Tuesday, 31 December 2013

NEW MOON – Tuesday 31st December 2013

One Word

A single word of truth,
which calms the mind,
is better to hear than a thousand 
irrelevant words. 

Dhammapada v. 100

Listening to many hours of Dhamma talks might be helpful, but the Buddha says even one word can be enough. What matters is whether that word truly touches our hearts. Does it ring true? Truth is what heals us, not words. Living in a world that is distracted by materialism, we often assume, the more the merrier. Yet one little cheque that happens to be written out for a million pounds is worth more than a large truck load of old newspapers. They are both paper. What is the difference? We already know we need to attend to quality, not just quantity. This Dhammapada verse encourages us to take our understanding deeper.

With Metta,
Bhikkhu Munindo

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

FULL MOON – Tuesday 17th December 2013

Beyond Control

Those who cease
setting up like against dislike,
who are cooled,
who are not swayed 
by worldly conditions - 
these I call great beings.

Dhammapada v. 418

Liking and disliking can happen so quickly, we feel we have no control over them. Somebody
says something pleasant and we find we like them. Another person says something hurtful and we dislike them. It might be true that we can't stop liking and disliking arising, but if we slow down a little, we might notice we do have a choice; whether or not to follow them – whether or not to make a ‘me’ out of them. When awareness is well established, liking and disliking can be seen as movement taking place in a larger reality. What is that reality?

With Metta,
Bhikkhu Munindo

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Buddhist Principles as Christmas Gifts

The following is taken from an excellent  article by Robert De Filippis on de-commercialising christmas and restoring the simple joy of living.

Buddhist principles as Christmas gifts to restore the joy of life to the Christmas season......................

The first principle is dependent origination, or we do not create ourselves. This is particularly difficult for the western mind, because individuality is a primary value in the West. But as I have written many times, individuality is an optical delusion of the ego.

The Buddha's awakening to the interconnected nature of life is foundational to the rest of his philosophy and can provide us much needed grounding in tempting times like these.

This awareness helps us to let go of grasping and craving, helps us not to reduce everything in the world to our own personal desires and fears, thereby justifying our acquisitive culture of consumption. Helps us deny our compulsion to waste the joy of the moment to acquire more and more of what we really don't need for the future. Helps stop our rushing headlong into the destruction of the web of life on this planet to exploit every ounce of our natural resources to produce trinkets and toys for our amusement. We can only do these things in the absence of awareness of how our lives are dependent on and interconnected to the rest of life on this planet.

Another principle is that we don't need to be "motivated by fear, attachment, hatred, jealousy, pride" because we are interconnected. We can celebrate the successes and mourn the losses of others. They are our successes and losses.

And the next principle is about action, "to bring into being a way in which you, as a member of this interconnectedness of life can think about, speak, act, work" to make it better for all: the real gift of Christmas.

Another useful teaching during the Christmas season is the "Buddha's emphasis on the cultivation of mindfulness regarding the specificity of experience. That's the aim of a kind of meditation. It is to be fully present to what is taking place right now." And what better reason than the realisation that NOW is where your life is happening: Not in regrets about the past or worries about the future.

Only by paying attention to the now of what Christmas has become do we see the suffering it causes by promising happiness, peace and satisfaction with the acquisition of material goods. We can find parallels in the commercialisation of Christmas, in how we allow the retail industry, our culture of acquisition and our society of conformance to tell us how to celebrate this holiday.

May you resist the temptations and have the intended joy of life contained in the Christmas mythology.

Robert De Filippis

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

New Dictionary of Buddhism Published

Thus read the first defined words in the new "The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism". Robert E. Buswell Jr., a distinguished professor of Buddhist studies in UCLA's College of Letters and Science, and Donald S. Lopez Jr., a distinguished university professor of Buddhist and Tibetan studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, have compiled the most comprehensive and authoritative dictionary of Buddhism ever produced in English.

More than a decade in the making, the dictionary also includes a chronicle of relevant
historical periods (empires, dynasties and kingdoms) and a timeline of Buddhism from the sixth century B.C. to the 21st century. Eight maps show both the Buddhist cosmological realms and the many Buddhist regions, marking the major cities, important monasteries, sacred places and pilgrimage routes spanning geographical sites in India, China, Japan, Korea and Tibet. The dictionary also includes an appendix of the many doctrinal lists that have proliferated in Buddhist materials, from the "one vehicle" to the one-hundred dharmas of the Yogacara school.

"We've gone back and asked, 'If you were looking at Chinese or Japanese or Tibetan Buddhism, what are the concepts, the places, the people, the texts that you should really know,'" said Lopez. "That was one of the questions we asked when deciding what terms to put in the dictionary. Even with more than a million words, there were still many things we could not include."

You can order your copy from Amazon for £27.87.

Friday, 6 December 2013

A Quote That I Like

The Ultimate Bliss

Blissful is solitude
for one who’s content,
who has heard the Dhamma,
who sees.
Blissful is non-affliction
with regard for the world,
restraint for living beings.
Blissful is dispassion
with regard for the world,
the overcoming of sensuality.
But the subduing of the conceit “I am”—
That is truly
the ultimate bliss.

The Buddha, Muccalinda Sutta, Ud 2.1.

Monday, 2 December 2013

NEW MOON – Monday 2nd December 2013

The Teacher

Disciples of the Buddha 
are fully awake 
dwelling both day and night 
in contemplation of the Awakened One.

Dhammapada v. 296

We can admire our Teacher, the Buddha, without abandoning who and what we are right now.
There are those who, when invited to dwell in contemplation of the spiritual master, betray themselves in their attempts to imitate another. The Buddha didn’t want us to ignore who we feel ourselves to be and pretend to be somebody else; rather he encouraged an open-hearted, clear-minded receptivity of ‘this’ person, here and now, including all of our limitations and obsessions. Taking on a new set of conditioned habits in an attempt to be free from suffering is not liberation, it is abdication. In practice we include all of ourselves in a vast field of awareness, free of discrimination and bias, and in so doing offer all of ourselves in service to Dhamma.

With Metta,
Bhikkhu Munindo

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Bible Fiction - Texas Text Book Ban

Here's a couple of stories from the States.........

Retailer Costco has apologised for labelling copies of the Bible “fiction” at a store near Los Angeles. A local pastor saw the bibles while looking for a gift for his wife.

Some tweeters vowed to boycott Costco, setting up the hashtag #BoycottCostco. Others said they saw nothing wrong with the label and applauded Costco’s labelling. In the end, Costco apologised and said it fixed the problem, which it said was an accident. (So what did they re-label it as?)

Meanwhile in Texas committees of volunteer reviewers — some nominated by creationists who are current and former Board of Education members — raised objections to some of the new text books that were to be used in the state's schools.  As a result there will be no new Biology textbooks, because they all cover the subject of Evolution................  (non-fiction)!