Monday, 29 June 2015

Aldershot Anti Dalai Lama Protest

I was literally just about to put finger to keyboard to write a short piece on the Dalai Lama's "gig" at Glastonbury when I watched BBC South Today at lunchtime and saw the footage of the protesters at his Holiness's visit to Aldershot.

The group protesting is in fact the International Shugden Community. This is where it gets complicated, and I do mean complicated which is possibly why the Beeb made absolutely NO attempt to explain what the protests were actually about.

In brief, the protesters are part of a fringe group that first emerged from the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism in the 17th century. Gelugpa is the school to which the Dalai Lama belongs.

The original group was part of a faction challenging the 5th Dalai Lama's legitimacy and authority. Among other things, they objected to the 5th Dalai Lama's adopting practices of another school, called Nyingmapa, and they wanted to establish Gelugpa as the only legitimate school of Tibetan Buddhism (there are at least five others).

Today's protesters are distinguished by their devotion to Dorje Shugden, an iconic deity whom they call
enlightened, an emanation of Manjusri Bodhisattva, and even a buddha. However, Dorje Shugden originally was a low-level tantric deity associated with the Sakya school. Until relatively recently, even within the Gelug school he was considered a "worldly" or unenlightened figure charged with the protection of Gelugpa.

(I have quoted the above from an excellent  article by Barbara O'Brien, read the rest HERE.)

“The protesters are from an extremist religious group that is aligned with the political agenda of the Chinese government in Tibet to undermine the Dalai Lama and enforce allegiance to the Chinese Communist party,” said Kate Saunders, the communications director of the International Campaign for Tibet.

Incidently, I was watching the South Today program as it featured an item on the reinstatement of the coast footpath from Totland to Colwell here in the West Wight. The sea wall and its promenade were severely damaged during a landslip in December 2012 leading to a local campaign for repairs.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

International Conference on Buddhist Women Starts Today

The 14th Sakyadhita International Conference on Buddhist Women starts today in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, running until June 30. Its theme will be “Compassion and Social Justice.”

The organization was founded in 1987 in Bodhgaya, India. Sakyadhita is an alliance of women and men founded at the conclusion of the first International Conference on Buddhist Women, held in Bodh Gaya, where the 14th Dalai Lama was the keynote speaker. The term Sakyadhita means "daughters of the Buddha" and was first used at the conference. The initiative for creating the organization came from Ayya Khema, Karma Lekshe Tsomo, Dr. Chatsumarn Kabilsingh (now Dhammananda Bhikkhuni) and Carola Roloff (now Bhikṣuni Jampa Tsedroen). Currently, Sakyadhita has almost 2000 members in 45 countries around the world. National branches of Sakyadhita have been established in Canada, France, Germany, Korea, Nepal, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, and the United States. New branches are currently being formed in Indonesia, Malaysia, Mongolia, Russia, Spain, and Vietnam.

The conferences are held every two years. This year there will be Scheduled dharma talks by

Ajahn Brahm on “Buddhism with Compassion, Buddhism with Justice” on June the 24

Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo on “The Six Paramitas” on June the 26

and Venerable Thubten Chodron on “Open Heart, Clear Mind" on June the 28.

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

This is Wrong - Please Tell Them................

I make no apologies for this item or the images it contains, please, please sign the attached petitions.

This coming Monday it is the annual Yulin dog-eating festival in China.

Yes, that's right DOG EATING FESTIVAL. Up to 10,000 dogs and 10,000 cats are estimated to be killed each year during the barbarous event. The festival, which takes place in Guangxi province is not actually traditional but was invented five years ago by dog meat traders to boost business.

In preparation for the festival, the Humane Society International has filmed thousands of animals, many of them pets still wearing collars, being seized from the streets.

The society is asking supporters to sign its petition to China’s Guangxi Party Secretary Peng Qinghua.

The society claims up to 10million dogs a year are slaughtered in China to fuel the appetite for their flesh, although it insists many Chinese oppose the barbaric practice.

The authorities in Yulin have officially banned the festival after bad publicity but it is still going on. They introduced tactics such as stopping dog meat trucks entering the area and removing the words 'dog meat' from restaurant menus.

But despite the tough clamp down, many in the city still have an appetite for canine food, which is a lucrative industry. Chinese myths claim eating evil dog meat can rid the body of evil spirits and can provide a boost to sexual performance.

There is also the Care2 petition you can also sign.

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

NEW MOON - Truly Independent

Those who remain friendly amid the hostile,
at peace among the aggressive,
and who do not attach themselves
to that upon which others depend
are great beings.

Dhammapada v. 406

We might think of independence as not having to depend on others. But we all rely on others at various stages of life: in early life it is our parents, later on it is our teachers, then at some point it is bound to be skilled medical practitioners. And we are probably also familiar with other aspects of Dhamma teachings on interdependence. The Buddha identified true independence as a heart that has been cultivated to the point where it is no longer intimidated by external conditions. Training in this true independence involves being mindful or how, where and when we get caught up in conditions, and then reflect on the consequences.

Thursday, 11 June 2015

NOT That Old Joke..............

I know there are a number of "Buddhist" cartoons out there but this one just got me......

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Monkey Translator Dies

Some of you may remember the 1970's BBC series "Monkey", the story of how the Monkey king and his friends Pigsy and Sandy accompany the monk Tripitaka on his pilgrimage to find the ancient Buddhist scrolls that will establish peace throughout the world.

The saga, a Japanese television series dubbed into English, was based on the 16th Century Chinese novel by Wu ch'eng-en, “The Journey to the West.”. An unabridged, four-volume, 1,873-page English version of the monk’s mythological narrative was produced by Professor Anthony C. Yu who spent over fifteen years translating the work which is considered to be one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature. 

Sadly Professor Yu died last month aged 76.

Monday, 1 June 2015

FULL MOON - Honesty

This body wears out with age;
it becomes a host to disease
 - vulnerable, fragile,
a decrepit, disintegrating mass,
which eventually ends in death.

Dhammapada v. 148

Honesty is at the heart of all true spiritual practice. You might find the unsubtle honesty of this Dhammapada verse feels a bit blunt, but that doesn't mean to say it is unsuitable. What is unsuitable is wasting our life away with propped-up deluded stories about an imagined reality. If we can learn to wisely and compassionately accept real reality, then the energy which was previously consumed by compulsive story-telling, becomes available for living in daring, open, awareness. Some of the most energy-extravagant stories are those believed by the masses. Hence the Buddha's admonition to not heedlessly go along with views just because they are popular.

The Biggest Buddha Statue in Europe

Following a recent €1m facelift the Grande Pagode by the Lac Daumesnil in the Bois de Vincennes has re-opened. The building, hidden in a wood on the outskirts of Paris is an African pavilion-turned-pagoda and houses the largest Buddha in Europe.

Originally built in 1931 as the Cameroon pavilion for the international colonial exhibition it was constructed to resemble a traditional African home – but three times the size. The site was then acquired by France’s International Buddhist Institute and transformed into the Grande Pagode, home to the 10-metre-high (33ft) golden buddha statue, which was created in six parts in Spanish artist Joan Miró’s atelier and reassembled in situ.