Saturday, 24 October 2009

Barack does "a Gordon", Snubbing the Dalai Lama

U.S. president, Barack Obama has said he will not meet the Dalai Lama, who is currently in the U.S., until after visiting China in November. This will mark the first time since 1991 that the Dalai Lama has come to Washington and not met with the U.S. president.

That leads one former Federal Reserve official to suspect that Chinese fiscal leverage over the American government is at the root of the decision. “Bottom line,” says the official, “don’t piss off your banker.”

This follows a similar cop-out by Gordon Brown, in May last year, when he refused to meet his Holiness at number 10, his official residence as British Prime Minister, instead moving the meeting to Lambeth Palace, home of the Archbishop of Canterbury!

This goes beyond kowtowing to the Chinese regime and could be interpreted by them as an indication that they have carte blanche to clamp down on dissent in Tibet, which it invaded in 1950. I know why the Dalai Lama got his Noble Peace Prize, like a lot of people I'm wondering what Barack's is for?

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Meditation & Life, a Quote

One of our sangha members recently sent me this quote,

"Seated meditation is the arena in which the meditator practices his own fundamental skills. The game the meditator is playing is the experience of his own life, and the instrument upon which he plays is his own sensory apparatus. Even the most seasoned meditator continues to practice seated meditation, because it tunes and sharpens the basic mental skills he needs for his particular game. We must never forget, however, that seated meditation itself is not the game. It's the practice. The game in which those basic skills are to be applied is the rest of one's experiential existence. Meditation that is not applied to daily living is sterile and limited."

-From Mindfulness in Plain English by Bhante Gunaratana

Friday, 9 October 2009

In case you haven't noticed the comment from Palaka to the previous post (I need to change some code to make comments automatically visible), here it is...........

Dharmachari Palaka said...

"Thanks to all who came on Sunday! I felt that we actually did it: we moved beyond the head...and into the heart, where the motivation comes from. Relating to the Wheel as a symbol opened new layers of significance that describing the individual parts can only hint at. And the significance seemed personal to each of us and to stir and inspire. Thank you for inviting me. May all beings be well and happy."
09 October 2009 09:43

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

A Great Day at Haylands

Many thanks to Palaka for a fascinating day of Dharma study and reflective mediation at Haylands on Sunday. Palaka's theme for the day was the six realms of existence as depicted in the (Tibetan) "Wheel of Life". He explained the wheel primarily from the perspective of us all finding ourselves in one, or several, of the realms every day and emphasised the presence of the Buddha in all of the realms showing a way out of each of them.

For an informative, interactive version of the wheel of becoming goto  "Interactive Wheel of Life"

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Buddhism is fastest-growing religion in English jails over past decade

I came across this article from the Telegraph by Martin Beckford dated the 5th of August. As you may know the Isle of Wight is home to three prisons (soon to be four), the most famous being Parkhurst.

Buddhism is the fastest-growing religion in England's jails, with the number of followers rising eightfold over the past decade.

Although adherents to the Eastern faith believe in peace and the sanctity of life, almost all of the Buddhists behind bars in this country are serving lengthy sentences for serious crimes such as violence and sex offences.

Some jails and secure hospitals including Broadmoor have opened shrines known as Buddha Groves in their grounds, and there is a nationwide network of chaplains to cater for the growing population.

It is claimed that most of the Buddhists in jail converted after their conviction, and chose it over other religions because its emphasis on meditation helps them cope with being locked up.

Supporters of Buddhist criminals say they also believe the spiritual development they gain in prison will help them once they are released, and prevent them from re-offending.

Lord Avebury, a Liberal Democrat peer who is the patron of Angulimala, the Buddhist Prison Chaplaincy Organisation, told The Daily Telegraph: "The numbers are quite remarkable. I think one of the reasons is that they convert to Buddhism in prison – it's a reasonable hypothesis that they become interested when inside.

"I think it does enable people to come to terms with their situation. Buddhism gets people away from the idea of material ambitions, and if people are in prison they can't go for those goals anyway.

"You do have more time to reflect and meditate in jail, and get away from the idea of self."

He went on: "My inclination would be to say it must help people after they leave jail. The whole idea of Buddhism is not to cause harm to anybody, and the person who persists in their faith is likely to be totally recast in their life and must be less likely to re-offend." Read More...... 

Also check out "Who was that Mystery Man".