Friday, 30 September 2011


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


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


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

It is a time to meditate and study the

It is a time to honour women and their spiritual

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


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!
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