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Counseling, inspiring and teaching kids.

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  1. 1st court of honor 1 2

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    • RememberSchiff - thank you for taking time to review the court documents for us.  I am afraid that the reality of the situation may be that we are likely to see the loss of dozens of properties as this bankruptcy proceeds. At the same time, if we incur a 30% to 40% loss in membership due to the pandemic, loss of the LDS as well as loss of income,  it may be increasing difficult to maintain and justify the number of camps that we currently have. 
    • Whether people believe in God or not, I think they should capitalize the name.  Not doing so is disrespectful.
    • Do Buddhist believe in god?  No, we do not. There are several reasons for this. The Buddha, like modern sociologists and psychologists, believed that religious ideas and especially the god idea have their origin in fear. The Buddha says: "Gripped by fear men go to the sacred mountains, sacred groves, sacred trees and shrines". Dp 188 Primitive man found himself in a dangerous and hostile world, the fear of wild animals, of not being able to find enough food, of injury or disease, and of natural phenomena like thunder, lightning and volcanoes was constantly with him. Finding no security, he created the idea of gods in order to give him comfort in good times, courage in times of danger and consolation when things went wrong. To this day, you will notice that people become more religious at times of crises, you will hear them say that the belief in a god or gods gives them the strength they need to deal with life. You will hear them explain that they believe in a particular god because they prayed in time of need and their prayer was answered. All this seems to support the Buddha’s teaching that the god-idea is a response to fear and frustration. The Buddha taught us to try to understand our fears, to lessen our desires and to calmly and courageously accept the things we cannot change. He replaced fear, not with irrational belief but with rational understanding. The second reason the Buddha did not believe in a god is because there does not seem to be any evidence to support this idea. There are numerous religions, all claiming that they alone have god’s words preserved in their holy book, that they alone understand god’s nature, that their god exists and that the gods of other religions do not. Some claim that god is masculine, some that she is feminine and others that it is neuter. They are all satisfied that there is ample evidence to prove the existence of their god but they laugh in disbelief at the evidence other religions use to prove the existence of another god. It is not surprising that with so many different religions spending so many centuries trying to prove the existence of their gods that still no real, concrete, substantial or irrefutable evidence has been found. Buddhists suspend judgement until such evidence is forthcoming. The third reason the Buddha did not believe in a god is that the belief is not necessary. Some claim that the belief in a god is necessary in order to explain the origin on the universe. But this is not so. Science has very convincingly explained how the universe came into being without having to introduce the god-idea. Some claim that belief in god is necessary to have a happy, meaningful life. Again we can see that this is not so. There are millions of atheists and free-thinkers, not to mention many Buddhists, who live useful, happy and meaningful lives without belief in a god. Some claim that belief in god’s power is necessary because humans, being weak, do not have the strength to help themselves. Once again, the evidence indicates the opposite. One often hears of people who have overcome great disabilities and handicaps, enormous odds and difficulties, through their own inner resources, through their own efforts and without belief in a god. Some claim that god is necessary in order to give man salvation. But this argument only holds good if you accept the theological concept of salvation and Buddhists do not accept such a concept. Based on his own experience, the Buddha saw that each human being had the capacity to purify the mind, develop infinite love and compassion and perfect understanding. He shifted attention from the heavens to the heart and encouraged us to find solutions to our problems through self-understanding.   Ven. S. Dhammika      
    • National wants more Local properties evaluated and are seeking to retain JLL Valuation & Advisory Service. The list of properties remains to be specified. The following paragraphs are extracted from Dec 1, dockets 1762 and 1763. Note links below. To carry out its Scouting programs, the BSA has granted charters to 253 local councils, each of which operates in a specific geographic area (collectively, “Local Councils”). Each of the Local Councils is separately incorporated under the non-profit laws of its respective state, is exempt from federal income tax under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, and has an independent board of directors and senior management. The Local Councils are neither subsidiaries nor affiliates of the BSA and none of the Local Councils are debtors in these chapter 11 cases.  doc 1762 page 3,4 As the Court is aware, the Debtors and their stakeholders are currently engaged in mediated negotiations regarding a chapter 11 plan of reorganization that provides for a global resolution of claims related to abuse in Scouting. The Mediators, in consultation with the Debtors, have set a fast-paced schedule for negotiations to take place from mid-November through January 2021. The Mediators and the Mediation Parties are hard at work under tremendous time pressure. The Debtors hope that these negotiations will ultimately address how a potential settlement fund could be funded by the Debtors, Local Councils, and any other contributing parties. Because many Local Councils lack significant unrestricted liquid assets, any contribution from Local Councils in the aggregate may need to include real property and improvements as a component. Local Councils that desire to participate in such a negotiated global resolution may wish to value any real property that they seek to contribute. Accordingly, the Debtors have determined, in consultation with certain of their stakeholders, that appraisals of certain properties owned by non-debtor Local Councils (the “Local Council Properties”) are necessary to facilitate mediated plan negotiations.2 To that end, by this Application, the Debtors are seeking to retain JLL to prepare broker opinions of value of certain Local Council Properties based on analytic assessments that will generally not require physical inspection of such properties. Among other things, these broker opinions of value will provide the Debtors, Local Councils, and other constituents with important information regarding the market value of the Local Council Properties. These opinions will aid any Local Councils that decide to participate in a potential settlement in connection with the Debtors’ chapter 11 plan that also require valuations of certain of their Local Council Properties.3The valuation opinions will not take deed donor restrictions into account. doc 1762 page 4,5 At present, the Debtors estimate that JLL will appraise approximately 300 Local Council Properties, representing fee simple interests in office buildings, campgrounds and certain other properties, including vacant land. JLL has substantial expertise in the areas described above, and if, this Application is approved, will provide services to the Debtors under an order approving this Application. JLL will work closely with the Debtors’ management and professionals throughout the appraisal process. The Debtors will attempt to coordinate with other stakeholders, including the Tort Claimants’ Committee, the Ad Hoc Committee of Local Councils, and individual Local Councils, to identify particular Local Council Properties to appraise.  doc 1762 page 6,7 .... The Debtors are aware that other constituents, including the Tort Claimants’ Committee, may also be seeking to retain an appraiser to conduct broker opinions of value of certain Local Council Properties. The Debtors have had preliminary discussions with the Tort Claimants’ Committee regarding the utility of appraising certain Local Council Properties in connection with the plan mediation, and the Debtors and JLL are committed to working collaboratively with any appraiser that might in the future be retained, including by the Tort Claimants’ Committee, to avoid unnecessary duplication of services. doc 1762 page 7 engagementt letter doc 1762 page 23 "Therefore, the Debtors are seeking to retain JLL Valuation & Advisory Services, LLC (“JLL”), to prepare broker opinions of value with respect to certain Local Council properties. These broker opinions of value will provide the Debtors, Local Council and other constituents with important information regarding the market value of the Local Council properties. In order to promptly receive the broker opinions of value and maintain efficient mediated plan negotiations, the Debtors must retain JLL without delay.  doc 1763 https://casedocs.omniagentsolutions.com/cmsvol2/pub_47373/863786_1762.pdf https://casedocs.omniagentsolutions.com/cmsvol2/pub_47373/863788_1763.pdf https://casedocs.omniagentsolutions.com/cmsvol2/pub_47373/863866_1765.pdf  <--- order signed by Judge Silverstein
    • Aren't they really the same thing? "Atheism is in the broadest sense an absence of belief in the existence of deities." How is that any different from non-theism? As for the question: "is Buddhism an atheistic religion," you have to get into the weeds about what constitutes a belief in a deity or deities. While it is true that Buddhism doesn't have the concept of a "creator god", there is a belief in beings who's labels are often translated into English as "gods" or "demi-gods". Do those count? Buddhists don't "pray", or do they? Now you have to get down into the weeds again and define what is a "prayer". Is meditation a prayer? I once had a Buddhist tell me they don't pray because "there is no-one listening", which is assuming that a prayer must be addressed to something outside oneself. But that sure looks a lot like what a Pure Land Buddhist does when they send entreaties to Amitābha to let them in to Sukhāvatī? Or is that a fundamental misunderstanding of what a Pure Land Buddhist does? All this is just a way of saying that the BSA and us scouters should not be in the business of "judging" someone-else's faith. For an organization that endeavors to be open to people of all faiths, as soon as you say "you must acknowledge X", you quickly get lost in the weeds and are in trouble. Who are we to be judging if some kid's faith is "good enough", especially when that faith is significantly different than our own? Or even if it's purported to be the same?
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