Thursday, 21 March 2019

World Poetry Day

When I was looking for a suitable "Buddhist Poem" to post for today's World Poetry Day Google reminded me of the sad death last October of Sangharakshita, the founder of the FWBO now known as Triratna. A Triratna member, Munisha, posted this poem, "In deep gratitude to my teacher who has given me so much, my favourite of his poems".



INVOCATION

Field-freshening rain,
White night-rain lingering on in drizzles till the dawn,
Pools of bright silver making, birthing streams
In dry clay river-beds, pour down, O rain, 
All day, all night, pour down pour down, O rain, 
Pour down… 

World-welfaring Compassion, 
Void-born Compassion diamond-hard and petal-tender, 
Peace to wild heartwaves bringing, birthing love 
On the low couch of self, pour down, Compassion, 
All day, all night, pour down pour down, Compassion, 
Pour down – 
Pour down like rain on this compassionless 
Lost world… 

Pour down, pour down, pour down… 

From Sangharakshita’s Complete Poems

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

FULL MOON - One With the Unmade

For many lives I have wandered
looking for, but not finding,
the house-builder who caused my suffering.
But now you are seen
and you shall build no more.
Your rafters are dislodged
and the ridge-pole is broken. 
All craving is ended; 
my heart is as one with the unmade.

Dhammapada v.153-4

Craving (the house-builder) causes attachments to views and opinions (the houses), and we then feel obliged to spend a great deal of energy on maintenance. Attaching to views and opinions might provide a relative sense of identity; however, such an approach to seeking security is energy-extravagant and ultimately unreliable. The Buddha’s advice is instead to invest our energy in finding a truly secure abiding, a dependable sense of identity, that is, in awareness itself: silent, selfless, spacious, just-knowing awareness. This is ‘the unmade’ to which the Buddha referred. Trusting in this possibility still takes energy, but the effort doesn’t have to deplete us. Such a trusting disposition, in fact, generates energy, lessening the impulse to promote ‘me’ and ‘my way’, which means we have attention available to listen to others.

Saturday, 2 March 2019

Changes on Site

If you've visited our News Section recently you may have noticed that it is somewhat smaller in content. Several of our feeds were hosted by the feed reader "Topix" which is now concentrating on community forums and no longer supports the content we were posting.


Also, the Buddhist Channel news section is no longer running and the feed from that site has ceased.

Don't worry, there is still plenty to read with news from Barbara O'Brien, the Guardian, New York Times, Lion's Roar, Wildmind and Google News.

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

FULL MOON - Addicted to Distraction - MAGHA PUJA

Like a fish which on being dragged
from its home in the water
and tossed on dry land
will thrash about,
so will the heart tremble
when withdrawing
from the current of Mara.

Dhammapada v.34

When we find life agreeable we tend to think ‘this is the way things should always be’. Of course part of us knows life can't always be agreeable, however habits of unawareness cause us to forget. When we forget, we believe in assumptions about how things should be and lose perspective on how things actually are. One way of understanding what the Buddha calls ‘the current of Mara’ is just these habits of unawareness. When we are not careful we become distracted by assumptions and fantasies and these distractions turn into habits which can be hard to let go of. So if our commitment to the spiritual work finds us feeling challenged, even trembling, let’s not automatically assume something is going wrong. Withdrawing from an addiction to distraction is hard work, however, thankfully there are many who have walked this way ahead of us and shown that it is worthwhile.

Monday, 18 February 2019

The Donald Awakes

As regular readers will know I usually tiptoe around politics, it's not what we are about, but I couldn't resist posting this image...................


Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Hacking Happiness

In case you missed it when it first came out, there is still time to catch Existential Cool - Buddhism and the Art of Acceptance, which is part of the Radio 4 series Hacking Happiness.


Sounds, the new radio version of the BBC iPlayer, does not provide as many podcasts as before so you need to listen direct at https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/b0b9z64f

Forget self-actualisation, does true happiness, Nirvana, come from dissolving the self? 

This episode was recorded on location at Plum Village Buddhist Monastery near Bordeaux, France, set up by Thich Nhat Hahn, the monk who persuaded Martin Luther King to oppose the Vietnam War. We meet the Brothers and Sisters of Plum Village including Sister True Dedication, Brother Phap Ung and Sister Trenian and, at the Happy Farm, we meet Brother Simon.

Tuesday, 5 February 2019

Happy 4717, Happy Losar - 2146

Well, it's Chinese New year, the year of the pig and it's 4717. Although the People’s Republic of China uses the Gregorian calendar for civil purposes, a special Chinese calendar is used for determining festivals and the traditional New Year.

The beginnings of the Chinese calendar can be traced back to the 14th century B.C.E. Legend has it that the Emperor Huangdi invented the calendar in 2637 B.C.E.

A quick bit of maths shows that the Chinese calendar has drifted from the Gregorian calendar and this is because the Chinese calendar is a combined solar/lunar calendar in that it strives to have its years coincide with the tropical year and its months coincide with the synodic months. An ordinary year has 12 months, a leap year has 13 months and an ordinary year has 353, 354, or 355 days, a leap year has 383, 384, or 385 days.


In Tibet where the calendar is related to the Chinese calendar, it's the year of the Female Earth Pig or 2146.

Sunday, 20 January 2019

FULL MOON - Strength and Weakness

Those who have renounced the use of force in relationship to other beings,
whether weak or strong,
who neither kill nor cause to be killed,
can be called great beings.


Dhammapada v.405

The gentleness with which we would hold a young child is clearly not a sign of our weakness. The sensitivity with which we would listen to a friend who had suffered from loss, would likewise not be judged as weakness. Acting with humility in acknowledging any part we might have played in contributing to the suffering of others, would likewise, hopefully, not be considered as an indication of weakness. That which can sometimes be seen as weakness is in fact strength. Conversely, hiding behind a display of invulnerability; refusing to ask for help when it is clear that we need it; being unable to empathize when faced with the pain of others, these are in fact forms of weakness and would benefit from careful attention.