Monday, 28 February 2011

Warehouse for Cows Scheme Withdrawn

You may recall a post,"Warehouse for Cows in Lincolnshire" from just before Christmas. It was about the proposal to build an American style cow factory farm here in the U.K.

Thanks in no small measure to dedicated animal and environmental groups, along with many individuals, the mega dairy application for Nocton has been withdrawn. The proposed dairy factory farm in Lincolnshire would have been the first such endeavour in the UK.

Originally, the proposal called for 8,000 cows, but due to strong objections, a plan was resubmitted for close to 4,000. Modelled after U.S. factory farm methods, Nocton Dairies would have been a precedent-setting operation for England.

In the end, it was the environmental impact of tens of thousands of tons of waste products produced by the cows each year that was the main concern about giving approval. The huge amount of waste runoff would seep into ground water and pollute the area. Animal welfare concerns won this battle by default.

Just as a mother would protect with her life her own child, her only child,
so one should cultivate an unbounded mind towards all beings, and loving-kindness towards all the world.

Sutta Nipata

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Tick the Box for Buddhism

Yesterday I received a publicity pack for the "Tick the Box for Buddhism" campaign being run by NBO, the network of Buddhist organisations. The 2011 Census will take place on the 27th of March and will be asking the question "What is your religion?".

As the NBO say in their campaign material "Many thousands of British people support or live by the teachings of Buddhism in various ways: they may meditate, practise mindfulness, agree with the Buddhist approach to life - and still prefer to avoid labelling themselves Buddhist. This is very understandable."

It's important however for the Government to know the depth and scale of this commitment that people have made in their lives especially as there are rumours of this being the last ever national census. If they know how many of us there are our voice will carry more weight.

Personally I do not call Buddhism a "religion", but I will still be ticking the box. This is a story we will be coming back to.............

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

New Study Tool

I've just come across the excellent site, Dharma Study, "finding our way through the Buddha’s words". I have put a permanent link to it on our Dharma Studies Page under STUDY TOOLS (left hand column).

Each week, they post and discuss one discourse from the Pali Canon, the oldest and most probably authentic collection of the Buddha’s teachings.

The sites' author is Richard Blumberg.

Monday, 21 February 2011

The "Revolution" That Didn't Happen

Chinese authorities have been clamping down on activists after a call for Chinas own "Jasmine" revolution starting with protests yesterday, Sunday after the manner of those in North Africa. To see the possibility of this happening in a country where Buddhism remains the most popular single religion shows that the recent uprisings are about freedom not, as some in the West fear, "religion". The actual call may have been a "hoax", the reaction of the authorities most certainly wasn't.

The Associated Press reports:

Jittery Chinese authorities staged a show of force to squelch a mysterious online call for a "Jasmine Revolution," with hundreds of onlookers but only a handful of people actively joining protests inspired by pro-democracy demonstrations sweeping the Middle East.

The source of the call was not known, but authorities moved to halt its spread online, and police detained at least 14 people, by one activist's count. Searches for the word "jasmine" were blocked Saturday on China's largest Twitter-like microblog, and the website where the request first appeared said it was hit by an attack.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Shooting hoax at Buddhist Temple in Isle of Wight

This story rather caught my eye! It's not from here on the actual island but from our namesake, Isle of Wight county in Virginia, U.S.A.

The story comes courtesy of WTKR NewsChannel 3.


Maybe it's just me but Marie Coronel, the reporter in the video, kept reminding me of Tricia Takanawa, the "Asian reporter" from Family Guy.

We featured Wat Pasantidhamma, the temple mentioned in the report, in a previous post way back in November 2007.

Friday, 18 February 2011

FULL MOON – Friday 18th February 2011 - Magha Puja

Just as a herdsman
drives cattle to pasture,
old age and death
drive living beings.

Dhammapada verse 135

The Buddha never said anything with the intention of making us feel depressed. So what is the point of this verse on the inevitability of getting old and dying? The point is reality, Dhamma. As long as we deny reality, our efforts feed habits of delusion - our hearts are sapped of vitality. Since the day we were born we have been moving towards death. Contrary to what we might expect, when we open our hearts and minds to this truth of the way it is, we don’t become depressed, instead we are freed from having to lie to ourselves. We already know what we have ahead of us and it takes energy to maintain denial of it. The Buddha taught that behind the veils of delusion is the deathless. To know this is to no longer be driven.

With Metta,

Ajahn Munindo

Thursday, 17 February 2011

We're All in this Together? - a Buddhist Perspective

Keeping it topical, here's a talk on Buddhist economics by Kavyasiddhi. The banks have started
to announce their bonuses for the year, Barclay's stated that their total bonus pool has decreased - in consideration to Project Merlin, the bank said - by seven per cent to £3.4bn

However, because of the inclusion of bonuses which had been deferred from previous years, total performance-related pay increased by 25 per cent to £3.5bn. On top of this basic pay has increased for investment Bankers. Average pay per employee at Barclays Capital, the investment banking arm of Barclays, rose to £236000 even as the bank insisted it had cut its bonus pool in line with the Project Merlin deal.

So Kavyasiddhi's talk, "All in this together - is it time for a Buddhist economics?" is relevant and timely. (Kavyasiddhi is a member of the Manchester branch of Triratna formerly known as the FWBO , you may remember her singing the Heart Sutra on our Video Page)


Take small account of might, wealth and fame, for they soon pass and are forgotten. Instead, nurture love within you and and strive to be a friend to all. Truly, compassion is a balm for many wounds.

Dhammavadaka Sutra

Monday, 14 February 2011

Judaism Believes in Reincarnation

Now here's something different.......

There's a weekly Q&A slot on Virtual Jerusalem with Rabbi Rav Parry, a couple of weeks ago "Jeff" asked....

I was surprised to hear that Judaism believes in reincarnation. I was told that in Jewish thought, reincarnation only happens under certain conditions. Is that true? If it is, what are these conditions and is there Biblical support of this?

Rav replied,

The concept of reincarnation most likely predates the receiving of our Torah at Mt.Sinai 3300 years ago. Curiously there is no direct mention of reincarnation in the Torah. Nonetheless, the fact that the Zohar (attributed to the teachings of 2nd Century Mishnaic scholar Rabbi Shimon bar Yohai) mentions reincarnation explicitly (as we will see later), it falls within the pale of Torah Judaism, according to many authorities. Whether or not other cultures developed an independent tradition concerning reincarnation or it was disseminated to them by early Biblical figures, probably makes little difference. However, a brief explanation of the concept, which forms the center-piece of two major world religions, is worth mentioning to get a better grasp of the Jewish concept.

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Karmapa Cleared

The Press Trust of India news agency reported that on Friday Indian authorities cleared Ugyen Thinley Dorje, the 17th Karmapa, Tibetan Buddhism's third most important leader, in a probe into $1.35 million in cash discovered last month at his headquarters in northern India.

Rajwant Sandhu, the top civil servant in Himachal Pradesh state, said the money found during a raid on the Karmapa's monastery had been donated by his followers just as was stated at the time by the Karmapa's office.

Last week, state police probing the case said the Karmapa's followers violated Indian tax and foreign currency laws in collecting the donations. Also the Karmapa Office of Administration has had to adamantly deny Indian media reports that the Buddhist leader might be a Chinese agent sent to India to control exiled Tibetan Buddhists who have made their home there.

This does all reek of a campaign to discredit his Holiness, couldn't have anything to do with the ongoing dispute over the proposed land purchase by Tibetan exiles in the region, could it?

SEE ALSO......

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Ringu Tulku Teaching in Southampton

I was emailed recently by Anna of the Mahasandhi Buddhist group in Cowes saying that Ringu Tulku is teaching in Southampton on 30 April & in Bosham near Chichester on May 1st & 2nd. Anna goes on to say that the Mahasandhi group have attended these teachings for the last 2 years and that Rinpoche teaches very kindly & clearly which is good for us westerners! So they're going again this year, they wouldn't miss it.

Details are on the Bodhicharya website.

Ringu Tulku Rinpoche is a Tibetan Buddhist Master of the Kagyu Order. He was trained in all schools of Tibetan Buddhism under many great masters including HH the 16th Gyalwang Karmapa and HH Dilgo Khentse Rinpoche. He took his formal education at Namgyal Institute of Tibetology, Sikkim and Sampurnananda Sanskrit University, Varanasi, India and has served as Tibetan Textbook Writer and Professor of Tibetan Studies in Sikkim for 25 years. Since 1990 he has been travelling and teaching Buddhism and Meditation at Universities, Institutes and Buddhist Centers in Europe, USA, Canada, Australia and Asia. He also participates in various interfaith and Science and Buddhist dialogues. He authored several books (see publications section) on Buddhism as well as some children’s books both in Tibetan and European languages.

Monday, 7 February 2011

Chinese Lion Dances in Freshwater

Our local branch of Hong Kong Express in Freshwater celebrated the Chinese new year yesterday with a Lion Dance. The lion dance is believed to bring good luck and fortune to the business. A good crowd gathered in the village and the restaurant to witness the dance despite the cold.

This year is the year of the rabbit. Traditionally people born in the Year of the Rabbit are articulate, talented, and ambitious. They are virtuous, reserved, and have excellent taste. Rabbit people are admired, trusted, and are often financially lucky. They are fond of gossip but are tactful and generally kind. Rabbit people seldom lose their temper. They are clever at business and being conscientious, never back out of a contract. They would make good gamblers for they have the uncanny gift of choosing the right thing. However, they seldom gamble, as they are conservative and wise. They are most compatible with those born in the years of the Sheep, Pig, and Dog.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

NEW MOON with Ajahn Munindo

NEW MOON - Thursday 3rd February 2011

Those who speak much
are not necessarily possessed of wisdom.
The wise can be seen to be at peace with life and free from all enmity and fear.

Dhammapada verse 258

The Buddha often spoke about 'the wise' and the benefits of associating with the wise. But how can we be sure someone is wise? One way is to observe how free they are from ill-will. And we can know that by listening to them with our hearts. The same is true for fear.
Does this person generate peace or contention? If we listen only with our heads we might be over impressed by clever speech. But if we let go of trying to know for sure and quietly trust in mindful attention, our own inner wisdom can guide us.