Saturday, 31 December 2011

Metta World Peace

In September, Ron Artest — of the Los Angeles Lakers basketball team legally changed his name to Metta World Peace. The first name, Metta, is a Buddhist term meaning “loving kindness.” The last name is self-explanatory. This has led to fans being able to chant “We want World Peace!” at a recent game.

This is, more or less, what Artest intended when he made the change: to make the public, unwittingly or consciously, seriously or in jest, consider the concept.

“If you look at a young kid and you tell them, would they love world peace? They would definitely tell you yeah,” he said Thursday after the Lakers’ shootaround. “But as we get older, we change and we adjust to our environment. And we don’t think about little things anymore. But kids love, they love other kids. They love world peace.”

The Buddha's Words on Kindness (Metta Sutta)

This is what should be done
By one who is skilled in goodness,
And who knows the path of peace:
Let them be able and upright,
Straightforward and gentle in speech.
Humble and not conceited,
Contented and easily satisfied.
Unburdened with duties and frugal in their ways.
Peaceful and calm, and wise and skillful,
Not proud and demanding in nature.
Let them not do the slightest thing
That the wise would later reprove.
Wishing: In gladness and in saftey,
May all beings be at ease.
Whatever living beings there may be;
Whether they are weak or strong, omitting none,
The great or the mighty, medium, short or small,
The seen and the unseen,
Those living near and far away,
Those born and to-be-born,
May all beings be at ease!

Let none deceive another,
Or despise any being in any state.
Let none through anger or ill-will
Wish harm upon another.
Even as a mother protects with her life
Her child, her only child,
So with a boundless heart
Should one cherish all living beings:
Radiating kindness over the entire world
Spreading upwards to the skies,
And downwards to the depths;
Outwards and unbounded,
Freed from hatred and ill-will.
Whether standing or walking, seated or lying down
Free from drowsiness,
One should sustain this recollection.
This is said to be the sublime abiding.
By not holding to fixed views,
The pure-hearted one, having clarity of vision,
Being freed from all sense desires,
Is not born again into this world.

Thursday, 29 December 2011

The Lady

With all the publicity about Meryl Streep's performance as Margaret Thatcher in the film "The Iron Lady" you may have missed news of Michelle Yeoh playing Aung San Suu Kyi in Luc Besson's film "The Lady". The film has received mixed reviews, the general feeling being that it's a worthy effort that fails to capture the "enigma" of Aung San Suu Kyi who, despite her treatment by the Burmese military junta, always met their bullying threats with non-violence.

The film is not showing at any of the Island's cinemas this holiday but is being shown widely on the mainland..... so here's a taste for islanders....

Saturday, 24 December 2011

NEW MOON - Saturday 24th December 2011

These three ways
lead to radiant abiding:
asserting the truth,
not yielding to anger,
and giving, even if you have only a little to share.

Dhammapada v. 224

We are the creators of the world. Our actions of body, speech and mind give form to the space we inhabit. Investing in inner awareness liberates us from a dependency on the material world. The outer conditions of our life come and go: at times, they are agreeable and rewarding, at other times wearisome and disappointing. Yet we can always make the effort to speak truth. We can always wait before succumbing to anger. And no matter how much or how little we own, we can always give. We already have the power to create a beautiful abiding.

With Metta,

Bhikkhu Munindo

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Kim Jong Il lying in state


The physical body consists of bones
covered with flesh and blood.
Stored up inside it
are decay and death, pride and malice.

The Buddha,
Dhammapada, Verse 150

Monday, 19 December 2011

Trying to Contact Sister Tithameda

There was a recent "comment" posted on the item Sister Thitamedha to Disrobe because of the "Five Points". As the correspondent is hoping that sister Tithameda reads the communication, I thought that posting it here will make it more visible, good luck Liz.......

Dear sister Tithameda, although you may not be known by this name now. It is Liz writing to you and I would be glad to hear from you. If you read this and want to get in touch, - you have my email address. Otherwise I wish you well in whatever endeavour you undertake and may you be always blessed with peace and full of the loving kindness which you once extended to me.

Much Love,

Liz

This comment was added yesterday.............

Dear Sister Thitamedha I think you are now known as Irena. The comment above is a real coincidence as I also wanted to contact you to wish you well in all you do.
metta, Veronica

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Total Eclipse Over Peace Pagoda, New Dehli

I subscribe to a daily email called "Astronomy Picture of the Day" and a recent photograph was this amazing time lapse shot of a total lunar eclipse taken over the top of the Shanti Stupa Peace Pagoda near the centre of New Delhi, India. The red tint of the eclipsed Moon was created by sunlight first passing through the Earth's atmosphere, which preferentially scatters blue light (making the sky blue) but passes and refracts red light, before reflecting back off the Moon.


The Peace Pagoda is a Buddhist stupa designed to provide a focus for people of all races and creeds, and to help unite them in their search for world peace. Most (though not all) have been built under the guidance of Nichidatsu Fujii (1885–1985), a Buddhist monk from Japan and founder of the Nipponzan-Myo-ho-ji Buddhist Order. Fujii was greatly inspired by his meeting with Mahatma Gandhi in 1931 and decided to devote his life to promoting non-violence. In 1947, he began constructing Peace Pagodas as shrines to World peace.

The first Peace Pagodas were built as a symbol of peace in the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
where the atomic bombs took the lives of over 150,000 people, almost all of whom were civilian, at the end of World War II. By 2000, eighty Peace Pagodas had been built around the world in Europe, Asia, and the United States.

The Shanti stupa in New Delhi was inaugurated on 14th. November 2007 by monks and nuns of Nipponzan-Myo-ho-ji, the Dalai Lama and the Lt. Governor of Delhi. It is situated in Millennium Indraprastha Park, North-East of Humayun's Tomb, adjacent to Delhi Ring Road. A traditional Japanese garden has been constructed in the area around the stupa. The garden is a joint project by the Fujii Guruji Vishwa Shanti Stupa Committee and the Delhi Development Authority.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

The Direct Connection Between Mindfulness Practice and Beneficial Changes in the Brain

I was recently sent this by one of our Sangha members. "Here is a link to a blog I follow (Mind Deep) that reports on a study due to be published in January, demonstrating the brain changes that occur with regular practice. You may find it interesting...."

The Direct Connection Between Mindfulness Practice and Beneficial Changes in the Brain

From the lab of Harvard researcher, Sara Lazar, comes the most conclusive study to date, linking mindfulness practice with sustained beneficial changes in areas of the brain associated with learning, memory, self-awareness, compassion, introspection, and stress response.

As reported earlier this year in the Harvard Gazette:
Participating in an eight-week mindfulness meditation program appears to make measurable changes in brain regions associated with memory, sense of self, empathy, and stress. In a study that will appear in the Jan. 30 issue of Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, a team led by Harvard-affiliated researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) reported the results of their study, the first to document meditation-produced changes over time in the brain’s grey matter.


“Although the practice of meditation is associated with a sense of peacefulness and physical relaxation, practitioners have long claimed that meditation also provides cognitive and psychological benefits that persist throughout the day,” says study senior author Sara Lazar of the MGHPsychiatric Neuroimaging Research Program and a Harvard Medical Schoolinstructor in psychology. “This study demonstrates that changes in brain structure may underlie some of these reported improvements and that people are not just feeling better because they are spending time relaxing.”

Previous studies from Lazar’s group and others found structural differences between the brains of experienced meditation practitioners and individuals with no history of meditation, observing thickening of the cerebral cortex in areas associated with attention and emotional integration. But those investigations could not document that those differences were actually produced by meditation.

For the current study, magnetic resonance (MR) images were taken of the brain structure of 16 study participants two weeks before and after they took part in the eight-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Program at the University of Massachusetts Center for Mindfulness. In addition to weekly meetings that included practice of mindfulness meditation — which focuses on nonjudgmental awareness of sensations, feelings, and state of mind — participants received audio recordings for guided meditation practice and were asked to keep track of how much time they practiced each day. A set of MR brain images was also taken of a control group of nonmeditators over a similar time interval.

Meditation group participants reported spending an average of 27 minutes each day practising mindfulness exercises, and their responses to a mindfulness questionnaire indicated significant improvements compared with pre-participation responses. The analysis of MR images, which focused on areas where meditation-associated differences were seen in earlier studies, found increased grey-matter density in the hippocampus, known to be important for learning and memory, and in structures associated with self-awareness, compassion, and introspection.

Participant-reported reductions in stress also were correlated with decreased grey-matter density in the amygdala, which is known to play an important role in anxiety and stress. Although no change was seen in a self-awareness-associated structure called the insula, which had been identified in earlier studies, the authors suggest that longer-term meditation practice might be needed to produce changes in that area. None of these changes were seen in the control group, indicating that they had not resulted merely from the passage of time.

This study is scientifically proving what all meditators know from experience, i.e. the long lasting effect of meditation not just during formal mindfulness practice, but more importantly, afterwards, throughout the day.

Another good reason to start each day with a 30 minute sitting!

Monday, 12 December 2011

Peace Walk with Thich Nhat Hanh

Angie, from the Community of Interbeing Buddhist Group in Lake, sent me these details of a Peace Walk with Thich Nhat Hanh in London on Saturday, 31 March 2012, 14:00 until 16:00.

One of the best known and most respected Zen masters in the world, author, poet and peace activist, Thich Nhat Hanh invites everyone to walk mindfully together in silence, generating the energy of peace, solidity, and freedom.

“There is no walk for peace; peace is the walk. By walking, we generate peace within our body, our consciousness. We embrace and heal the pain, the sorrow, the fear in us, and that is the ground for helping peace to be a reality in the world.” - Thich Nhat Hanh

Before the Peace Walk, you are invited to participate in a sitting meditation lead by Thich Nhat Hanh in Trafalgar Square. Afterwards, we shall walk mindfully out of Trafalgar Square, along The Mall and end in Green Park.

Exact times will be announced.

Participation is free. This is a walk open to everyone, all ages, from every path, experienced or not. We kindly ask for there to be no display of any banners or signs, nor giving out of flyers during the Peace Walk.

"During walking meditation we walk slowly, in a relaxed way, keeping a light smile on our lips. When we practice this way, we feel deeply at ease, and our steps are those of the most secure person on Earth. Walking meditation is really to enjoy the walking—walking not in order to arrive, just for walking, to be in the present moment, and to enjoy each step. Therefore you have to shake off all worries and anxieties, not thinking of the future, not thinking of the past, just enjoying the present moment. Anyone can do it. It takes only a little time, a little mindfulness, and the wish to be happy." - Thich Nhat Hanh

We are inviting everyone around the world to walk in peace with us. Check back later for the cities joining us on 31st March 2012. Email us if you would like to organise a Peace Walk in your city!

Email us at walkmindfully@gmail.com for questions and to sign up for our latest updates about the Peace Walk.

Check out the rest of Thich Nhat Hanh's 2012 tour in the UK here:
http://www.mindfulnessretreats.org.uk/



Check out Thich Nhat Hanh's Facebook page:
http://www.facebook.com/thichnhathanh

Saturday, 10 December 2011

FULL MOON - Saturday 10th December 2011

A deed is well-done
when upon reflection no remorse arises:
with joy one harvests its fruits.

Dhammapada v. 68

As mindfulness is strengthened and confidence emerges we experience a growing sense of being our own authority. Fear of imagined external agents passing judgement on us begin to be seen for what they are - imagination. Our own true heart knows that which is wholesome and that which is not. As we deepen, the light of awareness illuminates the way and the path becomes clearer. At this level, when the voice of judgement from our false heart is heard, we simply receive it and allow it to fade away. Joy remains.

With Metta,

Bhikkhu Munindo

Friday, 9 December 2011

Note - New Dharma Talk

Following on from our previous post A "Local" Poem that I Like where we made the connection between the Buddhist concept of Impermanence and Tennyson's poem, "All Things will Die" the latest talk shared with the Newport Soto Zen group was Rebecca Bradshaw's talk on Anicca, Impermanence in which she discusses how a deep understanding of impermanence is a pathway into freedom.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

A "Local" Poem that I Like

It's actually the poet who's local! This is by Alfred, Lord Tennyson who lived here in the West Wight at Farringford House, Freshwater Bay.


A fundamental principle in Buddhism is that everything is impermanent thus allowing for change.

All Things will Die

Clearly the blue river chimes in its flowing

Under my eye;
Warmly and broadly the south winds are blowing

Over the sky.
One after another the white clouds are fleeting;
Every heart this May morning in joyance is beating

Full merrily;
Yet all things must die.
The stream will cease to flow;
The wind will cease to blow;
The clouds will cease to fleet;
The heart will cease to beat;
For all things must die.
All things must die.
Spring will come never more.
O, vanity!
Death waits at the door.
See! our friends are all forsaking
The wine and the merrymaking.
We are call’d–we must go.
Laid low, very low,
In the dark we must lie.
The merry glees are still;
The voice of the bird
Shall no more be heard,
Nor the wind on the hill.
O, misery!
Hark! death is calling
While I speak to ye,
The jaw is falling,
The red cheek paling,
The strong limbs failing;
Ice with the warm blood mixing;
The eyeballs fixing.
Nine times goes the passing bell:
Ye merry souls, farewell.
The old earth
Had a birth,
As all men know,
Long ago.
And the old earth must die.
So let the warm winds range,
And the blue wave beat the shore;
For even and morn
Ye will never see
Thro’ eternity.
All things were born.
Ye will come never more,
For all things must die.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Dharma Master Cheng Yen

Having just received the latest e-newsletter from the Tzu Chi Foundation I thought I'd share this piece from its founder Dharma Master Cheng Yen.

In life, we have a lot of afflictions, and we would like to get rid of them. But how do we get rid of our afflictions? We can get rid of them by being content. Contentment will lead us to spiritual richness.

If we are content, we'll be satisfied and happy with what we have. When people have a lot of desires, even if they should possess the whole world, they still won’t feel they have enough.

I know a businessperson who is very successful; he had expanded his business abroad. Once he came to visit me. I asked him, "Your business is already very successful, why don't you spare some time to do charity work and help people in need? Besides donating money, you can personally participate in caring for the poor and experience the joy of helping people." He replied, "But my staff want me to invest more money in the business so that it will expand." I told him, "Desire is a limitless thing. If you keep on expanding the business, there will never be an end." He finally told me that he was too deeply involved at that time; things were beyond his control, and it was too late to turn back.

Out of the desire to accumulate wealth, he expanded his business. Because of this, he has to work very hard to meet his responsibilities; he has many things to manage and worry about. He has to face considerable psychological stress as he worries about whether things will go smoothly. All of this brings many afflictions and burdens onto himself. If he understood the impermanent nature of life, and realized material wealth is only temporary, he would not overly pursue wealth and would become content with what he already has.

Take a look at our recycling volunteers. Some of them live a simple life, yet they are very happy. One of our recycling volunteers has a home so small that she has to set up her kitchen in a narrow alleyway outside her home. She has put a counter and a gas stove outside, next to her window. Directly across the alley from the stove, there's a rack where she keeps her kitchen utensils. She has arranged a makeshift cover over this 'kitchen' to shield it from the rain. To make a meal, she has to squeeze herself into this tiny space. She says, "Although my kitchen is very small, at least I have a place to cook and have food to eat. Compared to poor people who have no house to live in, I'm very satisfied with what I have." See how content and at peace she is.

The Buddhist sutras tell us that people with many desires suffer much because they are constantly seeking self-benefit and gain. Those with few desires will not suffer like this. When we give rise to desire, we act in order to seek things, such as wealth, fame, and delicious food. When we cannot get what we want, afflictions arise and we suffer. We might get into arguments with people over what we want. We might tire ourselves out scheming to get what we want. Our efforts to fulfill our desires bring us much affliction.

If we want to get rid of our afflictions, we have to know their source—our desires. When we reduce our desires, our mind can be at peace, like the travelling monks of the past who lived a very simple life. In the ancient times, Buddhist monastics would travel around the country visiting various temples to learn the Dharma. Their clothing and an alms bowl were all they would carry with them. That was all they needed to make their journey. That was how at ease and free they were.

When we already have life's basic necessities, we should beware of getting tempted by desires. The more we pursue our desires, the more afflictions we'll bring onto ourselves. With fewer desires, we would be able to sleep soundly at night without any worries. Our heart would be at peace.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Note - New Talk

There is a new talk, Mindfulness, Metta, Mystery by Rev. Myo Denis Lahey, posted in our Audio Section.

Although I have put this talk under the "Thursday Talks" heading it was in fact used as the talk for the Newport Soto Zen group's monthly Retreat Day last Friday.


The talk was originally given at the Spirit Rock Meditation Centre in Woodacre, west Marin, California.

Friday, 25 November 2011

NEW MOON - Friday 25th November 2011

Strength of patience
is the might of noble beings;
they can be shackled,
endure verbal abuse and beatings,
without resorting to anger.

Dhammapada v. 399


The force of self-righteousness within us needs taming. The more
clever we are, the more careful we need to be. The more eloquent our
speech, the more restraint is required. It is only when we know we can
say no to ourselves - when we know we don't have to always be the
winner - that we can appreciate the transformative power of patient
endurance.

With Metta, Bhikkhu Munindo

Also, on the same theme, this from the Samyutta Nikāya, I, 162

Knowing that the other person is angry,
The one who remains just aware and calm
acts in and for his own best interest,
and for the others' interest, too!

Friday, 18 November 2011

Buddhism and Dreams; A Poem That I Like

The Dream Called Life
by
Pedro Calderon de la Barca

A dream it was in which I found myself.
And you that hail me now, then hailed me king,
In a brave palace that was all my own,
Within, and all without it, mine; until,
Drunk with excess of majesty and pride,
Methought I towered so big and swelled so wide
That of myself I burst the glittering bubble
Which my ambition had about me blown,
And all again was darkness. Such a dream
As this, in which I may be walking now,
Dispensing solemn justice to you shadows,
Who make believe to listen; but anon
Kings, princes, captains, warriors, plume and steel,
Aye, even with all your airy theatre,
May flit into the air you seem to rend
With acclamations, leaving me to wake
In the dark tower; or dreaming that I wake
From this that waking is; or this and that,
Both waking and both dreaming; such a doubt
Confounds and clouds our moral life about.
But whether wake or dreaming, this I know,
How dreamwise human glories come and go;
Whose momentary tenure not to break,
Walking as one who knows he soon may wake,
So fairly carry the full cup, so well
Disordered insolence and passion quell,
That there be nothing after to upbraid
Dreamer or doer in the part he played;
Whether tomorrow's dawn shall break the spell,
Or the last trumpet of the Eternal Day,
When dreaming, with the night, shall pass away.

The fundamental aim of Buddhism is an untangling of our fundamental self image from the many influences it is usually enmeshed in. Part of this is the illusory view we have of the world. Buddhism does not see the world itself as an illusion, but the emotions and concepts we hold which provoke our responses to the world are seen as the illusion. Therefore dreams are not thought of as being illusions, but depict the illusions of our everyday experience of life. The very nature of dreams are expressive of the complicated realm of fears, longings and mental concepts we are deeply enmeshed in. Nightmares especially show how deeply involved our waking self is with the internal world of passionate feelings and imagery.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Buddhism and the Evolution Petition

There is currently an e-petition on the direct.gov website which calls for "the Government to make the teaching of evolution mandatory in all publicly-funded schools, at both primary and secondary level."

As a Buddhist, I totally support this motion. The Buddha's teaching was that absolutely everything is impermanent and thus is in a constant process of changing or evolving.

"When Charles Darwin outlined his theory of evolution through natural selection 150 years ago, virtually everyone — scientists and preachers alike — believed that species were fixed and immutable. What would the Buddha have said about the fact that species do in fact change and evolve over time? He’d have said, “Of course. All conditioned things are subject to change.” There simply is no problem in Buddhism with accepting that species evolve." Wildmind.org

Sign this petition

The petition reads....
Teach evolution, not creationism

Responsible department: Department for Education

Creationism and ‘intelligent design’ are not scientific theories, but they are portrayed as scientific theories by some religious fundamentalists who attempt to have their views promoted in publicly-funded schools. At the same time, an understanding of evolution is central to understanding all aspects of biology. Currently, the study of evolution does not feature explicitly in the National Curriculum until year 10 (ages 14-15). Free Schools and Academies are not obliged to teach the National Curriculum and so are under no obligation to teach about evolution at all. We petition the Government to make clear that creationism and ‘intelligent design’ are not scientific theories and to prevent them from being taught as such in publicly-funded schools, including in ‘faith’ schools, religious Academies and religious Free Schools. At the same time, we want the Government to make the teaching of evolution mandatory in all publicly-funded schools, at both primary and secondary level.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

7 Billion and Reincarnation

We have posted numberous items on population growth and the consequent perils of over-population. However, there is also the perceived "problem" for Buddhists of how can reincarnation work if there are constantly "new" people being born? Ed Halliwell addressed this problem in a recent article for the Guardian.................


There are now 7 billion people on earth, a billion more than 12 years ago, and 6 billion more than two centuries ago. How does this fact fit with the Buddhist doctrine of reincarnation?

The idea of reincarnation is commonly thought of as "one-out-one-in"– you die and then you get reborn somewhere else. That's not at all how it's perceived in Buddhism: one of the hallmarks of the Buddhist teaching is a refutation that there's any permanent self or soul that could endure from lifetime to lifetime.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

St Paul's and Occupy Wall Street

With all the controversy over the protesters outside St. Paul's it's important to realise that these demonstrations are going on around the world. Here is a Buddhist commentary on the main rally in America, "Occupy Wall Street" from the Shambhala Sun blog.

Remaining Human: A Buddhist Perspective on Occupy Wall Street

by Buddhist teacher, Michael Stone

A man stands on a bench in Zuccotti Park on Wall Street and chants a phrase from a meeting last night: “We don’t want a higher standard of living, we want a better standard of living.” He’s wearing a crisp navy blue suit and typing tweets into his iPhone. Next to him, Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek, wearing a red t-shirt, is surrounded by at least a hundred people as he makes his way onto a makeshift platform. Since the protesters aren’t allowed to use megaphones or amplifiers, they have to listen carefully to the speaker’s every sentence, after which the speaker pauses, and those close enough to have heard repeat the sentence in unison for those farther away. When Naomi Klein spoke three nights ago, some sentences were repeated four or five times as they echoed through Liberty Park and down Wall Street, passed along like something to be celebrated and shared, something newborn.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Note: Latest Audio Talk

Our latest audio talk to be shared with the Newport Soto Zen group is "Understanding Sankhara" by Tempel Smith.

Tempel Smith teaches Mindfulness, Insight and Metta meditation with an emphasis on Buddhist psychology and mind-body awareness. He spent a year as a monk in Burma with Sayadaw U Pandita and Pa Auk Sayadaw, and he has completed the four year teacher-training program run by Spirit Rock and Insight Meditation Society.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Buddhist tradition revived in Kalmykia

This is from "Russia, beyond the headlines".........



“Let all our wishes come true! Let all living creatures be free of suffering, of danger, of diseases and sadness! Let peace and happiness govern on Earth!”

More than 2,000 Buddhists chanted the mantra, kneeling on mats before the Golden Abode of Buddha temple in Elista, the capital of the republic of Kalmykia, one of three traditional Buddhist regions in Russia. They repeated words of prayer after the Kalmyk Buddhist leader, Telo Tulku Rinpoche. Finally, the square grew quiet as the group went into deep meditation.

As night fell, thousands of candles were lit. Buddhist monks visiting from Tibet, Thailand, and the United States, as well as Russian Buddhist regions of Buriatya and Tuva, blessed those who gathered from all over Kalmykia and the neighboring southern regions of Russia. They sent candles flying skyward in hot air balloons, illuminating the dark night sky.

The ceremony, an offering of light to Buddha, was introduced to Russian Buddhists for the first time as a symbolic event celebrating the beginning of the international forum, “Buddhism: Philosophy of Non-Violence and Compassion,” held in Elista last month.

Despite objections from China, a group of 30 Tibetan monks from the Gyudmed Monastery, assigned by the Dalai Lama, arrived to bless the republic’s main temple and 17 sculptures of great scholars of Nalanda University inside.

The 17 statues of Nalanda scholars - who compiled outstanding commentaries to Buddha Shakyamuni’s precious teachings - have a particular importance for His Holiness the Dalai Lama who considers Tibetan Buddhists to be spiritual heirs of Nalanda, a major monastic learning centre of India that was destroyed by Muslims, but only after its scholars had passed their skills and knowledge to Tibetans. From Tibet, scholastic traditions of Nalanda were then spread to Mongolia and Buddhist republics of Russia.

At the ceremony, the candle kites formed a path of light in the pitch-black sky. “That is our white road,” somebody whispered in the crowd.

“Have a white road” is the most sincere greeting people traditionally give each other in Kalmykia.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

NEW MOON - Wednesday 26th October 2011

While in the midst
of those who are troubled,
to dwell free from troubling
is happiness indeed.

Dhammapada verse 198


When those around us are struggling we could feel that somehow it is not quite right to be happy. The Buddha tells us the opposite. An outward display of excessive delight would be out of place but the maintenance of inner joy is perfectly suitable. In fact to do so might be the very best thing we could offer to a troubled situation.

With Metta,

Bhikkhu Munindo

Sunday, 23 October 2011

New Thought for the Day

Every now and then we include a non-Buddhist speaker on our "Thought for the Day" page.
This moving piece is by the Rev. Lucy Winkett, Rector of St James’s Piccadilly, and is about the horrific killing of Yue Yue, the little Chinese girl run over twice in the street and ignored by passers-by. Since this was broadcast Yue Yue has died.

CCTV footage of little Yue Yue lying horrifically injured as people stepped around her in the road caused outrage around the world and sparked a fierce debate about morality in China.

Thousands of pounds have been donated to her family to help pay for treatment but Yue Yue died on Friday of brain and organ failure.

A hospital official said: “Her injuries were too severe and the treatment had no effect.”

Her tearful mother, Qu Feifei described how she had told her daughter: “Don’t give up on mum. Mum is not giving up. Let mum have one more chance to love and spoil you.”

Yue Yue was hit by a van driver who failed to stop in a street in the southern Guandong province city of Foshan.

The footage shows 18 people walk or drive by before another van runs over her seven minutes later.

A scavenger finally came to her aid, took her to hospital and found her parents.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Note: Latest Talk by Vishvapani

The latest "Thought for the Day" by Vishvapani is now available on our Audio Section.

It's the End of the World...... Again

You may remember our posts "My Last Post?" and "The World Didn't End!" from back in May when an evangelical Christian minister, Harold Camping, proclaimed the end of the World (well, leastways, for all us "non-believers").

Guess what, it's Apocalypse time all over again, “the day when He will destroy the world and all that is therein!" A study of the Book of Revelation apparently reveals the date of October 21, 2011 as the date of the End of the World. Originally thought to come in stages over a 5 month period, the Rapture, Apocalypse, and End of the World will all come in one day!!!


The Rapture will come this Friday morning. Expected to seem like the longest day on earth, October 21 will begin with a large, world wide earthquake, marking the second coming of Jesus. He will be returning to earth at god’s orders to bring his true believers back to heaven, in the Rapture. He will have pre-selected the chosen ones on Judgement Day, leaving the rest of us to a hopeless last day on earth. Those left will be waiting, and begging for the End of the World, as they experience the Apocalypse.

Fire, disaster and lack of saviour will define the Apocalypse. Earthquakes and Tsunami’s causing worldwide destruction will lead to looting and rioting by the anarchists (?), as the final day edges closer to an end. Just as god "created the world", he will destroy his creation in a matter of moments. The End of the World will come on October 21, 2011, and those not saved in the Rapture will experience the Apocalypse.

So now you "know"...................

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Self-immolations Continue in Tibet

Yesterday a Tibetan woman killed herself by self-immolation three kilometres outside Ngaba in the Aba County of eastern Tibet an autonomous Prefecture of Sichuan Province on Monday at around 1PM local time, said Tibetan exile sources with contacts in the area.

Tenzin Wangmo, a 20-year-old nun from Mame Dechen Chokorling nunnery called for the return of Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama and freedom for Tibet when she set herself on fire. She is reported to have died at the scene. The nun was from the Nyitse family from the village of Shakoma in Ngaba.

The same sources say Chinese authorities have intensified military presence at Mame nunnery and the local town.



An 8th young Tibetan man has also set fire to himself in Ngaba. A former Kirti monk set fire to himself in a protest on the main street in Ngaba just before noon on Saturday. Norbu Damdrul, a 19-year old former monk at Kirti monastery, shouted “We need freedom and independence for Tibet,” and also called for the return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet as his body was burning, according to the same sources.

Norbu’s body was badly burned, but according to sources he was still alive when police stationed on the street extinguished the flames and kicked Norbu before taking him away. According to at least one source in the area, the vehicle transporting Norbu Damdrul left the scene headed in the opposite direction to that of the local hospital, Norbu Damdrul’s current whereabouts and well-being are unknown. A large crowd of Tibetans who had gathered at the scene was dispersed at gunpoint by security personnel.

During a video discussion with fellow Nobel Peace Laureate Archbishop Tutu, the Dalai Lama said he made China uncomfortable by speaking the truth.

"Some Chinese officials describe me as a demon so naturally some fear... the demon," he is quoted by the AFP news agency as telling the archbishop during the live video link.

He said that "hypocrisy" has become part of the fabric of the "communist" system and said that those who spoke the truth made China uncomfortable.

Monday, 17 October 2011

World Vegan Day

As a Buddhist site we often post on issues of animal welfare, one of our Sangha members is a committed Vegan and forwarded this item from the Vegan Society on World Vegan Day.


World Vegan Month is nearly here.

It is time to put up posters in public places, share vegan cakes, take a non-vegan to a vegan festival, and talk to your local newspapers and radio.

World Vegan Day is Tuesday 1 November 2011, launching global vegan celebrations throughout November (World Vegan Month) – take a look at our major events listings on www.worldveganday.org

Get in touch for our two new FREE posters, Because you do care, and World Vegan Day: you can see them at: www.worldveganday.org (plus our great selection of FREE colour leaflets).

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

FULL MOON - Wednesday 12th October 2011

Like the tongue that can appreciate
the flavour of the soup,
is one who can discern clearly the truth after only a brief association with the wise.

Dhammapada v. 65

The number of retreats we go on is not as important as our ability to discern truth. The amount of time we spend sitting meditation does not matter as much as our ability to see clearly what is in front of us.

If our awareness is here-and-now, whole body-mind and judgement-free, than we can learn from all aspects of our life. If we have the good fortune to encounter wisdom, in whatever form, we will recognize it.
It won't have to appear Buddhist, or up to date, or even overtly wise.
The heart will simply know it and be gladdened.

With Metta,

Bhikkhu Munindo

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Chinese Call on Dalai Lama to Respect Reincarnation!


Following the news that Jacob Zuma's government has bowed to Chinese pressure and barred the Dalai Lama from South Africa comes the news that China has called on the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader to respect what it said was the historic tradition of reincarnation. This coming from an atheist, communist government!

"The reincarnation of living Buddhas is a form of succession special to Tibetan Buddhism, and the policies of freedom of religious belief observed by China naturally include respecting and protecting this form of succession in Tibetan Buddhism," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a regular briefing.

"There has never been the case of a previous Dalai determining the next Dalai. At the same time, the Chinese government has already issued rules about religious affairs and the administration of reincarnation of living Buddhas in Tibetan Buddhism," he added. "The reincarnation of any living Buddha, including the Dalai Lama, should respect the religious rules, historical standards and state laws and regulations."

Traditionally, high lamas, Buddhist priests, can take years to identify a child deemed to be a reincarnation of the Dalai Lama, a search usually limited to Tibet, now ruled by Beijing which regards the Dalai Lama as a dangerous separatist.

Tibetans fear that China will use the thorny issue of the Dalai Lama's religious succession to split the movement, with one new Lama named by exiles and one by China after his death.

The Chinese government says it has to approve all reincarnations of living Buddhas, or senior religious figures in Tibetan Buddhism. It also says China has to sign off on the choosing of the next Dalai Lama.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu had invited the Dalai Lama to deliver the inaugural Desmond Tutu International Peace Lecture today at the University of Cape Town as part of Tutu's 80th birthday celebrations this weekend.

"ironically, the Dalai Lama's message for peace and compassion might reach more people than if he had been allowed to come here," chairman of the Trust Dumisa Ntsebeza said as the body prepared to link up by video with the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader at his Dharamsala home in India.

Signs of Change in Burma

Apparently, the United States is considering a significant shift in its long-strained relationship with the autocratic government of Myanmar, including relaxing restrictions on financial assistance and taking other steps to encourage what senior American officials describe as startling political changes in the country. The thawing, while in its early stages, follows a political transition in Myanmar after deeply flawed elections last year that nonetheless appears to have raised the possibility that the new government will ease its restrictions on basic freedoms and cooperate with the repressed opposition movement led by the Nobel laureate and de facto President elect Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

Also, this from the Economist...

THE recent news from Myanmar, that beautiful, blighted land formerly known as Burma, has offered an all-too-rare cause for optimism. In the past week the president (and former general), Thein Sein, has announced that construction of the Myitsone dam across the River Irrawaddy would cease. That is probably a good thing for the environment; but it also marks a symbolic shift. It shows that for the first time for many years, Myanmar’s regime is prepared to annoy China, the dam’s main backer.

Irritating China is not necessarily a good thing. But in this case it appears to be part of a wider trend: Myanmar’s leaders seem prepared to pay more heed both to popular opinion at home and to pressure from the West. In August Aung San Suu Kyi, the winner of the 1991 Nobel peace prize who is the de facto head of Myanmar’s opposition, was invited for talks with Thein Sein himself. Miss Suu Kyi, who was previously confined for years under house arrest, has been allowed far greater freedom of movement and has even met several foreign visitors. Then in September the government passed a law to permit the formation of trade unions. These changes could just mark the start of a substantial shift in the now nominally-civilian leaders’ repressive policies.

This is not the first time that Myanmar’s leaders have eased up; and previous dawns have turned out to be false. In the mid-1990s, and then again in 2002-03, some form of reconciliation between the generals and opposition forces under Miss Suu Kyi seemed to be under way. On both occasions, the reforms led nowhere and there was ultimately a backlash by hardliners within the regime.

Yet even the regime’s opponents admit that there could be more to the relaxation this time round. For years Western sanctions seemed to produce little in the way of significant political change in Myanmar; instead they pushed the country’s leaders closer to China, which is more forgiving of dictatorships. But this greater closeness may not be entirely welcome. The people of Myanmar—and the regime—remain fiercely independent and popular resentment of China’s huge economic influence in the country has increased. With most ordinary people still poor, Myanmar’s leaders may have decided to liberalise to try to get sanctions lifted.

Take the pressure off, only slowly

How should the West react? Myanmar’s leaders, no doubt, would like to see sanctions lifted rapidly. To merit that, they need to do more. There are rumours of an imminent release of political prisoners. If it goes ahead, the leadership should get some credit. The biggest issue, however, is the 2008 constitution, which gives the armed forces the final say on everything, and which Miss Suu Kyi and her party have refused to recognise. As long as this constitution is in place, genuine political reconciliation at the centre, let alone with Myanmar’s myriad ethnic insurgent groups, is hard. This rotten document should be rewritten quickly.

Despite these caveats, the West should applaud reform and recognise Thein Sein’s efforts. Its failure to respond favourably to previous liberalisations has strengthened hardliners’ suspicions inside Myanmar. The changes this time may be limited, but they are a great deal better than no movement at all. After so many long years of hopelessness, they represent a small glimmer of light for the people of a dark land.

Friday, 7 October 2011

A Poem That I Like

This one is by Navarre Scott Momaday who is a Kiowa-Cherokee writer from Oklahoma, USA. Momaday's novel, "House Made of Dawn" led to the breakthrough of Native American literature into the mainstream. It was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1969.

Momaday founded and operates the Rainy Mountain Foundation and Buffalo Trust, a nonprofit organization working to preserve native cultures.

"The Delight Song of Tsoai-talee" by N. Scott Momaday

I am a feather on the bright sky
I am the blue horse that runs in the plain
I am the fish that rolls, shining, in the water
I am the shadow that follows a child
I am the evening light, the lustre of meadows
I am an eagle playing with the wind
I am a cluster of bright beads
I am the farthest star
I am the cold of dawn
I am the roaring of the rain
I am the glitter on the crust of the snow
I am the long track of the moon in a lake
I am a flame of four colours
I am a deer standing away in the dusk
I am a field of sumac and the pomme blanche
I am an angle of geese in the winter sky
I am the hunger of a young wolf
I am the whole dream of these things
You see, I am alive, I am alive
I stand in good relation to the earth
I stand in good relation to the gods
I stand in good relation to all that is beautiful
I stand in good relation to the daughter of Tsen-tainte
You see, I am alive, I am alive

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Steve Jobs, Buddhist, Dies

Steve Jobs, co-founder, chairman, and chief executive officer of Apple Inc. died peacefully on Wednesday. Steve was a Buddhist, bearing that in mind, listen to this extract from his 2005 speech to Stanford University in which he said his mortality was what helped him to make the big choices in his life.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Dzogchen Ranyak Patrul Rinpoche Teaching in London

Dzogchen Centre UK Newsletter

Anna from the Mahasandhi Buddhist group in Cowes has emailed me to let me know that Dzogchen Ranyak Patrul Rinpoche, will be teaching in London this year on the 12th & 13th of November.



Rinpoche will teach on "Adopting the awakening mind" Chapter 3 of Arya Shantideva's Bodhicarayavatara.

Dzogchen Ranyak Patrul Rinpoche is a high lama from the Nyingmapa school of Tibetan Buddhism who embodies the very essence of these profound teachings.

The first incarnation, the perfect Bodhisattva Dza Patrul Rinpoche made these teachings the very corner stone of his compassionate activity, so to receive these Bodhicitta teachings from the present Patrul Rinpoche is to receive the full blessings of the Patrul Lineage.

This year the teachings will be held at the new Kagyu Samye Dzong Buddhist Centre in London at:
Kagyu Samye Dzong London
15 Spa Road
Bermondsey
London
SE16 3SA

For location map click link below
http://london.samye.org/london/kagyu/contact_us/location.shtml

To help cover the cost of the event we are suggesting a donation of £50 for the full weekends course or £25 for daily attendance. But everyone is very welcome so if your financial situation is difficult please don't worry, just inform us and come anyway.

If you wish to attend, or if you need any further information.
Please email us at: admin@dzogchencentre.co.uk if you wish to attend so we can reserve your place, or if you need any further information.
Or Call: - 0044(0)7769228996

Monday, 3 October 2011

Zazen

This is a short video showing how you can learn the basics of Zen meditation in less than five minutes. Clear, step-by-step meditation instruction, as practised at the Hazy Moon Zen Centre of Los Angeles. I've also placed a copy of this on our Video, Meditation page, below the series of classes with Rodney Smith.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

7,000,000,000 of Us!

Sometime this month, a baby will be born who will take the global population above seven billion for the first time, and in all probability that birth will take place in China or India, the two countries with more than a billion inhabitants.

The United Nations has fixed October 31 as the date of the fateful birth, but events have so often proved demographers wrong in the past that the expectation is that it will be sooner rather than later.



The rate of population growth has soared over the course of recorded history: when the Buddha was born,
there are thought to have been less than 300 million people on earth. The billion-mark was reached only after 1800, but as a measure of just how fast global population is growing, the sixth billionth living person—Bosnian Adnan Nevic—is only 11!

Current predictions are that by 2050 or so, the world population will reach nine billion, essentially adding two Chinas to the number of people alive today.

Those billions will be seeking food, water and other resources on a planet where, scientists say, humans are already shaping climate and the web of life.

CIA director Michael Hayden recently identified one of the biggest threats facing the U.S., something that occurs over 215 million times a day — sex.

“Population is the essential multiplier for any number of human ills," Hayden said recently. He said overpopulation in the poorest parts of the world is causing global political instability and extremism, climate change, and the food and fuel crises.

Soon India Will Take The Lead From China in population growth.

From The Hindu:

It’s also clear that the proportions will shift between the continents, driven by high birth rates in Asia and Africa. Soon India, with 1.2 billion currently, will take the lead from China, with 1.3 billion, as the world’s most populous nation..

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country today with 162 million, will see its population increase to almost 750 million by the middle of the century.

Another example: highly industrialised Germany and developing Ethiopia each have a little more than 80 million people. In another 40 years, there will probably be 174 million Ethiopians, while Germany’s population will decline to 72 million.
And the industrialised world is ageing rapidly.

This also means that relations of political power will change.

Can We Support A Population Of Seven Billion?

Can the planet Earth really support seven billion people? With some 1.5 billion people already living on less than $1.25 a day, nearly one billion people hungry and the natural world already heavily damaged, are we humans destroying ourselves?

With increasing pressure on land, food and energy sources, many believe that there will be wars between neighbouring countries over water and land.

Friday, 30 September 2011

Note

I have just added a link to "THE BUDDHA AND HIS DHAMMA", by Dr. B. R. Ambedkar onto our "Study Tools" on our "Dharma Studies" page. This is taken from Columbia University's South Asia study resources compiled by Prof. Frances Pritchett.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Two Tibetan Monks Set Fire to Themselves

 
Two young monks, Lobsang Kalsang and Lobsang Konchok, from Kirti monastery in Aba county, Sichuan, called for religious freedom and shouted "Long live the Dalai Lama" before setting fire to themselves yesterday (Monday).

The State news agency, Xinhua said two monks had been rescued by police and had suffered slight burns and were in a stable condition, before adding ominously: "The suicide attempt is under further investigation."

Lobsang Kalsang's 21-year-old brother Rigzin Phuntsog, also from Kirti, died after self-immolating in March.

Their uncle and another of their brothers were among six lamas recently sentenced for "intentional homicide" and other crimes in connection with his death. Phuntsog's uncle, Drongdru, was jailed for 11 years for "intentional homicide", with the court finding that he had hidden his injured nephew, preventing medical treatment.

NEW MOON - Tuesday 27th September 2011

Those who fail to value generosity
do not reach the celestial realms.
But the wise rejoice in giving
and forever abide in bliss.

Dhammapada verse 177

We may or may not find we can believe in celestial realms, but it is important that we are able to value generosity. When the heart is overshadowed with craving we inevitably think about how to get more.
If the heart is filled with gratitude we naturally think about ways of being generous. And the magic is that the more generous we are the more likely we are to feel contented. On the other hand, if we are always concerned about getting more, even when we have plenty, we are rarely contented.

With Metta,

Bhikkhu Munindo

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Note

I have posted a fascinating edition of "In Our Time" with Melvin Bragg which discusses the relationship of Shintoism and Buddhism. You can find it on the Miscellaneous page of our Audio Section.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Note

The latest Dharma talk taken to the Newport Zen group, Awaken Your Unborn Buddha Mind by Edward Espe Brown, has been uploaded to our Audio Section.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Troy Davis and the Isle of Wight

Last night, at 11:00 p.m. local time, Troy Davis was executed in the US state of Georgia for the fatal shooting of policeman Mark MacPhail in 1989.

Mr. Davis remained defiant at the end, according to reporters who witnessed his death. He looked directly at the members of the family of Mark MacPhail, the officer he was convicted of killing, and told them they had the wrong man.

“I did not personally kill your son, father, brother,” he said. “All I can ask is that you look deeper into this case so you really can finally see the truth.”

Here on the Isle of Wight our local MP, Andrew Turner, is an enthusiastic supporter of a return of capital punishment. The death penalty was effectively abolished in the UK in 1965 the last executions being in 1964, Peter Anthony Allen, at Walton Prison in Liverpool, and Gwynne Owen Evans, at Strangeways Prison in Manchester, were executed for the murder of John Alan West on 7 April that year.

The UK is a signatory to the European Convention on Human Rights, Protocol 13 of which provides for the total abolition of the death penalty. As of May 2011 the majority of the Council of Europe has ratified Protocol 13. Latvia, Poland and Armenia have signed but not ratified the protocol, whilst Russia and Azerbaijan have not signed it.

Mr Turner said he was backing a petition by right-wing political blogger Paul Staines - who writes the Guido Fawkes blog - for a review into "all treaties and international commitments which may inhibit the ability of Parliament to restore capital punishment".

Of the 194 independent states that are UN members (or have UN observer status):

42 (22%) maintain the death penalty in both law and practice.

95 (49%) have abolished it.

8 (4%) retain it for crimes committed in exceptional circumstances (such as in time of war).

49 (25%) permit its use for ordinary crimes, but have not used it for at least 10 years and are believed to have a policy or established practice of not carrying out executions, or it is under a moratorium.

The information above is accurate as of 14 Feb 2011 when Gabon announced the abolition of capital punishment.

The worst countries for the number of executions they perpetrate are (or were*) the likes of China, 2000+ in 2010, Iran, Gaddafi's Libya*, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Yemen, the only country in Europe still executing, Belarus (only 2), oh yes, and the United State of America - nice company to keep!

As a Buddhist the killing of any being is anathema to me. I personally have always found the rationale, "that to kill is wrong therefore if you kill we will kill you" totally spurious.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

International Peace Day

Today is International Peace Day.

The International Day of Peace ("Peace Day") provides an opportunity for individuals, organizations and nations to create practical acts of peace on a shared date. It was established by a United Nations resolution in 1981 to coincide with the opening of the General Assembly. The first Peace Day was celebrated in September 1982.

In 2002 the General Assembly officially declared September 21 as the permanent date for the International Day of Peace.

By creating the International Day of Peace, the UN devoted itself to worldwide peace and encouraged all of mankind to work in cooperation for this goal. During the discussion of the U.N. Resolution that established the International Day of Peace, it was suggested that:

"Peace Day should be devoted to commemorating and strengthening the ideals of peace both within and among all nations and peoples…This day will serve as a reminder to all peoples that our organization, with all its limitations, is a living instrument in the service of peace and should serve all of us here within the organization as a constantly pealing bell reminding us that our permanent commitment, above all interests or differences of any kind, is to peace."

Since its inception, Peace Day has marked our personal and planetary progress toward peace. It has grown to include millions of people in all parts of the world, and each year events are organized to commemorate and celebrate this day. Events range in scale from private gatherings to public concerts and forums where hundreds of thousands of people participate.

Anyone, anywhere can celebrate Peace Day. It can be as simple as lighting a candle at noon, or just sitting in silent meditation. Or it can involve getting your co-workers, organization, community or government engaged in a large event. The impact if millions of people in all parts of the world, coming together for one day of peace, is immense.

International Day of Peace is also a Day of Ceasefire – personal or political. Take this opportunity to make peace in your own relationships as well as impact the larger conflicts of our time. Imagine what a whole Day of Ceasefire would mean to humankind.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Sunflowers Fail to absorb "Invisible Snow"

Further to our story ‘Invisible Snow’, Mopping up Radiation with Sunflowers an experiment to test the power of sunflowers to absorb toxic radiation has failed to prove effective near the site of the nuclear disaster at Fukushima, Japan. The Asahi Shimbun reports that the sunflowers removed only .05 percent of the radioactive cesium in the ground, while the removal of just over an inch (3 centimeters) of topsoil along with grass removed up to 97 percent of the radioactive cesium. It was hoped that sunflowers would concentrate radioactive waste and could then be removed more easily than the wholesale “scraping” of soil and compost that it seems will be required.



In the meantime scientists are studying ways to decontaminate the forests near the nuclear accident site. According to the Japan Times, the prefecture (county) where the plant is located is 70% forested, and efforts to date have focused on decontaminating urban areas. Removing the contaminated soil and other material from the forest requires such extreme removal methods that the forest’s ecosystem will be seriously damaged.

Whether the radiation is removed by scraping soil or removing plant matter, the radioactive waste still needs to be safely stored. The government has not yet selected a permanent storage site for the tons of soil and debris that needs to be sequestered.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Today is the 1st Annual International Bhikkhuni Day

What is International Bhikkhuni Day?

It is a day on which we pay respect to the Bhikkhuni Sangha and acknowledge its essential role in preserving and spreading the Dhamma. We remember prominent bhikkhunis and their unique achievements and contributions.

When is International Bhikkhuni Day?

The 1st International Bhikkhuni Day is today, Saturday, September the 17th. In the future, the celebration will take place on the full moon Saturday in September or on the first Saturday immediately following the full moon.

Why this date?

The first bhikkhuni, Bhikkhuni Maha Pajapati Theri, the Buddha’s stepmother and aunt, ordained during a full moon in September, the occasion marking the start of the Bhikkhuni Sangha.

What do we do on International Bhikkhuni Day?

We honour bhikkhunis and the women who have guided us, beginning with Bhikkhuni Maha Pajapati Theri, as well as rejoice in the continuance of the Bhikkhuni Sangha. Sharing stories about bhikkhunis and laywomen will help us recall that we are all a vital part of the Fourfold Assembly created by the Buddha.

It is a time to raise funds to support ordained
women.

It is a time to meditate and study the
Dhamma.

It is a time to honour women and their spiritual
accomplishments.

It is a time to protect the history and spiritual
legacy of bhikkhunis and laywomen.

It is a time to send love and compassion to heal conflicts in our families, communities, and the world.

It is time to re-dedicate ourselves to becoming the skilled, adept, learned, and purified disciples the Buddha intended us to be.

See Present | Winter 2011

Friday, 16 September 2011

Note

I've recently posted this cartoon onto our Video section. It's called "A Christian and a Buddhist Walk Into a Cartoon."

It's a brilliant synopsis of the Buddha's teachings.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

The world's first Mindfulness Day

Not only was it the full moon yesterday apparently it was also the world's first Mindfulness Day!


September 12, was the world's first Mindfulness Day. Started by Massachusetts-based Wisdom Publications, Mindfulness Day coincides with the 20th anniversary of the book "Mindfulness In Plain English." The Mindfulness Day website says that "this year, [September 12] will be .. the day of a full moon, which according to the traditional lunar calendar represents a time of increase ... By choosing a day at the beginning of the fall season, we hope to offer people an invitation to shed old habits."

Besides, it also happens to be the day after the 10th anniversary of 9/11; today, more than ever before, we need to work towards a more mindful and peaceful society.

You can participate in the celebrations by joining the Mindfulness Day Facebook page, tweeting about it, creating a mindfulness event in your neighborhood or writing in about the effect of mindfulness in your life.

In addition, here are some easy ways to bring mindfulness into your life:

1. Try using your non-dominant hand: Using your left hand when you're right handed simply makes you pay closer attention to everyday activities and helps you stay in the present.

2. Pause when the phone rings: The next time the phone rings, just take a couple of deep breaths before you answer it. It'll bring you back to the current moment.

3. Appreciate your hands: Several times a day, just look down at your hands and watch them like they belong to a stranger. This will help take you away from the dozens of competing thoughts in your head.

Mindfulness has been shown to have several health benefits. According to the Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, the practice reduces psychological and physiological symptoms associated with long-term diseases like chronic pain. It also reduces symptoms in people diagnosed with panic and anxiety, results in greater self esteem and can change brain structure in less than eight weeks.

From The Huffington Post

Monday, 12 September 2011

FULL MOON - Monday 12th September 2011

Work to cultivate wisdom.
Make an island for yourself.
Freed from stain and defilement
you will enter noble being.

Dhammapada v. 236

We arrive at the state of noble being when we are at one with who we truly are. Our work is to recognize when we become false, pretending to be something or somebody we are not. Stains and defilements appear when we believe in the stories the mind tells us. If we feel resentment, we simply need to see the feeling of resentment clearly.
If we feel fear, we simply need to see the feeling of fear clearly. We don't need to pretend. We 'make an island for ourselves' by establishing awareness as the foundation in our life. This clear- seeing awareness can tell the difference between the real and the false, leading to freedom.

With Metta,

Ajahn Munindo

Friday, 9 September 2011

Thailand's Female Monks Lobby for Legal Recognition

This fascinating article is from the Christian Science monitor..............

A quiet campaign to grant female monks legal recognition began this summer. Advocates hope that the minimal fanfare will help the 'Bhikkhunis' evade conservative religious opposition.

Dhammananda Bhikkhuni grips a wobbly stack of feminine hygiene products and sorts them on a long table. Her followers watch before mimicking her quick movements.

“We will bring these donations to women who are in the local prison,” explained Ms. Dhammananda. “If we don’t, then who?”

Bhikkhunis (Pee-KOO-nees), ordained female monks, in Thailand consider their gender to be an essential bridge to the women they help through charity work and spiritual guidance, since women are forbidden to be alone with male monks, known as Bhikkhu (Pee-KOO).

But Thai Bhikkhunis have their own limitations, not just because they number only 25 compared with the approximate 200,000 male monks here. They lack legal recognition – a denial that accompanies various withholdings of public benefits, and it highlights a persistent issue of discrimination for women across the country.

A revived campaign to grant Bhikkhunis legal recognition launched quietly at the end of July,

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Creating a Mindful Society

I know this is a U.S. based event but as almost as many Americans visit this site as do those from the UK I thought that I'd post this for all our readers on the other side of the pond.

Creating a Mindful Society, September 30–October 1, 2011

Jon Kabat-Zinn/Saki Santorelli "Creating a Mindful Society Conference" from Omega Institute on Vimeo.


Whether your interest is applying mindfulness at home, in your work, for better health, or simply to make your life more joyful and awake, you will benefit from this ground breaking conference on changing lives and creating a mindful society.

From the opening keynote talk by mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) founder Jon Kabat-Zinn to the closing Mindfulness Town Hall, you will practice, experience, and learn about the transformative power of mindfulness and the emerging mindfulness community, all in a warm, contemplative atmosphere.

In this lively program of talks, dialogue, practice, and breakout sessions, you will:

Learn from leading experts in the mindfulness field, featuring keynote presentations by MBSR founder Jon Kabat-Zinn, mindful leadership expert Janice Marturano, U.S. Congressman Tim Ryan, and renowned neuroscientist Richard J. Davidson.

Discover the benefits of mindfulness for your own life—and the science that proves how it works.

Go deeper into your area of interest at a breakout session of your choice.

Share your experience and insight with fellow practitioners across many fields, and benefit from theirs.

Learn about the exciting work now happening to change lives and create a mindful society.

Explore the future of the emerging mindfulness movement at the Mindfulness Town Hall.

Connect and network with others in the mindfulness community in a relaxed, contemplative atmosphere.

Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD "Orthogonal Renaissance" from Omega Institute on Vimeo.


Creating a Mindful Society will be held at the New York Society for Ethical Culture, on beautiful Central Park West in New York City.

This landmark gathering of the mindfulness community is a partnership of the Centre for Mindfulness, the Omega Institute, and Mindful: Living with Awareness and Compassion.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

14th Buddhist Island Picnic This Sunday!

The next Island Buddhist Picnic is just three days away! We will all be meeting up on Sunday the 4th of September at the Botanic gardens in Ventnor. The picnic will start from 12:00 onwards so bring plenty of nice vegetarian food to share also Feel free to bring along family, friends, dogs (none of them have to be Buddhists!) oh, and games!
View Larger Map

Monday, 29 August 2011

NEW MOON - Monday 29th August 2011

Like a fish which on being dragged
from its home in the water
and tossed on dry land
will thrash about,
so will the heart tremble
when withdrawing from the current of Mara.


Dhammapada verse 34

Probably we can all relate to this image. It's about how it feels when we attempt to let go of our habits. The current of Mara is the force of distraction and no matter how hard we try in practice, our addiction to distraction seems to return - sometimes subtle, sometimes coarse. The more intense our resolve to let go, the more convincing the obstructions can appear. This is not necessarily something going wrong, it is natural. We are all in this together and it can help to remember we need each other's support on this challenging journey.

With Metta,

Bhikkhu Munindo