Saturday, 13 February 2016

Today marks the 250th anniversary of the birth of Thomas Malthus. Malthus was the father of
Malthusianism, which contends that the Earth cannot support unchecked population growth.

250 years ago, the world population consisted of about 800 million inhabitants, and from that moment, it has progressively increased, until the mid-nineteen fifties in a continued, steady way, but since that date, it has been increasing exponentially. Thus, the world population has, since 1950, virtually trebled from 2,519 million to 7,401 million today.

The Buddhist views on procreation and marriage are liberal. Marriage is regarded entirely as a personal and individual concern and not as a religious duty. It is not laid down anywhere that Buddhists must produce children or regulate the number of children they produce.

Although Buddhism does not direct people to give birth, or suggest how many children they have, if any. Buddhist leaders are acutely aware of issues related to overpopulation. The Dalai Lama stated, back in 2008 that if the population grows beyond 6 billion, this will cause great difficulty - (the world population is now approaching 7.5 billion). Therefore, he says, family planning is necessary. In an attempt at humor regarding such a serious subject, he quips that if more people become nuns and monks (therefore practice celibacy) this will help control population growth.

Thich Nhat Hanh, teacher, author of books about contemporary Buddhism, and Nobel Peace Prize nominee, stated in his U.N. World Conference speech, “For a Future to be Possible”:

“Our world is becoming smaller, and even more interdependent with the rapid growth in population . . . It is important to reassess the responsibilities of individuals in relation to each other and to the planet as a whole...

We are finding that the world is becoming one community. We are being drawn together by the problems of overpopulation, dwindling natural resources, and an environmental crisis that threatens the very foundation of our existence on this planet.”

Malthus himself stated that population tends to increase at a faster rate than its means of subsistence and that unless it is checked by moral restraint or by disease, famine, war, or other disaster widespread poverty and degradation inevitably result.

Monday, 8 February 2016

New Moon - Changlessness

Awakened Ones do not cause harm. 
They are rightly restrained 
and they move to changelessness 
where they grieve no more. 

Dhammapada 225

There is a lot that could and should be done to address prejudice and tyranny in the world. Our Dhamma practice is lacking when we chose to ignore opportunities where we could help. But our Dhamma practice is also lacking if we chose to focus only on the outer tyrants. Certainly, the Buddha wanted us to train body, speech and mind to not cause suffering for others. More than that though, he wanted us to realize the changeless reality in which suffering simply does not exist. Awakened beings who know this reality, which is free from all clinging, are not capable of intentionally causing harm to any being, oneself or others....

Saturday, 30 January 2016

Bowie's Buddhist Funeral

Following David Bowie’s wishes, he had no formal funeral. Instead, his close family scattered his ashes following a Buddhist ceremony on the Indonesian island of Bali.

The singer was secretly cremated without any of his family or friends present, he told them he wanted to "go without any fuss" and not have a funeral service or public memorial.

Thursday, 28 January 2016

A Poem that I Like

"Hearing the Gibbons Call in Pa Gorge" by Wen Chao translated by Paul Hansen

As I lean
On my oar, gazing
At the cloud-line, purity
Emerges, deep and lonely,
From the Gorge.

When the mind
Doesn't have anything
On it, there's no sorrow
Inherent in repeated calls. They bear
The dew where every peak is distant,
Dangle in space where a slice
Of Moon shines

Hears it like this
Can finish a poem
By dawn.

Sunday, 24 January 2016

FULL MOON - Equanimity

There never was,
nor is there now,
nor will there ever be
anybody who is only blamed
or wholly praised.

Dhammapada 228

To receive unjustified criticism can be difficult. Feelings of indignation might arise and perhaps we think, 'I don't deserve this'. But what happens when we receive unjustified praise; are we equally quick to ask ourselves whether we truly deserve it? The reality is, throughout all time, everyone is praised and blamed, sometimes it's deserved, sometimes not. Thinking, 'this shouldn't happen to me', is like thinking 'I shouldn't have to feel the wind blow'. The wise response when we receive praise and blame, is to restrain the storyteller in our heads, come back into the body, exercise our best quality awareness, and simply feel how it feels; adding nothing to it and taking nothing away. Attempting to set up life in order that our preferences are always met, is to hide from reality. The Buddha's way is to receive reality.

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

More from The Travelling Buddhists

The travelling Buddhists are off again; John and Nicole from the Newport Zen group have taken their trusty tandem off to Thailand and are beaming back lots of pictures..........

The view from their guesthouse.

A Buddha shrine flanked by two guarding bright cockerels. Apparently when King Nasueran was taken hostage by the Burmese, his invincible cockerels (he loved cock fighting as a little boy) secured his reputation (?)..

War Phra Ram

If you would like to see some more of John and Nicole's photos visit their website at

Friday, 15 January 2016

Lama Chime Rinpoche's Tribute and Prayers for David Bowie

Young David Jones was 13 when he developed an interest in Buddhism after reading “The Rampa Story” by T. Lobsang Rampa. Over the next four years, his interest in Buddhism and Tibet grew until he was visiting the Tibet House in London up to four times a week.

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Fear of Emigrants

There really is nothing new under the sun. The news is full of stories of the New Year outrages around the main railway station in Cologne by middle Eastern gangs and now Swedish police face allegations of a cover up over mass sex assaults at the We Are Sthlm festival in both 2014 and 2015 by a gang of youths — reportedly mostly from Afghanistan.

In the years after the American war of independence there was a great fear of being overrun by mass European emigration.

"Federalists mistrusted foreigners in general and immigrants in particular, especially of the poor and non-English variety. Alarmed by the numbers of Germans, French, and Irish pouring each year into their cities and towns, Federalist politicians had proposed a ban on anyone born outside the United States holding government office, along with a twenty-dollar naturalization fee for immigrants -- no small amount at a time when an American farmhand might get by on six to twelve dollars a month (remind you of something the Danes are proposing to do?).

"In July 1797, Congressman Harrison Gray Otis of Massachusetts sounded the alarm on immigration in what became known as the 'Wild Irish' speech, warning that while he had nothing against 'honest and industrious' immigrants, the country could not afford to 'invite hordes of wild Irishmen': 'The mass of vicious and disorganizing characters who could not live peaceably at home, and who, after unfurling the standard of rebellion in their own countries, might come hither to revolutionize ours.' "