Wednesday, 31 March 2010

More on "Nun" Ordinations at Amaravati

Further to our recent post "Siladhara Pabbajja, or "Nuns’ Ordination" at Amaravati" we now learn, according to Thanissara, "that the new nuns were asked to agree to the 5 points - which were unexpectedly included at the end of the ordination ceremony. It was clear that this was a shock to some of the older nuns who had no idea they were going to be put into the ceremony."

The "Five Points" are:-

1. The structural relationship as indicated by the Vinaya of the Bhikkhu Sangha to the Siladhara Sangha is one of seniority, such as the most junior bhikkhu is senior to the most senior siladhara. As this relationship of seniority is defined over time it is not subject to change.

2. In line with this, in ritual situations where both bhikkhu and siladhara - such as giving anumodana and precepts - leading the chanting or giving a talk - is always presumed to rest with the senior bhikkhu present. He may in some cases invite a senior siladhara to lead. Yet if this is a regular invitation it does not imply a new standard of shared leadership.

3. The Bhikkhu sangha will be responsible for the pabbajja (ordination) the way Ajahn Sumedho has been in the past. The siladhara look to the Bhikkhu sangha for ordination and guidance rather than exclusively Ajahn Sumedho. A candidate for siladhara should seek approval from the Siladhara Sangha and then receive acceptance by the Bhikkhu sangha as represented by those Bhikkhus who sit on the elder council

4. The formal ritual of giving pavarana (invitation for feed back) by the Siladhara Sangha to the Bhikkhu Sangha should take place at the end of Vassa as it has in our communities traditionally: according to the structure of the Vinaya (NB - this excludes any possibility of the Bhikkhu sangha inviting feed back from the Siladhara sangha)

5. The Siladhara training is considered to be a vehicle already suitable for the realization for liberation, and is respected as such within our tradition. It is offered as a complete training as it stands, and it is not a step to a different form, such as Bhikkhuni Ordination.

You might also like to check-out Ajahn Sujato's  piece "A recent Siladhara ordination"

Monday, 29 March 2010

Flag Raising Ceremonies Mark 51st Anniversary of "Emancipation of Tibetan Serfs"

Yet another story of how the Chinese military occupation of their country has been for the Tibetans own good.

From the Peoples Daily........ (click the link to see the rest of the propaganda piece, we don't censor things)

"Flag raising ceremonies were held across Tibet Autonomous Region Sunday to commemorate the 51st anniversary of the emancipation of serfs.

The national flag was hoisted against the backdrop of the grand Potala Palace at about 10 a.m. as more than 3,000 representatives from all walks of life sang the national anthem.

"There is an overt contrast between today's equality among Tibetan people and the old Tibet where human rights were bloodily abused," said Party chief in Lhasa, Qin Yizhi, after the flag was raised."

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Siladhara Pabbajja, or "Nuns’ Ordination" at Amaravati

Today, the 28th March 2010, there will be a Siladhara Pabbajja, or "Nuns’ Ordination" at Amaravati.

Anagarika Miriam and Anagarika Soledad will approach the Sangha to request the Going Forth, with Venerable Ajahn Sumedho as Preceptor.

It's good to see more women "going forth" but sad that this is still limited and not an ordination of full Bhikkhunis. Yet it's worth remembering that the women would not even be given this status if not for Ajahn Sumedho.

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Earth Hour Tonight!

Today is when the WWF's Earth Hour arrives. Here in the UK Earth hour is between 8:30 & 9:30 p.m. and it's the same time wherever you are, it just keeps moving around the planet.

You can Sign up to show that you care about people, wildlife and the planet, and that you want the world’s leaders to take action to tackle climate change. Today, Saturday 27 March 2010 at 8.30pm, people, businesses and iconic buildings around the world will switch off their lights for an hour, the Queen and the PM are doing their bit, Buckingham Palace, Windsor, Holyrood and Number 10 will all switch to candlelight at 8:30 p.m. – WWF’s Earth Hour.

Buddhism is all about compassion, for all beings.... for the entire planet wide interconnected web of life.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Buddhist "Thought for the Day" Censored?

Something strange has been happening at the Beeb in relation to the latest Buddhist "Thoughts for The Day". The podcast of Vishvapani's broadcast for Saturday the 13th of March cut off after just a few seconds. I've contacted the BBC about this but have, to date, not received a reply. The podcast for his talk on the 20th did, however, arrive safely in one piece, so here it is.......

And here's the text for the "missing" broadcast of the 13th.

Thought for the Day, 13 March 2010


On your way through the town centre you catch the eye of a young man wearing a fluorescent top emblazoned with the name of a well-known charity. You try to avoid his gaze, but he steps right into your path, smiling broadly and holding out a brochure. A flurry of thoughts goes through your head. They want your money. You don't have time. In any case, whatever you give is eaten up by bureaucracy and corruption. Just look at the alleged scandals about Live Aid money.

Despite the fact that charities hotly contest the accusations that were made this week, such stories have an effect. On one hand, they check the naive belief that it's straightforward to get help to victims of a disaster; but they also reinforce our cynicism. They give us the relief of having a reason to say no.

Although I don't like being stopped by on-street fundraisers, I sympathise with them. Some years ago, I spent eight weeks going door-to-door asking for regular donations to a charity. It was one of the hardest things I've ever done because asking again and again meant getting rejection after rejection. But that was offset by the good-heartedness of the people I met, which I often sensed, whether or not they actually gave something. I saw the value of a generous attitude, and realised that a gift benefits the donor as well as the recipient.

According to Buddhism's Four Noble Truths, the origin of suffering is craving. Turning that around, happiness comes from contentment and generosity. That's why giving is the most fundamental Buddhist practice. It expresses a healthy attitude to life because it connects you to others. It recognizes that we depend on other people. And if you want to create a better society, Buddhism says, you should give, because a good society is a generous one in which people care for each other.

There are endless reasons not to give, and if you wait for a moment of spontaneous generosity, it may never come. An alternative is to think of giving as a practice you can undertake whether you feel like it or not. We tend to think that giving means donating money, but you can also give time and energy, or be like Walt Whitman who said: "Behold, I do not give lectures or a little charity, When I give I give myself." You can give kindness, or affection or, come to think of it, you can give a Mother's Day card.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

More Bhikkuni News - not good

I've just come across this latest news re: the Bhikkhuni situation with regard to the U.K. monasteries of the Thai Forest tradition. This is from Thanissara writing on the "Women and the Forest Sangha" Facebook group......

Regards web communication. Those who are corresponding with monastics within the UK based monasteries that have the address should be aware that the correspondence is not private - those who signed the petition as monastics within the UK have been subjected to reprisals from within the system. One should use other emails addresses (not for correspondence with monastics in the UK so as not to complicate their situation.

Sad, so very sad........

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Another "Quote that I like"

"The true value of a human being is determined primarily by the measure and the sense in which he has attained to liberation from the self." - Einstein

In Buddhism the entire idea of self is seen as an illusion, one which causes immeasurable suffering; this false idea gives rise to the consequent tendency to try to protect the self or ego and to preserve its interests, which is futile since nothing is permanent anyway.