Monday, 25 February 2013

FULL MOON - Monday 25th February 2013

It is not easy to be born as a human being and to live this mortal life.
It is not easy to have the opportunity to hear Dhamma and rare for a Buddha to arise.

Dhp. v. 182

In terms of here and now, we are born as human beings whenever we have mindfulness and integrity. Because of our tendencies to compromise Dhamma principles, this task does become difficult. Following preferences is much easier. However, to merely follow liking and disliking is not to live as we could be living. We could be reflecting on cause and effect: what happened last time I allowed myself to become lost in experience. The reason it is hard to hear Dhamma is because having followed liking and disliking for so long, we have created obstructions. We are fortunate these days to have ready access to Dhamma. In the Buddha’s time, when his disciples heard him speak, some were enlightened there and then, by listening to Dhamma. Why can’t we listen in the same way, get the message and drop the burden? If we did that, the 'Buddha' would appear here and now.

With Metta,
Bhikkhu Munindo

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Buddha Statues Banned

Authorities are confiscating Buddha statues from shops in the Iranian capital, Tehran, to stop the promotion of Buddhism in the country, according to a report on Sunday in the independent Arman daily.

In the past Iran has banned such things as Barbie toys and characters from "The Simpsons" TV cartoon, to isolate the country from Western influence, but this appears to be the first time that Iranian authorities are showing an opposition to symbols from the East.

The newspaper quoted Saeed Jaberi Ansari, an official for the protection of Iran's cultural heritage, as calling the Buddha statues symbols of "cultural invasion." He said authorities will not permit a specific belief to be promoted through such items. Ansari did not say how many Buddhas had been seized, but that the "cleansing" would continue.

Under the constitution, Christian and Jewish beliefs as well as Zoroastrianism are recognized beside Islam, the official religion of the country. The law, however, says that, in general, the rights of all non-Muslims should be observed.

Some Islamists do not support production of any statue, since they view it as a way to promote idols.
In 2010, several statues depicted prominent Iranians, disappeared from Tehran city's streets and squares. Their disappearance was blamed on an unnamed group with a strict interpretation of Islam that bans the depiction of the human form in art.

Monday, 11 February 2013

The Philosophy of the Mind, the Dalai Lama

In this special edition of BBC Radio 4's "Something Understood" program , Tibet's exiled Buddhist leader, the Dalai Lama, considers what we now know about the nature of the mind and how an understanding of the mind is important in everyday life.

He quotes from the teachings of Buddha and the work of the 11th century poet Milarepa, as well as the words of a Tibetan Prayer by Nagarjuna.

The quest for peace of mind is one of the great challenges of our day. Many of us find it easier to achieve than others, but what do the teachings of those cultures who try to embrace the mind's power have to say about our modern dilemma?

John McCarthy applies the Dalai Lama's thoughts to the western experience with additional readings from the American philosopher Daniel Dennett and the work of the ground-breaking neuroscientist V.S. Ramachandran.

The programme is only available for the next 7 days.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

NEW MOON - Sunday 10th February 2013

Mistaking the false for the real
and the real for the false,
one suffers a life of falsity.
But seeing the false as the false
and the real as the real,
one lives in the perfectly real.

DHP. v. 11-12

In our heart of hearts we long for completion, for the ‘perfectly real’. Walking the Buddha’s path towards such perfection means we stop ignoring the consequences of our imperfections. As long as we live in an image of ourselves we are unreal. As long as we resist reality we are unreal. At an early stage of practice ideas about how we should be, do have a function. But quite quickly we need to let go of these ideas and feel what it feels like to be ‘me’. Maybe it feels imperfect, unreal. That’s good to see. It is! Try asking, what or who is it that is aware of such feelings?

With Metta,
Bhikkhu Munindo

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Which is the Largest Buddha?

I recently came across a piece on the "laser" Buddha image on Khao Chee Chan or Buddha Mountain in Thailand. Some sources claim the image was actually etched by laser but it seems it was projected by laser onto the mountain for the workers to carve.

The image is claimed to be the largest in the World but is variously quoted as being 130 or 109 metres high.

This got me thinking as to what is the largest Buddha image in the world, I know of the planned statue of Maitreya Buddha, to be constructed in Uttar Pradesh, India which on completion will be 152 metres high but what about those already built?

Well the honour goes to the Spring Temple Buddha in Henan, China at 128 metres. It is named after the nearby Tianrui hot spring and was built in response to the Taliban's destruction of the Bamyan Buddhas, an act the Chinese government condemned. Now you might think that still leaves it 2 metres shorter than the top height given for the Khao Chee Chan Buddha but part of the Chinese statue is a 20 m high lotus throne and it also stands on a 25 m high building, raising its height to 153 metres if taken into account. This means that the Chinese Buddha is one metre higher than the proposed Indian Buddha!

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Note - Pr. Brian Cox - A Night with the Stars

The full length version of Pr. Brian Cox's brilliant program "A Night with the Stars", where he manages to explain virtually every significant theory in the field of physics in the space of one hour has been reinstated and can be seen HERE on our video page.

Friday, 1 February 2013

Robert Thurman on Tibetan Self-immolation

A statement by Robert Thurman on the Tibetan self-immolation protests.

Robert Thurman is the President of Tibet House US, and the Je Tsongkhapa Professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies at Columbia University (he's also Uma's dad).

Also see Commentary: A Cry for Freedom