Thursday, 7 June 2012

A Review of the Year: Now We Are Five!

Yes, that's right, the West Wight Sangha website has now been running for five years. As has become "traditional" we now take a look back over the proceeding twelve months to remind ourselves of just some of the stories that made the Buddhist news last year.

Just click on the links to follow the full Stories....

First up is the one about the Dalai Lama and the Pizza Shop................

Followed by Aung San Suu Kyi delivering the first of her two Reith Lectures at the end of June.

July featured Aung San Suu Kyi's Second Reith Lecture and a story from the Isle of Wight County Press on the urban myth of being able to fit the entire world population (soon to be 7,000,000,000) onto the island (standing room only). World Population Day out on the Isle of Wight?

Oh, and there was also the story about how if the Japanese had Been Christian there would have been no Tsunami!

Talking of Japan, August saw the anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and we ran the heart breaking, but inspiring story, of Sadako Sasaki and the Origami Peace Cranes.

There was news of yet another Tibetan burning themselves to death in protest against the Chinese occupation of their Country. 29-year-old Tsewang Norbu from a monastery in Tawu, south-west China, drank petrol, sprayed petrol on himself and then set himself on fire, shouting, 'we Tibetan people want freedom', 'long live the Dalai Lama' and 'let the Dalai Lama return to Tibet'.

And then, full circle, back to Japan with the heroic, yet ultimately fruitless attempts of a Zen monk to clean up the nuclear pollution from the Fukushima reactor by planting sunflowers.

September started with the holding of the 14th Buddhist Island Picnic! Palaka posted a nice comment.....

"Warm regards to all taking part in this event. I'm very happy to see that it still takes place and draws the different Buddhist groups together. I very much hope that every tradition practising on the Island will be able to find one or two picnic-ers to join in". dh.palaka

September was also a month of "firsts". On the twelfth it was the world's first Mindfulness Day and on the 17th it was the 1st Annual International Bhikkhuni Day.

 On the 26th Two young monks, Lobsang Kalsang and Lobsang Konchok, from Kirti monastery in Aba county, Sichuan, called for religious freedom and shouted "Long live the Dalai Lama" before setting fire to themselves.

October officially saw a landmark event for Humanity, the World's seven billionth human being was born. Danica May Camacho, a girl born in the Philippine capital Manila, was chosen by the UN to symbolically mark this global population milestone.

It was only 12 years previously that the Worlds 6 billionth inhabitant,  Adnan Nevic was born.

One in, one out...... on the 5th, Buddhist, Steve Jobs, co-founder, chairman, and chief executive officer of Apple Inc. died.

Early this month there were the first signs of the changes starting to take effect in Burma..........

The 21st was supposed to be the end of the world again, so on the 20th I put up my "last post".

 To continue......................................

Still being here a couple of days later we highlighted a "Thought for the Day" by a non Buddhist speaker, the Rev. Lucy Winkett, Rector of St James’s Piccadilly.

This moving piece is about the horrific killing of Yue Yue, the little Chinese girl run over twice in the street and ignored by passers-by. (Yue Yue died shortly after this was broadcast).

We ended the month with this amazing image from Kalmykia.............

In November we offered a Buddhist take on the Occupy Wall Street and the St. Paul's protests and also on reincarnation and the seven billionth human being.

In December there was the death of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il which bought to mind this verse from the Dhammapada,

The physical body consists of bones
covered with flesh and blood.
Stored up inside it
are decay and death, pride and malice.

The month also saw the release of Luc Besson's film "The Lady" with Michelle Yeoh playing Aung San Suu Kyi.

The Burmese pro-democracy campaigner Aung San Suu Kyi became famous around the world when she won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991. But even after her release in 2010 after years of house arrest in Burma she remains enigmatic. Luc Besson's new film The Lady focuses both on the politics and on her 27 years of marriage.

In January of this year we ran a story from the Beeb on how science has "discovered" mindfulness!

And then, harping back to our story about Sadako Sasaki and the Paper Peace Crane came news of Linda Barnes, here on the Island, who is going to fold a million peace cranes, not hopefully all on her own!

February started with our reproduction of a poster advertising another Meditation Course being run by our friends from the Lake Buddhist group. This was a one day course and was a precursor to their now regular Monthly Meditation Drop-ins in Newport.

Following this we ran a series of posts concerning the anti Buddhist vandalism which erupted following the "coup" in the Maldives.

Maldives President Resigns - Buddhist Image Vandalised

Maldives - Latest Attack on Buddhist Culture

More on the Anti-Buddhist Vandalism in the Maldives

Then, from one Island to another, there was a story with an Isle of Wight connection. The High Court ruled that the saying of prayers as a formal part of a council meeting was unlawful. Prayers appear on Isle of Wight Council full meeting agendas but before the numbered items of business.

Council leader Cllr David Pugh said: "It remains our view that our prayers precede full council meetings and are not part of the formal agenda".

But if you're not a Christian you still have to leave.

(Communities Secretary Eric Pickles moved quickly to restore the legal basis for councils to hold prayers at the start of business).

This month we also featured this amazing animation against factory farming. It was aired at this year's Grammy Awards.

We also reported on how Vietnam sent six Buddhist monks to the disputed Spratly islands ahead of the anniversary of a bloody battle with China over the hotly contested archipelago.

The monks were to re-establish three temples abandoned by Vietnam in 1975. These have been recently renovated as part of the communist country's drive to assert its territorial claims over the potentially oil-rich islands.

And then there was the story of the Buddha in Kenya..........................

Sadly, we ended the month reporting yet more deaths by self immolation of Tibetans protesting the Chinese occupation of their country.

Jamphel Yeshi, who set himself on fire at a protest in the Indian capital, Delhi against the visit by Chinese President Hu Jintao, dies.

Lobsang Sherab, a 20 year old Buddhist monk died after setting himself on fire in Ngaba county, Amdho, north-eastern Tibet. 

And so to April, where we started the month by featuring an excellent article by Vishvapani on a subject of particular interest, that of Western Buddhism.

The deaths of two horses at the Grand National once again highlighted the amount of suffering the horses have to endure.

May brought the uplifting story of Afghanistan opening a an exhibition highlighting the country's rich Buddhist heritage.

The middle of the month featured the Dalai Lama being interviewed by Sarah Montague for the Today program...........   

The end of the month brought news that Europe's biggest Buddhist Temple was to open outside Paris.

This was closely followed by the news that a new Buddhist centre is planned, just over the Solent from us, in Southampton.

And Finally, June started with the news of an iPhone App for Dharma Seed, the Dharma talks archive.

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