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.