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Inspiring People - Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Gail Winfrey (born January 29, 1954) is an American television host, producer, and philanthropist, best known for her self-titled, multi-award winning talk show, which has become the highest-rated program of its kind in history. She has been ranked the richest African American of the 20th century and beyond, the greatest black philanthropist in American history, and was once the world's only black billionaire. She is also, according to some assessments, the most influential woman in the world.

Winfrey was born into poverty in rural Mississippi to a teenage single mother and later raised in an inner-city Milwaukee neighborhood. She experienced considerable hardship during her childhood, including being raped at the age of nine and becoming pregnant at 14; her son died in infancy. Sent to live with the man she calls her father, a barber in Tennessee, Winfrey landed a job in radio while still in high school and began co-anchoring the local evening news at the age of 19.

Her emotional ad-lib delivery eventually got her transferred to the daytime talk show arena, and after boosting a third-rated local Chicago talk show to first place, she launched her own production company and became internationally syndicated.


Credited with creating a more intimate confessional form of media communication, she is thought to have popularized and revolutionized the tabloid talk show genre pioneered by Phil Donahue, which a Yale study claims broke 20th century taboos and allowed LGBT people to enter the mainstream.

By the mid 1990s she had reinvented her show with a focus on literature, self-improvement, and spirituality. Though criticized for unleashing confession culture and promoting controversial self-help fads, she is generally admired for overcoming adversity to become a benefactor to others. In 2006 she became an early supporter of Barack Obama and one analysis estimates she delivered over a million votes in the close 2008 Democratic primary race, an achievement for which the governor of Illinois considered offering her a seat in the U.S. senate.

Philanthropy
In 1998, Winfrey began Oprah's Angel Network, a charity aimed at encouraging people around the world to make a difference in the lives of underprivileged others. Accordingly, Oprah's Angel Network supports charitable projects and provides grants to nonprofit organizations around the world that share this vision. To date, Oprah's Angel Network has raised more than $51,000,000 ($1 million of which was donated by Jon Bon Jovi). Winfrey personally covers all administrative costs associated with the charity, so 100% of all funds raised go to charity programs.

Although Winfrey's show is known for raising money through her public charity and the cars and gifts she gives away on TV are often donated by corporations in exchange for publicity, behind the scenes Winfrey personally donates more of her own money to charity than any other show-business celebrity in America. In 2005 she became the first black person listed by Business Week as one of America's top 50 most generous philanthropists, having given an estimated $303 million. Winfrey was the 32nd most philanthropic. She has also been repeatedly ranked as the most philanthropic celebrity.

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Oprah asked her viewers to open their hearts—and they did. As of September 2006, donations to the Oprah Angel Network Katrina registry total more than $11 million. Homes have been built in four states—Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama—before the one year anniversary of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Winfrey also matched her viewers' donations by personally giving $10 million to the cause.

Winfrey has also helped 250 African-American men continue or complete their education at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia.

Winfrey was the recipient of the first Bob Hope Humanitarian Award at the 2002 Emmy Awards for services to television and film.

To celebrate two decades on national TV, and to thank her employees for their hard work, Winfrey took her staff and their families (1065 people in total) on vacation to Hawaii in the summer of 2006.

Animal rights activism
Winfrey was named as the '2008 Person of the Year' by animal-rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). According to PETA, Winfrey uses her fame and listening audience to help the less fortunate, including animals. PETA praised Winfrey for using her talk show to uncover horrific cases of cruelty to animals in puppy mills and on factory farms, and Winfrey even used the show to highlight the cruelty-free vegan diet that she tried. Winfrey also refuses to wear fur or feature it in her magazine.

Inspiring prosocial behavior
Since the mid 1990s, Winfrey's show has emphazied uplifting and inspirational topics and themes. A scientific study by psychological scientists at the University of Cambridge, University of Plymouth, and University of California discovered that simply watching an uplifting clip on the Oprah Winfrey show caused subjects in their experiment to become twice as helpful as subjects assigned to watch a British comedy or nature documentary. The authors of the study concluded that "by eliciting elevation, even brief exposure to other individuals' prosocial behavior motivates altruism, thus potentially providing an avenue for increasing the general level of prosociality in society."


Source : Wikipedia

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Inspiring People - Ajahn Brahm

Ajahn Brahmavamso Mahathera (known to most as Ajahn Brahm) was born Peter Betts in London, United Kingdom on 7 August 1951. Currently Brahm is the Abbot of Bodhinyana Monastery, in Serpentine, Western Australia, the Spiritual Director of the Buddhist Society of Western Australia, Spiritual Adviser to the Buddhist Society of Victoria, Spiritual Adviser to the Buddhist Society of South Australia, Spiritual Patron of the Buddhist Fellowship in Singapore, and Spiritual Patron of the Bodhikusuma Centre in Sydney.

Early life
Peter Betts came from a working-class background and went to Latymer Upper School. He won a scholarship to study Theoretical physics at Cambridge University in the late 1960s. After graduating from Cambridge he taught in high school for one year before traveling to Thailand to become a monk and train with the Ajahn Chah Bodhinyana Mahathera.

Brahm was ordained in Bangkok at the age of twenty-three by the Abbot of Wat Saket. He subsequently spent nine years studying and training in the forest meditation tradition under Ajahn Chah.


Achievements
Whilst still a junior monk, Brahm was asked to undertake the compilation of an English-language guide to the Buddhist monastic code - the vinaya - which later became the basis for monastic discipline in many Theravadan monasteries in Western countries. Currently Brahm is the Abbot of Bodhinyana Monastery, in Serpentine, Western Australia,[2] the Spiritual Director of the Buddhist Society of Western Australia, Spiritual Adviser to the Buddhist Society of Victoria, Spiritual Adviser to the Buddhist Society of South Australia, Spiritual Patron of the Buddhist Fellowship in Singapore, Spiritual Patron of the Bodhikusuma Centre in Sydney.

In October 2004, Brahm was awarded the John Curtin Medal for his vision, leadership and service to the Australian community by Curtin University.

Publications
* Opening the Door of Your Heart: And Other Buddhist Tales of Happiness. Also published as Who Ordered This Truckload of Dung?: Inspiring Stories for Welcoming Life's Difficulties. (2005). Wisdom Publications. ISBN 0-86171-278-1
* Mindfulness, Bliss, and Beyond: A Meditator's Handbook. (2006). Wisdom Publications. ISBN 0-86171-275-7

Source : Wikipedia

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Jing Si Aphorism - Inspirational Wisdom Quotes by Dharma Master Cheng Yen

Because seeing virtue in others is in itself a virtue,
In appreciating others, we in fact dignify ourselves.

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Every single day is like a blank page of our life.
Every person we meet, every event we participate in is a lively essay.

***

We need to overcome difficulties,
not be overcome by them.

***


Every achievement grows out of the seed of determination.

***

Use wisdom to contemplate the meaning of life.
Use resolve to otganize the time you are given.

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Don't Be Angry - Inspirational Wisdom Words From Classical Chinese Poem


Life is actually quite like a drama;
Destiny wills that a couple shall meet.

Taxingly support each other till they are old;
Treasure the companionship all the more.

Losing temper just for some trivial matter;
Think it over and that’s no big deal.

Other people get angry but I stay calm;
For anger brings illness to no one’s pity.


There’s no winner if I fume in anger;
And anger saps both my energy and strength.

Don’t compare your lot with neighbours and friends;
Don’t envy the good fortune of other people.

Lament no more the decline of filial piety;
Bother no more with children’s trifles.

Bandying no words you’ll be free from worry,
Tolerating a bit longer you’ll be happy as gods.

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