Thursday, 26 March 2015

Now Here's Something You may Not have Expected!

In Russia, Buddhism ranks with Orthodox Christianity, Islam and Judaism as one of the "traditional religions" whose leaders, in return for a broadly loyal stance, enjoy privileged access to the Kremlin.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

The End of Inquiring Mind

Here at the West Wight Sangha we have an extensive library of books, DVDs, audio dharma talks and magazines. While a former member gifted us a large collection of "The Middle Way", the Buddhist Society's quarterly journal, our other magazines and journals regularly arrive by post from the United States and their arrival is always eagerly anticipated.

It is therefore with great sadness that we await the delivery of the final ever edition of the semi-annual journal "Inquiring Mind". Barbara Gates, co-editor and co-founder (with Wes Nisker) of the publication writes:

"This journal, published with low overhead, on newsprint, and financed by donation by those who could afford it, is, after 31 years of service, completing its final issue in April 2015. Readers of Inquiring Mind include followers of many different Buddhist traditions, and others interested in the philosophy and ideas of Buddhism."

Inquiring Mind has always been made freely available for distribution to libraries and many prisons in America in fact, prisoners have been Inquiring Mind’s most quickly growing population of readers, and to this end, the magazine intends to donate its 17,000 back issues to prisoners.

About the final issue, Gates says, “In preparing our final Mind, Spring 2015, “Blowin’ in the Wind,” we’ve read over our many years of issues, from our first lean edition in 1984. We came across a letter in 1993 from Joseph Goldstein which ended, “Freedom and compassion are the reference points for all of practice. The Dharma has one taste, the taste of freedom.” This is the underlying message we at the Mind have hoped to convey. It feels appropriate that with that aspiration, we would be donating our back issues to prisoners.”

Thursday, 19 March 2015

NEW MOON - Simplify

Reciting a single verse of truth
which calms the mind
is better than reciting
a hundred meaningless verses.

Dhammapada v. 102

I can still vividly recall on one particular occasion when, being tortured by doubt, I sought the support of my teacher, Ajahn Chah. His initial response was one of empathy: “I've been there,” he said quietly. Then he followed on with: “If something is inherently uncertain, and we struggle to make it certain, we are going to suffer.” So obvious! Often it is within simplicity that we find solutions to our problems, not with increased complexity. The Buddha is not suggesting we make simplicity a fixed position; when we encounter complexity we must meet it as it is. This verse brings awareness to any compulsive tendencies that we might have to overly-complicate.

Ajahn Munindo

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Isle of Wight on NCIS

Some of you may have watched the episode of NCIS on Channel 5 last Friday. It was Episode 3 from Season 11 and was entitled "Under the Radar", it featured the team relying on Twitter to track a low flying aircraft.

The planes course was plotted on the big screen in MTAC, the Multiple Threat Alert Centre, and the aircraft can clearly be seen crossing the map over the "Isle of Wight"!

Yes, I know that this is Isle of Wight County in Virginia USA but long time followers of this site may remember that way back in 2007 we covered a story about Wat Pasantidhamma Buddhist temple in Isle of Wight County.

The fact that the American one is sandwiched between Sussex and Suffolk and isn't actually an island is a little disorientating but hey, its nice to know we have company and that both "isles" have Buddhist communities.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

FULL MOON – Transforming

There are those who discover
they can completely abandon confused reactions
and become patient as the earth;
unmoved by anger,
unshaken as a pillar,
unperturbed as a clear and quiet pool.

Dhammapada v. 95

When I catch a cold it can feel like it’s going to last forever. Those who suffer sleeplessness might feel like the night will never end. Falling in love and we’re convinced it will always be this way. There is nothing wrong with the way experience appears. It is simply how information received via the physical senses is perceived. Fortunately we also have the mind sense. When this faculty is rightly trained it tells us that we can choose to outshine sense impressions with patient endurance. We are allowed, and potentially we are able, to exercise the choice to bear with the way things appear to be and in so doing transform perception. When patient endurance is a kind, careful meeting of experience, without adding or taking anything away, we are no longer merely defined by conditioning.

Friday, 27 February 2015

We're in the County Press!

Following on from our recent visit to Gurnard Primary School the story has now appeared in the island's local paper, the Isle of Wight County Press.

The text reads..............

A feeling of calm, serenity and enlightenment descended on the children of an Island primary school. As part of their religious education lessons this term, Year 4 and 5 pupils of Gurnard Primary School learned about the art of practising Buddhism. Buddhism Day was run by Steph Green and Stephen Parker, of the West Wight Sangha, a small Buddhist group. They taught youngsters about the origins of Buddhism and some meditation techniques. They brought along Buddha statues and singing bowls, demonstrating their sound during meditation. Children also made a dharma chakra — a wheel which symbolises the noble, eight-point path to living their lives. Year 4 and 5 teacher Natalie Pettifer, who organised Buddhism Day, said: "The children really enjoyed it and found it an interesting and rewarding experience. "The feedback was great, with many wanting to incorporate meditation into their lives as a way of giving them calm."

Sunday, 22 February 2015

MPs Debate End of No-Stun Slaughter for Animals - SIGN THE PETITION!

Tomorrow, February the 23rd, MPs will debate whether to end no-stun slaughter for animals. Please sign this petition before Monday to ask your MP to ban no-stun slaughter and stop this awful, widespread animal cruelty.

PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION  asking our MPs to show compassion and ban this cruel and totally unnecessary practise, to say that it is a requirement of some "faith tradition" is an obscenity.

Friday, 20 February 2015

Thich Nhat Hanh - Latest News

Here is the latest announcement on the state of Thich Nhat Hanh's health following his recent stroke.

"We are very happy to report that our dear Teacher continues to steadily make extraordinary progress. 

Thay has now moved to a specialist stroke rehabilitation clinic, where he is receiving the best possible professional care. The team of monastic attendants work closely with doctors, nurses and professional therapists, and accompany Thay twenty-four hours a day, offering massage, acupuncture and comfort care, and helping Thay with his physical training. 

Thay is steadily recovering his strength and rebuilding his muscles day by day. We have been struck by Thay’s great determination, motivation, courage and concentration as he sets his own program to train himself to learn anew how to sit upright, stand, and move his limbs. 
The medical team is also helping Thay learn to swallow again, and last week Thay was able to drink his first cup of tea since November. The attendants prepared Thay’s favorite tea in his cup, and Thay even signalled to invite everyone to drink a cup of tea with him. Contemplating the tea, Thay smiled, put his hand on his heart, and looked up. All could clearly see that Thay was reminding everyone to bring our mind back to our body and to look deeply into the tea, really enjoying the tea and the presence of those around us. 

During the last full moon of the lunar year, Thay enjoyed watching the moon rise from his bed, and invited the attendants to enjoy it silently with him. In the peace and joy with which he enjoyed the moon, we can see Thay’s love for the wonders of life and his generosity in teaching us to cherish these wonders at every moment. 

With each week that passes Thay is becoming increasingly alert and engaged. Although Thay is not yet able to speak, he has begun to vocalize, and is developing a means of communicating silently with his attendants and physicians. Thay’s path of healing is still long, yet we know that every moment can be a moment to deeply touch the wonders and miracles of life. 

We are very grateful for the great compassion and support that Thay has received from his global Sangha Body, creating wonderful conditions for his recovery and healing. We are thankful for your practice of mindfulness and prayers sending positive energy to Thay, and for your letters, donations, and the many beautiful children’s drawings."