousands of years in the East. Already, however there are many who have discovered it's worth and the wonderful bliss of contentment it gives. It is unsurpassed as the means of obtaining the peace of mind which the wise are seeking to supplant the chaotic existence of modern living.

Concentration and meditation are synonymous in Buddhist Philosophy. Meditation is not, as some believe sitting quiet and letting the mind wander with the hope that some superior, or hereto unrevealed wisdom, will drift in. Buddhist meditation is the exact opposite. After the Buddhist apprentice has learned to it still and relaxed for a reasonable period, he/she learns to develop "one pointedness of mind". This means, training it to concentrate on one subject only, without jumping from idea to idea, like a monkey jumping from tree to tree.

The goal of most religions is either vague, ill-defined or without appeal to the modern mind. Heaven and Hell, Paradise and Purgatory, are the prducts of man's primitive past and served to account for mysteries which could not otherwise be explained. None of these concepts occur in Buddhist philosophy.

Scientific discoveries and advancing knowledge are playing havoc with legendary beliefs. As these, and many other ideas, crumble before the onslaught of science, we, observe, the astounding fact that the Dhamma (Buddha teachings), in spite of its ancient origin, is being vindicated. We are finding , more and more, that the discoveries over the last decade, were taught by the Buddha more than twenty-five centuries ago.

This however, will not surprise those who understand the profound depth of the phenomena of Enlightenment, or that the Buddha when He attained it, had insight into the facts of life which would naturally conform to the knowledge which science has unravelled.

The Buddha explained that, in simple language, that if we fulfill the obligations of morality, we would overcome the continual horror of rebirth. This morality is the Noble Eight Fold Path which leads to the end of greed, hatred and delusion. This is the goal and the Buddhists call it Nibbana, we call it Nirvana. It is not only a place where people go when they die or a land of departed spirits. It is a state of utter tranquility of the mind which we can enjoy in this life, leaving no conditions which will give rise to a new birth.

Buddhism, or the Buddhist way of life, may be described as, good conduct brought about by mind development and training and leading to Perfect Peace!


Since the Four Noble Truths form such an important basis of the Buddhist life, we should study them seriously and not be deceived by their apparent simplicity. In the study of Buddhism, a mere superficial glance or even the learning and repitition of words is useless unless it leads us to deep understanding. A boy can learn the Four Noble Truths in ten minutes yet it may take thousands of lives before there is real understanding. Buddha stressed the importance or real understanding when he said; "It is through not understanding, not penetrating four things, that I, disciples, as well as you, have wandered so long through the long round of rebirths. What are these four things? They are, the Noble Truth of Suffering; the Noble Truth of the Origin of Suffering the Noble Turth of the Origin of Suffering; the Noble Truth of the Cure of Suffering; the Noble Truth of the Path which leads to the End of Suffering."

The First Noble Truth of the Universal Nature of Suffering.

We understand this truth when we awaken to the realization that sorrow and suffering is one of the principal characteristics of life. All living beings (human or animal) are subject to the ever present danger of pain and suffering, without exception. There are no guaranteed condiitons of happiness, peace or security. At any hour, or even any moment, we are likely to become victims.

What can be classified as suffering? Birth, death, old-age; hunger, thirst,heat and cold; abnormal functioning of the body, disease, sickness and accidents. All these are suffering.

To be separated from the people we love or to live with unpleasant and difficult people; mental worry, anxiety, anguish, grief, woe and despair; not to obtain the objects of our desires; dwelling in unfit or uncongenial surroundings or having unpleasant employment or mental or physical ill-health of ourselves or of those we love; suffering endured by those to whom we are attached.

Suffering must be viewed in it's correct perspective. It has attended us in the past, envelopes us in the present and will be with us in the future-----unless we take active steps to escape it.

The Second Noble Truth is the Origin of Suffering.

In this we learn of the desires and emotions which are the factors causing suffering, either in this life or a subsequent one. They include greed; attachment to or infatuation with people, ideas or objects; the failure to obtain or satisfy our desires; the unhappiness and disgust which comes from these people, ideas or objects, sooner or later. Restlessness, ambition, self-exaltation, pride, vanity, delusion, craving; the belief that the ego, or personality, is a permanent soul or entity.

The failure to learn from our past experiences; forgetting the tragedies of life by losing them in a round of artificial pleasures; insufficient self-control, immoderate living; anger, ill-will, hatred and irritability; bad habits, sexual excess; and putting reliance in others. In the past and in the present, all these and many more, are the cause o suffering.

The Third Noble Truth Is the Extinction or Cure of Suffering.

The threshold of understanding is reached when we realize that suffering can be brought to an end. The Path of the Buddha leads to this very goal. Suffering, although accepted by so many, is not without a remedy. Once the mind is awakened to the existence and causes, we are on the road to conquering them. Just how far we are prepared to go along the Path, depends entirely on ourselves. The causes can only be removed if we undertake a course of self-discipline and training. The knowledge that it is worth while to do so, is the first step.

The Fourth Noble Truth is the Path which leads to the End of Suffering.

No other religion or philosophy reveals so clearly the Path of Virtue, leading to deliverance. It is called the Noble Eightfold Path because it is actually one path but is subdivided into eight sections. It is the Buddhist code of mental and physical conduct which leads to the end of suffering, sorrow and despair; to the Perfect Peace, Nibbana (or "Nirvana")


The Buddha ws neither a God or the prophet of a God. He was born, lived and died a man. He left no room in his teachings for any other supposition. The Buddha's mortality is man's greatest hope for the future, since in Him we have no deity or supernatural being, but one who showed the great heights to which a man could reach.

He himself has become acknowledged as the greatest man who ever lived, but few of us will possess the courage and determination to approximate his greatest example. Yet it is within the province of all of us to follow his Teachings and eventually attain the Goal of Sublime Peace.

We can do this without becoming Buddhas ourselves, for it is not in the nature of everyman to become a Buddha, by following the Path of Deliverance which Buddhists call the Buddha Sasana, or as it is knwn among western people: Buddhism.

Let us learn more about this man, who conquered what is least easily conquered; who attained what is least easy to attain; and who left the world a treasure of philosophy which has been the guiding light for the greater part of mankind and endured for more than twenty-five centuries.

He was born about 623 BC, at Kapilavathhu, a hundred miles north-east of Benares, at the foot of the majestic Himalayas. The city of Kapilavatthu, was once the small capital of the Sakya Clan, an Aryan people who had the same ancestors, as the people of Europe, America and Australia claim today. the area now lies within the frontiers of Nepal.

Son of a noble family and having advantages denied to many, he enjoyed the pleasures of life which come easily to a child born of wealthy parents.

After he passed the sgtage of boyhood and became a young man, his thoughts turned to the suffering of mankind which the philosophies of those days held to be inescapable. he realised that although wealth and position, gave advantages over less fortunate people, it could not save one from the sufferings of birth, disease, old-age or death. While confronted with this problem the transient pleasures of life began to lose their value and He not only felt that there must be some way of escape from suffering, but he determined to find it.

He was not the first to recognize the universal nature of suffering, for many of those days, had sought or were seeking for a cure, but none had ever been successful.

With the determination, that he would seek and find, He renounced his home, family and position; and clad in the yellow robes of a penniless mendicant, wandered alone to find the Eternal Peace.

In the first sermon which the Buddha preached, after attaining His Enlightenment, He explained the Middle Way, The Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path, which we have referred to in an earlier chapter. These may be likened to foundation stones on which the entire Dhamma is based. Everything which is found in the entire Buddhist Scriptures, is in fact, an expansion of the Four Noble Truths.

Friday, December 23, 2005


The elves have arrived to help decorate and light the tree and so have the latke leapers. In other words we're taking a sabbatical of sorts, not to relax, but to finish the book. So that means these pages shall remain silent just like the night before the jolly fat man visits, and we shall return to scribe more musings on January 3rd, 2006. That is unless of course either you or I get an inspiration. So feel to write a comment on the many many articles we have posted.

Don't be shy and just get by, be a good mate and participate!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005


Try meditating. You can do it anywhere.From the April, 2000 Issue of Fortune Small Business FSBBy Beth Kwon

Leave it to our manic, overachieving society to produce a new meditation culture, where we have to squeeze relaxation into hyperactive schedules. It's not about religion anymore either. Americans are spending money to go for nirvana -- either at the gym, where a 45-minute yoga session gets sandwiched between Absolute Abs and Super Spinning, or at a deluxe retreat, like the Coolfont spa in West Virginia (www.coolfont.com), which offers Reiki and private meditation.

Hospitals that long eschewed alternative therapies are taking meditation seriously too -- like Boston's Mind/Body Medical Institute at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, which is associated with Harvard (617-632-9530; www.bidmc.harvard.edu/). "The scientific base for mind/body medicine has been established," says Dr. Herbert Benson, the institute's founder. Read: Insurance now covers it! (It's mostly case by case, so check with your plan to make sure.)
But you don't have to check in to a clinic to meditate. You don't have to leave home, for that matter. An Internet search yields kitchen yoga tips (punch up www.selfcare.com). Sautè those onions, and do the "counter dog" pose -- simultaneously. Or -"receive your self-realization" at www.sahajayoga.org through a Shockwave Flash presentation. Just say "om."

Wednesday, December 14, 2005


Social visionary Bill Drayton is creating a network of incalculable problem-solving power.

From: Fast Company Issue 90 January 2005 Page 61 By: Keith H. Hammonds

Here is a concise history of the modern world, according to Bill Drayton. Well, no: In real life, Bill Drayton would never -- could never, it's fair to say -- be so concise. He is an expansive thinker of remarkable intensity, not easily gathered in -- a mind informed by influences as diverse as Gandhi and Hubert Humphrey, and as likely as not to travel intellectual parts sundry and exotic before returning, methodically, triumphant, to . . . the point.

So here is Bill Drayton's history of the modern world, made concise by us. The Industrial Revolution of the 1700s split society into two unequal halves. Commerce became entrepreneurial and competitive, its compounding productivity gains sparking rapid income growth. But enlightenment bypassed society's other half, the half concerned with education and public welfare and the environment. As the consumer sector grew more productive, the social sector, supported by taxes and protected from competition, fell ever further behind.

And then, about 25 years ago, something happened. We'll let Drayton describe the moment: "We could see it," he recalls. "The system was beginning to change. It was like hearing the ice breaking up at the end of winter in a lake. Creak, creak, groan, crash! The need was so big, the gap so huge, the opportunity to learn right before people's eyes. When do systems begin to change? When entrepreneurs decide it's time."

Or, to the point, when Drayton does.

Drayton is founder and chief executive of a group called Ashoka. It is not hyperbolic to call Ashoka this century's (much better) version of the United Way, and Drayton the most important innovator of any sort out there -- a seer who has correctly predicted the rise of the "citizen sector" in the past two decades and an audacious visionary of what will yet come.

Ashoka, named for a peace-minded third century BC Indian emperor, has identified and supported 1,500-plus Fellows, as it calls them, in 53 nations since Drayton founded it in 1980. (Five of them are winners of our 2005 Social Capitalist Awards.) It seeks out social entrepreneurs with enormous ideas -- solutions of such ambition and force that they cannot be denied. They are pioneers like Mary Allegretti, a Brazilian who thought of legally separating rubber-extraction rights from land-ownership rights in the Amazon rain forest to give indigenous rubber tappers economic standing -- and then made it happen.

What Drayton has created is a network of incalculable power. It's not so much about funding, though Fellows do receive a modest stipend. Rather, these entrepreneurs, who typically work alone amid hostile circumstances, get support, ideas, and, quite literally, protection. (When one Ashoka Fellow in Brazil attracted the ire, and gunshots, of local police for his drug rehab program, other Brazilian Fellows intervened with the state governor, and the problem went away.) How do you market a big idea? How do you run a big organization? How do you combat corrupt local politicians? The answers come from other Ashoka Fellows.

The potential of this emerging network is what gets Bill Drayton's blood coursing. Because he can see what's going on now, as clearly as he did 25 years ago. Society's citizen sector is expanding rapidly, irresistibly. Ashoka itself is growing, too: Its budget was set to jump 50%, to $30 million, in 2004. What happens in the next five years, he thinks, will prove crucial to, well, everything -- finally redressing the chasm between consumer and social sectors.

"An entrepreneur plows the field," Drayton says, "and it weakens the idea that change isn't possible. He seeds with some very user-friendly idea. The next entrepreneur comes, and there's more plowing, more seeding. Then hundreds. As we wire the world together, ideas flow from Bangladesh to the United States and Brazil, and back. This becomes multiplicative. The network becomes a distribution channel."

Drayton, 61, is a slight man, nearly inconspicuous, with thin hair and a frumpy suit. Self-effacing and unfailingly deferential, he is not charismatic in any traditional sense. When he speaks, it is at something just above a whisper -- and not always on message. David Bornstein, whose recent book How to Change the World (Oxford University Press, 2004) dwells on Ashoka, recalls asking Drayton to speak up above the din of traffic outside his apartment building. Drayton, typically, responded with an expert 20-minute discourse on the effect of canyons on noise.

But beneath the eccentric-uncle veneer is a willful and fearless thinker, a crusader of near-monastic devotion to the possibility of massive social change. (He is unmarried and childless, and lives in a simple apartment a few blocks from Ashoka's offices in Arlington, Virginia.) He first dedicated himself to the idea of Ashoka while a Harvard undergraduate in the early 1960s, then nurtured it through his years at Oxford, Yale Law, McKinsey, and the Environmental Protection Agency. "Bill is totally committed to an important idea, and has unshakable faith in what's he's doing and in the value of each person's life toward effecting change," says Julien Phillips, who worked with Drayton at McKinsey and was one of Ashoka's founding directors. "That's a tremendously powerful combination."

Really, all you need to know about Bill Drayton is this: His father was an explorer in the Sahara and British Columbia, and his mother a musician and impresario. That is Drayton: a creative explorer and promoter -- of ideas. And if his plan comes off, ideas will drive Ashoka's future. Ashoka is morphing into a knowledge-management organization, "the sum of its ideas," as Sushmita Ghosh, its president, puts it. Project managers in Virginia and elsewhere are charged with spotting emerging trends and connecting the dots. They apply solutions that have worked in one part of the world to problems in another, link together similar innovations to amplify their impact, and package ideas in ways that take them from local to global in reach. It resembles, in that way, the Catholic order of Jesuit priests, the only truly effective global service organization Drayton knows of.

Take a relatively simple problem, that of alpacas. In mountain villages of Bolivia, poor farmers with small alpaca herds traditionally have relied on unimaginably primitive production methods, using the edges of tin cans to shear wool. A local organization came up with an answer: a simple but efficient distribution system that grades wool, creating financial incentives for farmers to buy shears and wash the fiber -- eventually raising their incomes.

It's a great solution for Bolivian villagers. But what about alpaca farmers elsewhere in South America, or herders of similar livestock around the world? In fact, Ashoka has demonstrated the Bolivian model to sheep farmers on Nepal's Tibetan plateau -- and they understood it immediately. Making that sort of knowledge transfer happen all the time is something Ashoka is trying to systematize, so that global networks of small producers can constantly share innovations that improve their financial prospects.

Next big idea: Global partnerships between social entrepreneurs and business. To Drayton, these "hybrid value chains" are a no-brainer; the divergence of the consumer and citizen sectors was a "nonsensical historical accident" in the first place, and their reintegration is "profoundly important for the health of both." Business must use social networks to reach new markets. And the citizen sector needs the marketplace to gain financial sustainability.

Here's one example of such collaboration: Cemex, the big Mexican cement producer, has invented a plan that encourages families in urban slums to save for cement to build home additions, then provides them with discounted engineering services. Community activists love the scheme, since it promises to alleviate family abuse sparked by overcrowding. And it's great in principle for Cemex, which penetrates a difficult market and gets paid upfront, to boot.

But Cemex is having trouble retaining the reps it trains to promote the savings plan. So in the city of Puebla, Ashoka hooked the company up with Patricia Nava, an Ashoka Fellow who has created a Mary Kay-like network to provide sex education and AIDS prevention training. The strategy calls for Cemex to use Nava's existing distribution system, paying commissions to safe-sex educators when they refer cement customers. The partnership, Nava hopes, will "allow us to increase the life quality of many people while [creating] new alternatives to generate money for projects."

The bigger idea, yet untested: Cemex and other companies use Nava's network to sell other products. Or Cemex hooks up with similar social entrepreneurs to distribute cement across Mexico and elsewhere. Think of it as a matrix. "The challenge for us is finding ways to institutionalize this," says Valeria Budinich, the Ashoka vice president who oversees the initiative.

And the really bigger idea, the uebergoal, is that ultimately, innovative strategies like this one will spread themselves without Ashoka's help. "A hundred years from now, the field will know how to do this," Drayton says. "The pattern will be obvious. We'll be able to recognize a group of entrepreneurs coming up around the world on a new issue."

We will do so, he expects, because of structures and tools being established now. Already, Ashoka has launched the makings of a global accelerator for social entrepreneurs. McKinsey is providing management consulting, Hill & Knowlton the public relations expertise, and the International Senior Lawyers Project the legal support. It's also negotiating with several financial institutions to create new mechanisms for financing -- and it's toying with the notion of an online marketplace where entrepreneurs and funders could find each other. Drayton is even piloting a professional-services firm called Social Entrepreneur Associates -- like a McKinsey populated by citizen- sector professionals.

If this all comes to pass? Well, Drayton was meeting two years ago with eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, whose Omidyar Network ultimately committed to investing $20 million over five years in Ashoka. Drayton described Ashoka's central goal -- to speed and make possible the emergence of an entrepreneurial citizen sector. Omidyar pressed: "That's an intermediate goal. What are you really after?" It was a good question, Drayton realized.

And he thought, We have this network of entrepreneurs, all of them seeding social innovation. "That is changing a lot of things, upsetting local patterns, weakening existing structures, weakening the idea that things are the way they are. It's an invitation for people to step up and do things differently. That first change touches a series of people who weren't doing this before. They're not passive anymore. They're full citizens, change makers."

As of right then, Ashoka embraced a new goal: "Everyone a change maker."
"Think about the implications for society of that change," Drayton marvels. "The number of angry, frustrated, unhappy people would be dramatically reduced. And the probability of problems outrunning problem solvers would go away. We'd laugh at the idea. Every single being becomes a white blood cell that solves problems."

It's late in the evening, the skies outside are pitch-black, and Drayton is hacking with a nasty cold acquired on his travels. But he keeps talking. These ideas are too big and too important to be bound by schedules, or dinner, or exhaustion.

Drayton speaks often of Jean Monnet, the brilliant financier and diplomat who, in the 1940s and 1950s, drove for the unification of Europe. Monnet understood that a continental organization could solve problems that individual nations couldn't -- and he set in motion a dynamic that would produce, 20 years after his death, the Euro-based common monetary system.

"It's clear to me," Drayton says, "that you can't solve the world's problems unless you deal with them on a global level. Our field has to be integrated from the local right up to the global. From the beginning, we've had to fight against all national divisiveness. You can see the field moving up and accelerating. But at a global level, where's the Jean Monnet? I've wondered for years, who is the Monnet we're looking for?"

We are, perhaps, looking at him.

Keith H. Hammonds is Fast Company's deputy editor.

Buddha says; "He whose vision is deep, who is wise, who knows the path and what is outside the path, who has attained the highest end--him I call a Brahmin"

Monday, December 12, 2005


A new breed of donors bypasses charities to address specific needs

GORDON PITTS, Globe and Mail, Monday, December 5, 2005

David Cheriton is a Stanford University professor, global expert in computer networks and serial entrepreneur who, in the late 1990s, gave some start-up help to a couple of Stanford students.

Those students were Larry Page and Sergey Brin, and the $200,000 (U.S.) he sank into their company, Google Inc., has grown thousands of times, building a fortune that amounts to hundreds of millions of dollars.

But for all his willingness to trust kid researchers with his hard-earned cash, Mr. Cheriton, 54, is not ready to put equivalent faith in charities. Giving is a big priority for him, but not just to anybody.

"So much money going to charity is wasted," says Prof. Cheriton, 54, who distrusts mainstream charities with their high-paid executive directors and elaborate bureaucratic machinery.

That was the thinking behind his move this fall to donate $25-million (Canadian) in Google stock to Ontario's University of Waterloo and the computer science program where he earned his Masters and PhD degrees.

His rationale is the money would go directly to the people who could use it, the students, researchers and academics who, like Mr. Page and Mr. Brin, might change the world.

The B.C.-born, Alberta-raised Prof. Cheriton, who has been a founder, chief executive officer and technologist for a swath of Silicon Valley companies, is typical of the new giving coming out of the corner office.

The sums of money are growing fast, but the donors are more targeted and personally engaged in the deployment of their funds.

Prof. Cheriton's thinking is that he made a big bet at Google and it turned out exceedingly well. He's making another venture capital bet at University of Waterloo but the risk is smaller. The university already houses a demanding computer school that's a go-to source of talent for Silicon Valley and other technology incubators.

Prof. Cheriton doesn't plan to micromanage the application of the money he's giving Waterloo. He's busy enough teaching at Palo Alto, Calif.-based Stanford and serving as a technical adviser to a number of companies, including Sun Microsystems Inc.

But he has stipulated that the university will tackle what he sees as an enormous challenge in software development: to make it trustworthy in the functioning of large-scale computer systems.

The same problem-solving orientation inspired Marcel Desautels, who has donated $45-million over the past five years to two Canadian business schools, including, this fall, $22-million to what is now the Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill University.

When he was president of a credit information company, Creditel of Canada Ltd., from 1970 to 1996, he was frustrated because he could never find good managers with strong general skills.
So when he sold the company in 1996, and ended up as CEO of a $100-million foundation formed from the proceeds, management training was at the top of his philanthropy priorities.

Mr. Desautels, 71, has also championed integrative learning that cuts across functional disciplines, such as finance and marketing. His $21-million in donations over five years to the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management has funded a centre of integrative thinking, along with providing funds for new curriculum and teaching in that area.

At McGill, the money is going to a number of uses, including endowed chairs and fellowships. But there is also a nod to Mr. Desautels' consuming interest: an annual symposium in integrative learning.

The good thing, he says, is that McGill's leaders were already committed to an integrative approach. "I was very anxious to learn whether that idea already existed here."
Both men get their names on the schools they are funding, although they say that was not essential in the granting of the funds. But pride certainly plays a part in Mr. Desautels' motivation.

His foundation's funds do not come from his own pocket but from the disposition of Creditel, originally an association of client companies. But he says he built Creditel from almost nothing. "I feel that I earned every cent of it."

By contrast, Mr. Cheriton says he is somewhat embarrassed by the naming of the David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science, and is still trying to get used to his added profile.
Although today's donors work hard at structuring the scale, timing and form of donations, emotion still plays a part. Mr. Cheriton is giving to his alma mater, and the Manitoba-born Mr. Desautels is putting money back into Montreal, which his family helped settle in the 17th century.

Ian Ihnatowycz, president, founder and chief information officer of Toronto's Acuity Funds Ltd., recently gave $5-million to the Royal Conservatory of Music -- and part of the motivation stemmed from the long hours he spent as a boy in the conservatory's old building in Toronto, training to be a pianist. That teenage dream died, but he is giving $4-million of his total donation to the renovation of the hall, to be renamed after him.

Another key factor, he says, are the studies that show a link between musical skills and training and intellectual development in children.

These people are not done giving. Mr. Desautels figures he will deepen his relationship with U of T, McGill and his own alma mater, the University of Manitoba, to which he has also committed money. Mr. Cheriton also has more to give, although he insists "I'm not a billionaire."

The sums can grow in other ways. In 2002, Dick Haskayne, a retired chief executive officer and director of a number of companies, gave $16-million in cash and Calgary land to the University of Calgary's business school, which now carries his name. With the growth of Calgary and real estate values, Mr. Haskayne estimates his endowment would be worth about $30-million now if the property were sold.

He thinks donations like his should serve as examples. "There has been a lot of money made out West and across this country in the last number of years. The accumulation of wealth in Calgary these days is staggering," he says.

"There are a lot of good people who want to give back. They just have to figure out how to do it."


Thursday, December 08, 2005


Two Canadians win 'alternative Nobels'

Activists' work to prevent the privatization of water cited for Right Livelihood Awards

Associated Press and Canadian PressPublished: Thursday, December 08, 2005

STOCKHOLM -- Two Canadian recipients of this year's Right Livelihood Awards, also known as the "alternative Nobels," on Tuesday said privatization of fresh water resources represents a threat to human rights.

"The growing fresh water crisis is perhaps the most urgent environmental and human-rights issue of our times and, for this reason, water must be preserved as a common heritage," Maude Barlow, a Canadian activist for fair trade and human rights, told reporters in Stockholm.

Barlow and Tony Clarke, another Canadian activist, shared the award worth about $290,000 Cdn with activists from Malaysia and a group representing the Kalahari Bushmen. Barlow heads the Council of Canadians, a public advocacy group. Clarke has campaigned for an alternate trade model that takes power away from big corporations. Their recent work has focused on finding trade models that prevent the privatization of water resources.

The award was announced in September. Winners were cited for promoting justice, fair trade and cultural renewal. The awards were founded in 1980 by Jakob von Uexkull, who sold his valuable stamp collection to recognize work he believed was ignored by the prestigious Nobel Prizes.

Barlow and Clarke were cited for "their exemplary and long-standing worldwide work for trade justice and the recognition of the fundamental human right to water."

Roy Sesana, the leader of the organization First People of the Kalahari, was honoured for his fight against authorities wanting to evict the Bushmen in Botswana from their ancestral lands.
Irene Fernandez, a Malaysian opposition leader and rights activist, was honoured for her work to stop violence against women and the abuse of migrant workers.

"The thread of globalization connects peoples all over the world. But it is the impact of this globalization that tends to divide and marginalize various communities," she said Wednesday.
Mexican artist Francisco Toledo won an honorary award for "devoting himself and his art" to protect the cultural heritage and environment of the Oaxaca region of Mexico.

The awards will be presented in a ceremony at the Swedish parliament Dec. 9, one day before the Nobel Prizes are handed out.