Monday, 31 January 2011

Indian Media Accuse The 17th Karmapa of Being Chinese Agent!

The authorities in India have taken it upon themselves to investigate nearly half a million pounds worth of
foreign currency "found" in the Gyuto monastery, the home of Ugyen Thinley Dorje, the 17th Karmapa.

The money was in nearly two dozen foreign currencies, including a large amount of Chinese yuan,the Karmapas' office pointed out that they received support and donations from followers in many countries including Tibet hence the Chinese currency!

It seems that the motivation here may be Indian antagonism against Tibetan exiles purchasing land in the Himalayan region of north India. There has been a long running smear campaign in the Indian media against his Holiness with the suggestions of his being a "Chinese Agent".

Police raided the Gyuto monastery on Thursday and arrested a monk on suspicion of trying to illegally buy land in the region.

The raid followed the arrest of two Indians a day earlier who were found carrying 10 million rupees (£14,000) in cash, said Santosh Patial, a superintendent of police. On questioning, the two said they had received the money from the monk, an Indian national, to buy a plot of land in Himachal Pradesh where Dharmsala is located.

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Interactive Wheel of Life

I have been noticing that a lot of visitors to our site have been searching on "Interactive Wheel of Life". Unfortunately Google has been showing up the earlier post on this subject which contains invalid links. To avoid confusion I've deleted the previous post. There is a link to the interactive Tibetan wheel of life under our "Favourite Sites" listings and another on our Dharma Studies page under the STUDY TOOLS listings on the left of the page.... or you can go straight there from HERE and just float your mouse over the various parts of the image to find out more.

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Bhikkhuni: Revival of the Women's Order

I've just come across this short video which is a teaser for the forthcoming documentary film "Bhikkhuni: Revival of the Women's Order", A documentary about discrimination and the quest for gender equality in Buddhism.

Bhikkhuni: Revival of the Women's Order - teaser reel from Budaya Productions on Vimeo.


"What happens when the truth isn’t where you expect to find it? Or when you discover a truth that contradicts that which you have been taught your whole life? Filmmaker Wiriya Sati, having grown up on the east coast of New South Wales with Buddhist teachings from a Thai monk and her devout hippy parents, meets a Buddhist nun for the first time in her early twenties and is inspired to follow her on a spiritual quest with camera in hand.

Wiriya’s journey takes her from Thailand to the US and Europe, then back to Australia as she uncovers a disturbing reality within the Buddhist world: that women are barred from receiving full ordination and thus from the support and spiritual advancement available to men who can devote their life entirely to spiritual awakening as monks. This is due to the original lineage of ordained nuns dying out in Sri Lanka almost 1000 years previously, and there are all sorts of excuses used by monks to justify the ‘impossibility’ of reinstating proper ordination for women.

Wiriya finds that in all the monasteries she visits, nuns wanting to ordain are offered a lesser ordination placing them in a permanent junior position to monks. In Hamburg, Germany, Wiriya attends a conference initiated by the Dalai Lama to investigate re-introducing full ordination for women across Buddhist traditions. But despite strong arguments from various nuns, scholars and monks, the proposal to do so is denied.

Bhikkhuni: Revival of the Women’s Order is a documentary film that seeks to explore the issue of female ordination in Buddhism, and shed some light on the current injustices which are occurring within the tradition."

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Tashi Lhunpo Monks at New York's Natural History Museum

Twelve Tibetan monks from the Tashi Lhunpo Monastery in India are leading meditation sessions at New York's Museum of Natural History this week under the Hall of Ocean life’s giant blue whale and under the stars in the planetarium.

You may recall that monks from Tashi Lhunpo visited the island back in July of 2008 to present their "Power of Compassion" performance of ritual dance, music and chanting at the Quay Arts Centre in Newport.

The meditation sessions are part of "The enlightening exhibit" – part of the museum’s ongoing show “Brain: the inside story“ – is intended to teach about Tibetan culture and highlight new research which shows the mental and physiological benefits of meditation.

But as places to find the peace and quiet necessary for meditation goes, the museum – let alone the city of New York – is far from ideal, said Khen Rinpoche, the monk leading the classes.

“It is difficult to find quiet in the museum,“ Rinpoche, the abbot of the Tashi Lhunpo Monastery in India said. “You need deeper mindfulness to meditate here.“

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Zen Retreat with Shinzan Roshi

I've just received this email from Daizan about a retreat being run by Shinzan Roshi.

"We’re excited to let you know that our teacher Shinzan Roshi is visiting from Japan in May. He will be leading a sesshin 17th-22nd May 2011 at the beautiful Gaunts House (pictured) in Dorset. Places are limited and in demand, as you can imagine. The retreat will be suitable for beginners as well as experienced Zen practitioners. Shinzan Roshi will be teaching and sanzen (private interviews) will be available. The venue is top quality and the cost of the week is £395, concessions £345. Email to book places.

Zen practice is designed to enable you to realise your true nature, who you really are. This realization gives you freedom in life and death, happiness and fearlessness. This retreat, is a rare opportunity to study with an authentic Japanese Zen Master from the rigorous Rinzai lineage. Shinzan Roshi has many years of experience of teaching westerners. Expect a powerful and transformative experience.

About Shinzan Roshi
Meeting Shinzan Miyamae Roshi is like meeting a Zen master from the golden age. Openly critical of the institutionalisation and routinisation of much of modern Zen and emphatic on the importance of genuine insight, he has charted an unorthodox course. Born in 1935 in Niigata, Japan, he graduated from Doshisha University with a degree in Economics. In his twenties he failed in three business ventures, experiencing great hardships. Contemplating suicide, he was by chance transformed upon reading a book on Zen. He was 31. He was ordained a Zen monk by Mitsui Daishin Roshi who sent him to train at Shogenji monastery with his own master, the formidable Kajiura Itsugai Roshi. Shogenji, known as the devil’s dojo, had the reputation of being the strictest training monastery in Japan. It was founded in the mountains of Gifu-ken on the spot where Zen ancestor Kanzan Egan (1277-1360) in his post-monastery training worked as a cow herder by day and sat zazen on a precipice by night. After completing his koan study, Shinzan Roshi took the unusual step of visiting every Zen Master in Japan seeking to test and deepen his insight. Later he restored Gyokuryuji, the mountain hermitage of the great Zen master Bankei. He has become known for teaching outcasts and foreigners and protesting against institutional abuses. He withdrew from the Myoshinji branch of the Rinzai Zen school over the system of excessive charges for funerals. He has taught in the US, Canada and Europe and has written two books in Japanese, one about true Buddhism and one about finding happiness."

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Tibetan Arms and Armour

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, located in New York City's Central Park, is holding an exhibition of Tibetan Arms and Armour.

Armor and weapons are certainly not among the images usually called to mind when considering the art or culture of Tibet, which is closely identified with the pacifism and deep spirituality of the Dalai Lama and with the compassionate nature of Tibetan Buddhism. However, this seeming paradox resolves itself when seen in the context of Tibetan history, which includes regular and extended periods of intense military activity from the seventh to the mid-twentieth century. Many excellent examples of Tibetan arms and armour can be found in museum collections today largely due to the fact that various types of armour and weapons continued to be used in Tibet into the early twentieth century, long after they had gone out of use in the West. Other types were preserved for ceremonial occasions, the most important of which was the Great Prayer Festival, a month-long event held annually in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa. Historical armour and weapons were also preserved due to the long-standing tradition of placing votive arms in monasteries and temples, where they are kept in special chapels, known as gonkhang (mgon khang), and dedicated to the service of guardian deities.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

FULL MOON – Wednesday 19th January 2011

Here's another in the series of reflections by Ajahn Munindo.

FULL MOON – Wednesday 19th January 2011

Those who are contentious
have forgotten that we all die;
for the wise, who reflect on this fact,
there are no quarrels.

Dhammapada verse 6

In a moment of wakefulness we see the good fortune of our circumstance and how often we take it all for granted. If we lose our health, we long for it to return, promising to value it more in the future.

Should trust be damaged in a valued friendship, we resolve that if this is healed, never again will we allow it to fall into disregard.

Wisdom can arise from regular reflection on what we are likely to lose through heedlessness.

Monday, 17 January 2011

Protest Against Buddhist "Idol Worshipers"

Yad L'Achim, an "anti-missionary" organisation, has issued a warning against a new Buddhist centre which is set to open in Israel’s Arava region.

According to the warning, an agreement was recently signed by the Central Arava Regional Council and a non-profit organization by the name ‘Wisdom and Intelligence’ which allocates hundreds of acres in the Arava for the establishment of a ‘spiritual university’.

Yad L’Achim (which in Hebrew means "hand for brothers") says it has been approached by concerned local residents who asked the organization to take action to prevent the centre from opening. The organization subsequently looked into ‘Wisdom and Intelligence’ and found that its members are Buddhists. The project is headed by Lama Dvora Tzvieli (bit of a give away). The group says that the site is ideal for its retreats and meditations since it is large and desolate. It adds that it also hopes to take advantage of its proximity to Jordan to help bring peace.

Proselytising is legal in Israeli law by any religion, including Judaism, except in the case of minors.

According to Yad L'Achim an important part of Buddhism is devotion to the Buddha, and this includes bowing to images of the Buddha as well as to religious superiors, something which they consider idol worship, clearly prohibited in the Ten Commandments.

Leader of Yad L'Achim, Rabbi Lifshitz wrote: “Buddhism is idolatry in every sense of the word and there is no doubt that every step possible must be taken to stop the construction of this idolatry centre.”

p.s. They don't like Jews marrying Arabs either, no surprise there then.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Another Poem That I Like

Every now and then I come across a poem that I feel is relevant to post. This one is by William Blake, I leave the reader to find their own truth in what he says........

A Little Boy Lost

v'Nought loves another as itself,
Nor venerates another so,
Nor is it possible to thought
A greater than itself to know.

'And, father, how can I love you
Or any of my brothers more?
I love you like the little bird
That picks up crumbs around the door.'

The Priest sat by and heard the child;
In trembling zeal he seized his hair,
He led him by his little coat,
And all admired the priestly care.

And standing on the altar high,
'Lo, what a fiend is here! said he:
'One who sets reason up for judge
Of our most holy mystery.'

The weeping child could not be heard,
The weeping parents wept in vain:
They stripped him to his little shirt,
And bound him in an iron chain,

And burned him in a holy place
Where many had been burned before;
The weeping parents wept in vain.
Are such thing done on Albion's shore?

William Blake

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

The Tsoknyi Nangchen Nuns of Tibet

I recently came across this fascinating trailer for the video "The Tsoknyi Nangchen Nuns of Tibet".

The full length documentary can be obtained from Chariot Videos.

p.s. I have just been informed by Chariot Videos that this is available in Multi Regional format.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Mahasandhi Buddhist Group - Cowes

I recently received an email from Anna who runs the Mahasandhi Buddhist Group for Tibetan Buddhism here on the island informing me of the recent, annual update to their website a link to which can be found under our Favourite Sites list. When visiting the site you can find details for the group, which is based in Cowes, under the "Events" section.

Also, Anna asked me to point out that due to registration problems, their main website has a new address

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

NEW MOON - Tuesday 4th January 2011

Here's another reflection from Ajahn Munindo on the occasion of the new moon today.

Bale out the water from your boat;
having cut loose from the defiling passions of lust and hatred; unencumbered, sail on towards liberation.

Dhammapada verse 369

"Our heart grows lighter as we see how the unruly passions can be such a heavy burden. We may have been wondering, ‘what is it that keeps dragging me down?’ Recognising the connection between the thoughts we entertain and the state of our heart, a sense of urgency arises. We won’t want to think thoughts that could swamp us. When we know how to let go of that which creates obstructions the vessel upon which we sail towards freedom moves more swiftly."

With Metta,

Bhikkhu Munindo

Also today, cloudy conditions over much of the UK prevented people from seeing a partial solar eclipse at sunrise.

In clear conditions, the east and south coasts of England would have been the best place to see the Moon pass between the Sun and Earth just after 0800 GMT, so we would have been ideally placed here on the island.. C'est la vie.