Friday, 28 December 2012

FULL MOON - Friday 28th December 2012

As an elephant
resolutely drags itself from a swamp,
uplift yourself with the inspiration
of cultivated attention.

Dhp. v. 327

The energy of inspiration can be generated by wise reflection. With the right kind of effort, insurmountable situations can be managed; the unendurable can be endured. Inspiration has the power to transform our lives and our world. When wise reflection shows us that heedfulness helps and heedlessness hinders, our hearts respond by inclining towards the wholesome. Balanced awareness rightly reveals the extent of the task we have ahead of us; with our inner world obstructed by ignorance and our outer world fraught with injustice.

But the important question is how do we meet these tasks? It is not more force that is needed, but careful consideration of cause and effect. If clear seeing and kindness were to motivate us, the swamp of heedless habits would appear less daunting. Cultivated attention shows us what works and confidence naturally follows.

With Metta,
Bhikkhu Munindo

Thursday, 20 December 2012

End of the World, again

Well it's time yet again to post my last post. As you all, presumably, know by now, it's the end of the World tomorrow.

Yes December the 21st 2012 is the end of the Mayan calendar and therefore everything else. But how did it all start, it's all to do with the ending of the 13th Baktun and something to do with the "Holy Lord", now where have I heard that before?

Panic buying of candles and essentials has been reported in China and Russia, along with an explosion in sales of survival shelters in America (makes you wonder what part of END they don't get). In France believers were preparing to converge on a mountain where they believe aliens will rescue them.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

NEW MOON - Thursday 13th December 2012

A master is one who has let go
of all craving and clinging to the world;
who has seen the truth beyond forms,
yet is possessed of a profound knowledge of words.
Such a great being can be said to have finished the task.

Dhammapada v. 352

Letting go is not something we do, it is something which happens when we see how what we do causes suffering. So long as we are caught in trying to let go, the me which is trying creates imbalance. But to not-try isn’t correct either. What can we do to fulfil the great task of finding freedom? What does it mean to make right effort? One aspect of right effort is examining the kind of effort we are already making. We enquire: is what we do a form of self-seeking, or does it come from a deeper, quieter place; a simple interest in what is true? We know we want to be free from suffering, but does the way in which we want actually help? Even wanting to be free can create obstructions if we cling to it. Our aspiration to see ‘the truth beyond forms’ can support right effort, if we slow down, remember kindness, and look into how we are receiving our present experience.

With Metta,
Bhikkhu Munindo

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Meditation Effective Against Colds & Flu

New research published in the “Annals of Family Medicine,” has proved that Buddhist meditation is effective at preventing winter ailments such as colds and influenza.

The study divided 149 people into three groups: One performed mindful meditation, another group jogged regularly for eight weeks, while the third group did nothing.

The researchers then followed the health of the volunteers through the winter from September to May, although they didn’t check whether or not people carried on exercising or meditating after the eight-week period.

The participants were observed for cold and flu symptoms such as a runny nose, stuffiness, sneezing, and sore throat. Nasal wash samples were collected and analyzed three days after the symptoms began.

The study, found that meditators missed 76% fewer days of work from September through to May than those who did nothing. Those who had exercised missed 48 per cent fewer days during this period.

In addition, meditation can reduce the duration or severity of acute respiratory infections by up to 50%, and exercise by up to 40%.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Salafist Leader Calls for the Destruction of the Pyramids and the Sphinx

Murgan Salem al-Gohary, a leader of Egypt’s ultra-conservative Salafist party, recently called on Muslims to destroy the Giza pyramids and the Sphinx as a religiously mandated act of iconoclasm. "The idols and statutes that fill Egypt must be destroyed. Muslims are tasked with applying the teachings of Islam and removing these idols, just like we did in Afghanistan when we smashed the Buddha statues," said Gohary, who claims to have participated in the destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas in Afghanistan in 2001.

According to Ian Straughn, even while Egyptians are very much aware of “the role that these ruins play in the economy and various state efforts to represent Egypt as a modern-day heir to one of the world’s great civilizations,” there is “a palpable discomfort with this promotion and glorification of a pre-Islamic past.”

(Ian Straughn is a postdoctoral fellow in Islamic archaeology at the Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World and the Department of Egyptology and Ancient Western Asian Studies at Brown University.)

Sunday, 2 December 2012

International Network of Engaged Buddhists Issues Statement on Violence in Burma’s Rakhine State

At its Executive and Advisory Board meeting this month, the International Network of Engaged Buddhists ratified a statement condemning ongoing violence between Buddhists and Muslims in Burma’s Rakhine state, and calling for the Burmese government and religious leaders to work toward a resolution.

“We hope that it expresses the concerns of Buddhists around the world who are witness to the communal conflict and violence in Myanmar’s western Rakhine state,” said Hozan Alan Senauke. “Clearly this conflict must be resolved by the Burmese peoples themselves, but this statement affirms that INEB and Buddhists everywhere care about the well-being of Burma’s emerging democracy and of all its peoples. We send our encouragement and faith in the Buddha’s great way.”

Conflict in Myanmar’s Rakhine State: A Statement from the International Network of Engaged Buddhists

Since June 2012, violence between communities of Rohingyas and Rakhines in Rakhine State has resulted in hundreds of dead and wounded, thousands of homes and shops razed, and more than 75,000 displaced and impoverished.

The roots of this conflict are hard to untangle. They go back at least decades to the period of British colonial occupation. But current hostility also speaks to a scarcity of land and economic resources that manifests as communal hostility. Undoubtedly there has been violence and provocation on both sides. We commit ourselves to open-minded investigation of the past and present sources of this violence.

Although some Rohingyas have lived in Myanmar for generations, if not for several hundred years, the former military regime’s 1982 law excluded them from among the nation’s many recognized ethnicities, denying the Rohingyas citizenship and basic rights. As they are driven from their homes, neighboring Bangladesh prohibits the entry of them as refugees, and also denies citizenship to Rohingyas presently living within its own borders. It is not surprising that the United Nations views the Rohingyas as “one of the world’s most persecuted minorities.”

We feel for the families of all sides of this conflict, and have compassion for the people of Myanmar who are suffering and trying their best to resolve this issue.

We call for the government of Myanmar, and the leaders of the Buddhist Sangha and other religious leaders, to play an active and nonviolent role in resolving the conflict in Rakhine state. Central to this is to grant humanitarian assistance and work towards tolerance and respect for all of Myanmar’s diverse inhabitants. We also call on Buddhist monks across Myanmar to set aside fear and the delusive religious discrimination; to honor the Buddha’s role and example by being peacemakers for all people. May all beings — Buddhist, Muslim, Eastern, Western — and all peoples of Myanmar recall the Buddha’s vital message:

Hatred is never appeased by hatred in this world; by non-hatred only is hatred appeased. This is an unending truth. — Dhammapada, 5

Adopted and ratified at the annual INEB Executive and Advisory Board Meeting, November 8-9, 2012 at the Kodo Kyodan Buddhist Fellowship in Yokohama, Japan.