Saturday, 27 December 2008

Ten Bulls, Catching the Bull


4. Catching the Bull

I seize him with a terrific struggle.
His great will and power are inexhaustible. He charges to the high plateau far above the cloud-mists, Or in an impenetrable ravine he stands.

Comment: He dwelt in the forest a long time, but I caught him today! Infatuation for scenery interferes with his direction. Longing for sweeter grass, he wanders away. His mind still is stubborn and unbridled. If I wish him to submit, I must raise my whip.


To catch the bull is a fight against ignorance and prejudice.

The bull is the eternal principle of life. The ten bulls represent sequent steps in the realization of one's true nature.

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

New Feature

If you look to the top of the right hand column you will see a slideshow of the West Wight.

I have used non-copyrighted (I hope) photos from a selection of photographers, if any sees their photos there and don't want them used just let me know.

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Travelling Buddhists, Update

Just a quick note to let you all know that Wilhelmina's Crew are now posting some pictures from their cycling tour of Thailand.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Help Burma at Amazon

By doing your Amazon shopping via the Burma Campaign UK's website, without costing you a penny up to 10% of the money you spend in that visit will be donated to them by Amazon.

Visit their website http://www.burmacampaign.org.uk/
Click on the special Amazon link
Do your shopping on Amazon and you’ll be helping fund their work to bring human rights and democracy to Burma.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

New Burma "Dirty List"


Burma Campaign UK have just launched their new edition of the “Dirty List”. It’s the biggest list they’ve ever produced, containing 170 companies that directly or indirectly fund Burma’s brutal regime.

Thanks to your emails over the past year many companies have pulled out of Burma, depriving the regime of hundreds of thousands of pounds. Remember XL insurance? Cotton Traders? Arig insurance? They’ve all pulled out in the past year. So have others like Trailblazer Guides, Jet Gold Corp, CHC and Aquatic.

TAKE ACTION
Please write to a few of these companies right now and tell them to stop bankrolling Burma’s generals: http://www.burmacampaign.org.uk/dirty_list/dirty_list_details.html

Every single day foreign companies give millions of dollars to the regime; allowing them to buy the bullets, guns and supplies for the army that keeps them in power. These companies are financing a regime that rapes five-year-old girls, shoots peaceful protestors and leaves storm victims to die.

This is your chance to speak directly to the companies that fund the regime. Tell them why what they’re doing is wrong. Tell them why they must respect the wishes of Burma’s democracy movement and pull out of Burma now.

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Yet More From the Travelling Buddhists

Wilhelmina's crew, members of the Newport Soto Zen group, are off travelling the World on their trusty tandem once more. If you remember, their previous adventure took them to Australia, now they're off to Thailand and Laos!


You can keep track of their progress on their blog at Wilhelmina's crew. No pictures yet from Thailand but they will be coming soon.

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Venerable Robina Courtin

I stumbled across this fascinating video by Venerable Robina Courtin, there's a bit of waffle by the introducer at the beginning but patience (a good Buddhist virtue), it's an excellent talk.

Monday, 8 December 2008

Daizan's Enlightenment Day Talk


For those of you who have been wondering what Daizan has been up to I received an email from him about a talk he is giving today up in London.

"On enlightenment day, December 8th I'm giving a talk explaining what exactly is involved in our achieving our birthright. It's entitled Zen - the Way of Enlightenment, and I'd like to invite you. It's at University College London at 8.30pm. Come to Gordon Street, opposite Euston Station, go into the Bloomsbury Theatre and up to the third floor. There you'll find the dojo where I'll be talking for a bit over an hour. There will be a chance to ask questions and we'll probably practice some meditation together. Please come and join us".

Friday, 28 November 2008

Europe's Buddhist Nation


I was amazed to discover that we have a predominately Buddhist country right here in Europe! The Republic of Kalmykia is a constituent republic of the Russian Federation situated south of the Volga on the north-western shores of the Caspian Sea. The Kalmyk are a people of Mongol origin who migrated to Europe during the 16th century. Most Kalmyks throughout the world remain Tibetan/Lamaist Buddhists regarding His Holiness the Dalai Lama as their spiritual leader.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

New Video Bar

If you look over to the right hand column you will see that we have a new Video bar featuring talks from the Buddhist Society of Western Australia. These replace those featuring Ajahn Jayasaro, who was born here on the Island.

This feature can now be found on the Video Streams page of our Video Section.

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Ten Bulls, Perceiving the Bull


3. Perceiving the Bull

I hear the song of the nightingale.
The sun is warm, the wind is mild, willows are green along the shore,
Here no bull can hide!
What artist can draw that massive head, those majestic horns?

Comment: When one hears the voice, one can sense its source. As soon as the six senses merge, the gate is entered. Wherever one enters one sees the head of the bull! This unity is like salt in water, like colour in dyestuff. The slightest thing is
not apart from self.

Once seen, the bull can be recognised anywhere.

The bull is the eternal principle of life. The ten bulls represent sequent steps in the realization of one's true nature.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Burma, the Latest

I have just received an email from the Burma Campaign UK and I am just going to replicate if here without further comment.

“Today the regime sentenced 14 leading democracy activists in Burma to 65 years in prison. If they are forced to serve their full terms, they will die in jail. The sentences were handed down at around 1pm, behind closed doors in Insein prison special court in Rangoon. Family members were not allowed to attend the hearing. The sentences today relate to only five charges. They are all charged with a total of 21 charges and face further sentences as their trials continue.

Those sentenced are all prominent members of the 88 Generation Students group, which led the peaceful demonstrations last September.

In a separate hearing held in Insein prison special court, labour activist Su Su Nwe was sentenced to 12 years and 6 months.

Take action. Please send an email to the UN Security Council urging Ban Ki-moon to visit Burma and make the release of political prisoners his top priority:
http://www.burmacampaign.org.uk/un_action.html

Only yesterday EU foreign ministers met and called for the release of all political prisoners. The EU promised to increase pressure on the regime if there was no progress to reform, but despite the situation getting worse they have taken no action.

The UN must act. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is due to visit Burma in December, but there are fears he may back out of the visit because of the difficulties in negotiating with the regime. These sentences make it all the more important that Ban Ki-moon goes ahead with his visit. We have had 37 visits to Burma by UN envoys, but things have only got worse. We need his personal engagement on Burma”.

Dharma Downloads

I've just uploaded a guided body scan meditation by Leigh Brasington to our download site, Archive.org, and noticed that they now display the number of times that any item has been downloaded. Our talks etc. as available on our Dharma Studies RESOURCES page are as follows:-

Not Self, Not No Self 32
Dependent Origination, Guy Armstrong 15
Catching Suffering Before It Happens, Ajahn Amaro 36
Wise View by Rodney Smith 11
Wise Aspiration by Rodney Smith 21
Choice Words by Steve Armstrong 12
Wise Speech by Rodney Smith 23
Wise Action by Rodney Smith 25
Wise Livelihood by Rodney Smith 18
Wise Effort by Rodney Smith 26
Wise Mindfulness by Rodney Smith 13
Wise Samadhi by Rodney Smith 11
Four talks on the Hindrances by Steve Armstrong 7 (group file)
The four Brahma Viharas, Metta 43
The four Brahma Viharas, Upekka 59
The four Brahma Viharas, Karuna 40
The four Brahma Viharas, Mudita 21

But the really impressive one is for our collection of meditation timers at 551 downloads!

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Friends in High Places?

Barack Obama has a lot on his plate but saying the right thing must be followed by doing the right thing.

"If Tibetans are to live in harmony with the rest of China’s people, their religion and culture must be respected and protected. Tibet should enjoy genuine and meaningful autonomy. The Dalai Lama should be invited to visit China, as part of a process leading to his return." READ MORE....

Prince Charles put himself on a collision course with the Prime Minister back in February by playing host to the Dalai Lama.

The meeting took place at his London home, the day after Tibet's exiled spiritual leader was barred from visiting Number 10. READ MORE..........

And here's the afore mentioned Prime Minister meeting the Dalai Lama but at Lambeth Palace, the official residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury!!!!

So what's he going to be doing. Well other more "important" things, what with the credit crunch and everything. But, at least the Olympics are nicely out of the way (that's the Beijing ones not the London ones).

Friday, 7 November 2008

Burma Campaigners to make direct appeal to Lloyd’s staff


Further to the preceding post The Burma Campaign UK has distributed an open letter to all Lloyds of London staff explaining that institution's involvement in supporting the Burmese regime.

Three Lloyd’s syndicates are known to insure risk in Burma, Catlin, Atrium and Kiln. Lloyd’s of London refuse to reveal if other syndicates currently insure risk in Burma. Lloyd’s have not responded to repeated requests from the Burma Campaign UK to reveal all the sectors of Burmese business that are insured through the Lloyd’s market.

The letter calls on staff to be "whistle blowers" and let the Burma Campaign UK know which Lloyd’s companies are still insuring risk in Burma.

As Johnny Chatterton, Campaigns Officer at the Burma Campaign UK said “Lloyd’s are helping to fund a murderous dictatorship that rapes, tortures and kills those who call for human rights and democracy. The management of Lloyd’s seem to think it is OK to help fund this brutal dictatorship, they’re ignoring British Government advice, they’re ignoring the wishes of Burma’s democrats. We hope Lloyd’s staff will take the time to listen and question Lloyd’s’ Burma policy.”

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

New Campaign on Burma

Avaaz have just launched a new campaign for people to email Lloyds of London (that's the insurance market not the bank) to call on them to stop underwriting the Burmese military junta. As with South Africa regimes find it hard to survive if we just stop doing business with them. To contact Lloyds and do your bit to shame them into doing the right thing click HERE.

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Email Subscriptions

It was brought to my attention the other day by one of our email subscribers that there is some confusion as to what the email contains. It will show all the text and usually all of the pictures and links displayed in the original post. It will not however show any embedded HTML code as with a video. So, as in the case of the last posting, there is a “blank” in the middle of the email where the video appears on the blog. The best approach is to view the blog if the email is "interesting" or “strange”.
 

Thursday, 30 October 2008

Vipassana Meditation

I was looking around the other day for suitable reference materials on Vipassana (Insight) meditation for our group and came across this fascinating and intriguing video.



It is described as a "40 minutes animated ex course with sound explaining the mechanics of the mind and perception of what we think is reality. explanation of duality, illusion and what Vipassana (Insight) meditation is about".

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Ten Bulls, Discovering the Footprints


2. Discovering the Footprints

Along the riverbank under the trees, I discover footprints!
Even under the fragrant grass I see his prints.
Deep in remote mountains they are found.
These traces no more can be hidden than one's nose, looking heavenward.

Comment: Understanding the teaching, I see the footprints of the bull. Then I learn that, just as many utensils are made from one metal, so too are myriad entities made of the fabric of self. Unless I discriminate, how will I perceive the true from the untrue? Not yet having entered the gate, nevertheless I have discerned the path.

Footprints in the snow teaching consequence and order.

The bull is the eternal principle of life. The ten bulls represent sequent steps in the realization of one's true nature.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Hatred

We do not become angry with the stick that hits us,
but with the one who wields the stick.
But the one who wields the stick is impelled by hatred,
so what we should truly hate is hatred itself.


Shantideva
(Author of the Bodhicaryavatara)

Sunday, 26 October 2008

"Tibetans shall be slaves of the conquerors"


At the moment there is a link in "The Buddhist Channel" section entitled "Graveyard of Indian idealism". It's not the most riveting of titles but the article is a fascinating review of a book by the French author Claude Arpi entitled "Tibet. The Lost Frontier". The book deals with the regional politics that lay behind the Chinese invasion of Tibet in 1950 and which had been playing out for centuries before. The quote in the title of this post is by the 13th. Dalai Lama and was his prediction following the stubborn obstruction of his modernising reforms by the big orthodox monasteries.

(sorry for the commercial link but that's the best UK price I could find)

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Interactive Wheel of Life


I was recently checking that the links on this site were all still valid and unfortunately discovered that the "Interactive Wheel of Life" link "could not be found". After a search I came across a similar site with a comparable degree of interactivity and have re-pointed the links under "Favourite Sites" and under "STUDY TOOLS" on the "Dharma Studies RESOURCES" page.

You can try it out at the above locations or go directly from HERE.

Any comments would be useful.

Friday, 17 October 2008

Cotton Traders Support for Burmese Regime

Do you shop with Cotton Traders? Well think twice. More than 130 major U.K. high street clothing retailers, including M&S, Next, ASDA, H&M, Debenhams, House of Fraser and BHS refuse to source their clothes from Burma recognising that they provide income for the military dictatorship. But Cotton Traders continues to import clothing manufactured in Burma.

Burma appeals to manufacturers because of its very cheap labour, ban on trade unions and lack of health and safety laws. Factory wages are as low as 5p an hour. A factory employee working 60 hours a week could earn just £3.


The Burmese democracy movement has asked that firms stop sourcing clothes from Burma and thus stop funding the dictatorship, the USA banned imports of clothing from Burma in 2003. To ask Fran Cotton and his company "Cotton Traders" to do the same click HERE.

Thank you.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

The World Financial Crisis, a Buddhist Perspective


The world is in financial and economic turmoil. 20/20 hindsight is much in evidence with most commentators blaming the greed of "fat cat" Bankers, but the Banks and other financial institutions have only prospered by pandering to the greed of all of us. We have wanted something for nothing, borrowing has become second nature with people becoming "Rate Tarts" moving their debt from one piece of plastic to the next, accepting mortgages for greater sums than our homes are worth and regularly spending more than we earn.

In Buddhism Greed is one of the three "Poisons", along with Hatred and Delusion. Greed, or craving, (Tanha) arises from the mistaken idea that we can obtain and hold on to possessions, to ideas, and even to other people. Greed arises from selfishness, from the misconception that our bodies are who we are. Our greed and attachments tie us to unhappiness and lead us to much harmful behaviour. Because of greed, we become angry as others have or take something we want. Anger so often arises when our greed is unrestrained. Or when we do not get what we want, because others reject our ideas or obtain what we had wanted for ourselves. Or when what we have is taken from us, or those we love are lost to us. The ways that greed and attachments can overwhelm us and, then, lead us to anger are endless. And the pain generated, as a consequence, is infinite.

Read more about the "poisons" and how to overcome them HERE.

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Being "You"

"Life (Self) is nothing other than the continuous flow of the Now Moment.
The Now Moment ceases as it arises. This moment must completely cease and serves as the CAUSE for the next moment to arise.
Therefore Self is a process of series Self1, Self2, Self3, Self4, Self5, Self6...etc
A fixed entity 'Self' does not exist, what really exists is a momentary Self.
Under deep meditation, one is able to observe and sense the karmic and mental factors from moment to moment, it is these factors that are succeeded from moment to moment and life and life but not a fixed entity."

Quote found on the Buddhist Society of Western Australia's forum page. I think it sums it up nicely.

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Saffron Revolution - the Latest


Further to our recent post about the first anniversary of the "Saffron Revolution" the other day a group of around 150 monks staged a silent & peaceful march in Sittwe, Burma to mark the event.

The public came out on the street and offered their respect to the monks for staging their peaceful protest, when security forces asked the monks what they were doing, they did not reply but just continued silently to walk.

Read more HERE.

Support Burma HERE and on Facebook HERE, Thank you.

Monday, 29 September 2008

Ten Bulls, In Search of the Bull (aimless searching, only the sound of cicadas)

1. The Search for the Bull

In the pasture of this world, I endlessly push aside the tall grasses in search of the bull. Following unnamed rivers, lost upon the interpenetrating paths of distant mountains, My strength failing and my vitality exhausted, I cannot find the bull. I only hear the locusts chirring through the forest at night

Comment: The bull never has been lost. What need is there to search? Only because of separation from my true nature, I fail to find him. In the confusion of the senses I lose even his tracks. Far from home, I see many cross-roads, but which way is the right one I know not. Greed and fear, good and bad, entangle me.

The bull is always here I see, feel, hear and smell but give it no name.

The bull is the eternal principle of life. The ten bulls represent sequent steps in the realization of one's true nature.

Sunday, 28 September 2008

Who was that Mystery Man?


In last week's County Press there was a letter from a Mrs. K.Webb enquiring if anyone had any information on a "saffron robed" monk (or Hari Krishna) who was often seen around the Island back in the Eighties. I'm reliably informed that this was Venerable Ajahn Khemadhammo, the founder of Angulimala, the Buddhist Prison Chaplaincy Organisation. He was based on the Island from 1979 until 1984 (for those of you who don't know we have three prisons here, the most famous being Parkhurst which was until 1995 a category A gaol).


In the Queen’s Birthday Honours of 2003, Ajahn Khemadhammo was appointed an OBE for services to prisoners and the following year the King of Thailand on his birthday made him a Chao Khun (One of several ecclesiastical titles conferred upon senior monks selected by the King) with the title Chao Khun Bhavanavitesa.

"Remember, prisoners can't come to the temple,
so we have to take the temple to them".

Thursday, 25 September 2008

The Saffron Revolution is a Year Old

The Saffron Revolution is a year old, check-out our previous post, Please help Burma - now!

On the eve of the anniversary of the biggest democracy uprising in Burma since 1988 more than 2,000 innocent political prisoners languish in Burma’s squalid prisons. The regime launched a brutal crackdown to crush the uprising, arresting, torturing and murdering many of those peaceful protesters.

After the uprising the regime promised the UN it would stop arresting people who criticise the regime. Since the uprising the number of political prisoners has doubled to 2,130. These people have committed no crime. They are imprisoned because they believe that Burma should be ruled democratically.

TAKE ACTION – FREE BURMA’S POLITICAL PRISONERS
Ban Ki-moon has said that he will go to Burma later this year, write to him now, tell him why he must secure the release of all of Burma’s political prisoners, email him here: http://www.burmacampaign.org.uk/un_action.html

Political prisoners in Burma are subjected to horrific torture, routinely denied medical treatment and survive on rotten food and dirty water. Prisoners like Mya Aye, who has been detained in Insein Prison, Rangoon, since August 2007 without charge. He has been imprisoned for 8 of the last 18 years and is denied medical treatment even though he has heart problems and has already suffered one heart attack.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Binara Full Moon Poya Day


Yesterday was the full moon of September known as Binara Poya day. It celebrates the founding of the Buddhist order of nuns, Bhikkhunis. The first nun was the Buddha's foster Mother Maha Pajapati.

Read her story here.

And read the amazing poems written by the early nuns here.

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Walking Meditation

At our Tuesday Evening meditation practise we took a brief foray into walking meditation so, further to that, here are some more in depth instructions in this method of meditation.

Instructions for Walking Meditation

adapted from a talk by Gil Fronsdal, December 1st, 2003

Most people in the West associate meditation with sitting quietly. But traditional Buddhist teachings identify four meditation postures: sitting, walking, standing and lying down. All four are valid means of cultivating a calm and clear mindfulness of the present moment. The most common meditation posture after sitting is walking. In meditation centers and monasteries, indoor halls and outdoor paths are often built for walking meditation. On meditation retreats, regular walking meditation is an integral part of the schedule. In practice outside of retreats, some people will include walking as part of their daily meditation practice—for example, ten or twenty minutes of walking prior to sitting, or walking meditation instead of sitting.

Walking meditation brings a number of benefits in addition to the cultivation of mindfulness. It can be a helpful way of building concentration, perhaps in support of sitting practice. When we are tired or sluggish, walking can be invigorating. The sensations of walking can be more compelling than the more subtle sensations of breathing while sitting. Walking can be quite helpful after a meal, upon waking from sleep, or after a long period of sitting meditation. At times of strong emotions or stress, walking meditation may be more relaxing than sitting. An added benefit is that, when done for extended times, walking meditation can build strength and stamina.

People have a variety of attitudes toward walking meditation. Some take to it easily and find it a delight. For many others, an appreciation of this form of meditation takes some time; it is an “acquired taste.” Yet others see its benefits and do walking meditation even though they don’t have much taste for it.

To do formal walking meditation, find a pathway about 30 to 40 feet long, and simply walk back and forth. When you come to the end of your path, come to a full stop, turn around, stop again, and then start again. Keep your eyes cast down without looking at anything in particular. Some people find it useful to keep the eyelids half closed.

We stress walking back and forth on a single path instead of wandering about because otherwise part of the mind would have to negotiate the path. A certain mental effort is required to, say, avoid a chair or step over a rock. When you walk back and forth, pretty soon you know the route and the problem-solving part of the mind can be put to rest.

Walking in a circle is a technique that is sometimes used, but the disadvantage is that the continuity of a circle can conceal a wandering mind. Walking back and forth, the little interruption when you stop at the end of your path can help to catch your attention if it has wandered.

As you walk back and forth, find a pace that gives you a sense of ease. I generally advise walking more slowly than normal, but the pace can vary. Fast walking may bring a greater sense of ease when you are agitated. Or fast walking might be appropriate when you are sleepy. When the mind is calm and alert, slow walking may feel more natural. Your speed might change during a period of walking meditation. See if you can sense the pace that keeps you most intimate with and attentive to the physical experience of walking.

After you’ve found a pace of ease, let your attention settle into the body. I sometimes find it restful to think of letting my body take me for a walk.

Once you feel connected to the body, let your attention settle into your feet and lower legs. In sitting meditation, it is common to use the alternating sensations of breathing in and out as an “anchor” keeping us in the present. In walking meditation, the focus is on the alternating stepping of the feet.

With your attention in the legs and feet, feel the sensations of each step. Feel the legs and feet tense as you lift the leg. Feel the movement of the leg as it swings through the air. Feel the contact of the foot with the ground. There is no “right” experience. Just see how the experience feels to you. Whenever you notice that the mind has wandered, bring it back to the sensations of the feet walking. Getting a sense of the rhythm of the steps may help maintain a continuity of awareness.

As an aid to staying present, you can use a quiet mental label for your steps as you walk. The label might be “stepping, stepping” or “left, right.” Labeling occupies the thinking mind with a rudimentary form of thought, so the mind is less likely to wander off. The labeling also points the mind towards what you want to observe. Noting “stepping” helps you to notice the feet. If after a while you notice that you are saying “right” for the left foot and “left” for the right foot, you know that your attention has wandered.

When walking more slowly, you might try breaking each step into phases and using the traditional labels “lifting, placing.” For very slow walking, you can use the labels “lifting, moving, placing.”

Try to dedicate your attention to the sensations of walking and let go of everything else. If powerful emotions or thoughts arise and call your attention away from the sensations of walking, it is often helpful to stop walking and attend to them. When they are no longer compelling, you can return to the walking meditation. You also might find that something beautiful or interesting catches your eye while walking. If you can’t let go of it, stop walking and do “looking” meditation. Continue walking when you have finished looking.

Some people find that their minds are more active or distractible during walking than during sitting meditation. This may be because walking is more active and the eyes are open. If so, don’t be discouraged and don’t think that walking is thus less useful. It may in fact be more useful to learn to practice with your more everyday mind.

You can train your mind to be present any time you walk. Some people choose specific activities in their daily routines to practice walking meditation, such as walking down a hallway at home or at work, or from their car to their place of work.

In our daily lives, we spend more time walking than sitting quietly with our eyes closed. Walking meditation can serve as a powerful bridge between meditation practice and daily life, helping us be more present, mindful and concentrated in ordinary activities. It can reconnect us to a simplicity of being and the wakefulness that comes from it.

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Buddhist Picnic

Sunday finally arrived and it was off to Ventnor for the picnic. Given how lousy the weather had been recently we asked the people at the Botanic Gardens if we could take our food into the cafe if rained off and they immediately offered us the use of the Canna Room in the visitor centre. No money was asked for but a whip round with a large plastic cup serving as an impromptu Dana bowl raised a generous donation to the gardens and Angie even produced a thank-you card to go with it from somewhere.

Below is a slideshow of some of the photos taken that day, more to follow.


Friday, 5 September 2008

More Asian Delights at Quay Arts

Following on from the amazing "The Power of Compassion" performance by the Monks from the Tashi Lhunpo monastery in Bylakuppe, Karnataka State, Southern India back in June, the Quay Arts Centre now have another group of performers from the sub-continent appearing.

The world's foremost Kathakali company, Kala Chethena, on tour outside their native Kerala, South India are performing in the Anthony Minghella Theatre on Monday 22nd. of September at 8pm.

Kathakali is a highly visual, colourful and sacred dance drama normally performed in the temples of Kerala, South India. Internationally renowned actors, singers, drummers and make up artists bring alive the stories and characters of the great Hindu epics – the MAHABARATHA and the RAMAYANA to illustrate that good always prevails over evil.

Buddhist Picnic - Latest!

A number of people have contacted me querying if we would be allowed to take our picnic food into the cafe at the gardens.

I've been on to Ventnor Botanics and in the event of rain they have kindly given us the use of one of their rooms in the visitor centre and we will be able to have our food there..... so worry not, it's sorted.

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Palaka Dedicates New Shrine Room

Last night (Tuesday) Palaka joined us to dedicate the West Wight Shanga's new shrine room.I think that I speak for everyone in saying that it was a really meaningful evening for the group and one that we all thoroughly enjoyed. I also thought that I would share the text of the actual ceremony for those not familiar with it.

The Dedication Ceremony
We dedicate this place to the Three Jewels:
To the Buddha, the Ideal of Enlightenment to which we aspire;
To the Dharma, the Path of the Teaching which we follow;
To the Sangha, the spiritual fellowship with one another which we enjoy.
Here may no idle word be spoken;
Here may no unquiet thought disturb our minds.
To the observance of the Five Precepts
We dedicate this place;
To the practice of meditation
We dedicate this place;
To the development of wisdom
We dedicate this place;
To the attainment of Enlightenment
We dedicate this place.
Though in the world outside there is strife
Here may there be peace;
Though in the world outside there is hate
Here may there be love;
Though in the world outside there is grief
Here may there be joy.
Not by the chanting of the sacred Scriptures,
Not by the sprinkling of holy water,
But by our own efforts towards Enlightenment
We dedicate this place.
Around this Mandala, this sacred spot,
May the lotus petals of purity open;
Around this Mandala, this sacred spot,
May the vajra-wall of determination extend;
Around this Mandala, this sacred spot,
May the flames that transmute Saṁsāra into Nirvana arise.
Here seated, here practising,
May our mind become Buddha,
May our thought become Dharma,
May our communication with one another be Sangha.
For the happiness of all beings,
For the benefit of all beings,
With body, speech, and mind,
We dedicate this place.

 

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Buddhist Picnic Bad Weather Contingency

As the U.K. seems intent on developing a monsoon season I thought that I should remind everyone that in the event of rain on the day the plan is to retire to the cafe in the Visitor Centre.


Thursday, 28 August 2008

Burma, "The Dirty List" Update

Back in June I posted that the Burma Campaign UK had just released their updated 2008 Dirty List, cataloguing those firms that do business with the Burmese regime.

In the past fortnight 2 companies on the Insurance Dirty List, XL and Arab Insurance Group (Arig), have confirmed that they have pulled out of the Burmese Insurance market. Another company, Chubb, a major US insurer, has confirmed that it bars its member companies from maintaining an office in Burma.

Read More.....

If you haven't done so already you can email the companies on the Insurance
Dirty List http://www.burmacampaign.org.uk/insuranceaction.php and tell
them why they should follow XL and Arig's example and pull out of the
Burmese market.

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

South Korean Government Discriminates Against Buddhists


I thought that I could take a break from reporting on fellow Buddhists having to protest at their governments treatment of them but no, now it's the turn of the South Korean administration of Lee Myung-bak!


Discontent among Buddhists has been brewing for months over Lee's alleged favouritism toward Christianity. Buddhists have criticized Lee, a Presbyterian, for filling most of his cabinet and top presidential posts with other Christians.

The evangelical zeal of Lee, a Presbyterian, is well known; he provoked controversy as Seoul mayor when he dedicated the metropolis to God.

An estimated 60,000 South Koreans, including 7,000 monks, gathered at City Hall in Seoul to protest.

Sunday, 24 August 2008

Beijing Olympics over

So the Beijing Olympics are safely over without any really embarrassing protests. It's maybe a shame that none of the athletes had the moral courage of Tommie Smith and John Carlos...


Apparently the call was for some-one to make the shape of the letter "T" with their hands while on the winner's podium. There was also talk of a protest over the Chinese government's support for the Sudanese government and it's actions in Darfur. READ MORE

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

I came across this fascinating video on Zen practice - Zazen , enjoy.

Friday, 15 August 2008

2008 Island Sangha Picnic - Latest!

As you should all know by now the 2008 Island Buddhist Picnic is at the Botanic Gardens just outside of Ventnor on Sunday 7th. of September, starting at 12:30.

This very special event is open to Buddhists, their families and friends ( and pets too!), please bring vegetarian food to share. We will be using the meadow area to the rear of the gardens, the best option is to head for the Children's Play Area and carry on through to the grassed area and keep on going till you meet some Buddhists!


Click on Map or any Photos to Enlarge

The path to the left of the pond

(if you're facing the Visitor Centre)

takes you straight to the Children's Play Area.

I've asked and it's o.k. so we might have some sign posts to the picnic area from there on. If it does rain we can retire to the cafe in the Visitor Centre.

p.s. as Palaka mentions in the comment below, don't forget that you have to pay for the carpark.
 

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Wei Wu Wei

Why are you unhappy?
Because 99.9 per cent
Of everything you think,
And of everything you do,
Is for yourself —
And there isn't one.

— Ask The Awakened
Wei Wu Wei

Sunday, 10 August 2008

Avaaz Olympic Handshake Campaign

I received an email from Jenny of the Cowes Mahasandhi Buddhist Group about the latest Avaaz campaign for Tibet.....

"THE OLYMPIC HANDSHAKE - JOIN IN NOW!
The Beijing Olympics should be a moment to bring citizens around the world together. But the Chinese government still hasn't opened meaningful dialogue on Tibet, or made progress on Burma and Darfur -- and global activists' messages are too often lost in a firestorm of accusations about being anti-Chinese.

We've decided to take the moment back with a powerful, unambiguous message of peace, friendship and dialogue -- the Olympic Handshake. The handshake began with the Dalai Lama, passing through the streets of London, now it's gone online where all of us can join in -- help the handshake travel toward Beijing, where our message will be delivered through a big Olympic media campaign before the closing ceremonies. Join the handshake, and see yourself and others as it goes around the globe!"

Join the Handshake HERE 201,000 people already have.

Friday, 8 August 2008

Banned Olympic Flags

So the Olympics are starting! Despite any impression you may have gained from previous posts in this blog we sincerely wish the people of China joy and success in their staging of this World event. Any criticism has always been of the leaders of China and not of her people who, after all, have no say in who their leaders are or what they do.

Talking of the Olympics, here's a story you may have missed. The Chinese authorities have banned U.K. athletes from displaying the flags of their regions of the United Kingdom; so no crosses of St.Andrew, St.George, St.Piran, St.Patrick and definitely no dragons. Only the national flag of the whole nation i.e. the Union Flag can be shown....... now I wonder who else that's aimed at, here's a clue.............................................

Sunday, 3 August 2008

2008 Island Sangha Picnic


Sunday 7th September
12.30 start
This very special event is open to Buddhists, their families and friends. ( and pets too!)

This time the picnic will be held at Ventnor Botanic Gardens, in keeping with the idea of trying out new locations each year. Angie has contacted the Botanic Gardens and they are very happy to have us come and picnic in their beautiful grounds. I'm sure that most of you are familiar with the gardens but for those who aren't here is a Google map of the location........


View Larger Map

I will be posting more information here, so to keep up with any updates why not subscribe via email to this blog by entering your email address and clicking the "Subscribe" button in the box to your right.

Friday, 1 August 2008

Tiny Crack in Great Firewall of China


As recently as Wednesday (30th.) foreign journalists in Beijing have been reporting that they have been unable to access Web sites for the human rights group Amnesty International, the Falun Gong spiritual movement, and the Tibetan government-in-exile. This is despite Olympic organizers previously promising foreign reporters unrestricted media access during the games, from August 8 through August 24.

Now it seems that Chinese authorities have partially given in to public pressure. Journalists working at the Games' Main Press Centre can now access sites that were blocked. They include Amnesty International and the BBC's Chinese language news homepage. However, tests indicate the sites remain blocked to people using China's "public" internet.

Click on the following links for more information on Internet censorship in the People's Republic of China and on the Golden Shield Project, also known to everyone else as the "Great Firewall of China".

But don't worry, here is a computer-generated image released by the the Beijing Public Security Bureau showing the cartoon figures of "virtual police" who will be patrolling the internet to combat online pornography and other "illicit" activity....... Cute or what?

Thursday, 31 July 2008

Old Gaffers II

As promised, a better quality pic of Wilhelmina, Nicole & John's Dutch sailing barge.


See "More Travelling Buddhists" and their web site "Wilhelmina's Crew", also the original post, "The Old Gaffers".