Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Buddhists Walk the Wight

Mark and Angie from the Lake Buddhist group are doing the first half of Walk the Wight this year to raise funds for the Earl Mountbatten Hospice. If you want to sponsor them go to their JustGiving page.

Walk the Wight 2012 takes place on Sunday 13th May.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Note - Change to Site Appearance

I've noticed that most visitors are now viewing in wide screen so I've adjusted the width of our site accordingly, any problems please comment.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Happy Earth Day!

For those of you who don't already now today is Earth Day, your chance to be mindful of the planet that we share with countless other beings.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

U.S. Nuns Reprimanded

Now here's a story that might sound familiar.......

The Vatican has appointed an American bishop to rein in the largest and most influential group of Catholic nuns in the United States, saying that an investigation found that the group had “serious doctrinal problems.”

The Vatican’s assessment, issued on Wednesday, said that members of the group, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, had challenged church teaching on homosexuality and the male-only priesthood, and promoted “radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith.”

Monday, 16 April 2012

More Dead Horses...................

The deaths of two horses at Saturday's Grand Nation once again highlight the amount of suffering the horses have to endure.

"Sprawled on the ground, limbs tangled, necks wrenched at agonising angles, the photographs of the fallen horses at Saturday’s Grand National were painful even to look at. Yet millions take pleasure in this cruel spectacle." Emma Milne, the Mail online

If this isn't shocking enough the situation in the U.S. is even worst on average, 24 horses die each week at racetracks across America.

In one 13-day stretch of racing in 2010 at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino in New Mexico, nine horses died racing, five were hauled away in ambulances and two jockeys were hospitalised, one in critical condition. 

“It’s hard to justify how many horses we go through,” said Dr. Rick Arthur, the equine medical director for the California Racing Board. “In humans you never see someone snap their leg off running in the Olympics. But you see it in horse racing.”

Yet it's not only the horses that suffer in this "sport"................

Friday, 13 April 2012

Every Time a Good Time

The Zen master Wumen Huikai once wrote, 'A hundred flowers blossom in spring, the moon shines in autumn, there is a fresh breeze in summer, and there is snow in winter. If your mind isn’t occupied with trivial matters, every time is a good time.'

Coincidently, the latest addition to our video library here at the West Wight Sangha is "Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... and Spring" by the South Korean director Kim Ki-duk. about a Buddhist monastery that floats on a lake in a pristine forest. The story is about the life of a Buddhist monk as he passes through the seasons of his life, from childhood to old age.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Hanamatsuri, Japan Celebrates the Buddha's Birth with Flowers

Today is the Japanese Flower Festival or Hanamatsuri, a celebration of the Buddha's birthday. The date of the Buddha’s birth varies from one tradition or school of Buddhism to another. According to the Japanese, Buddha was born on the eighth day of the fourth month of the traditional Chinese calendar, and although this date will vary on the international calendar, the Japanese have translated the date to the 8th of April. The nature of the festival varies greatly from region to region, and often appears to have the characteristics of older spring festivals: driving out devils or praying for the coming harvest.

Friday, 6 April 2012

Full MOON - Friday 6th April 2012

Like an elephant in battle
withstands arrows,
I choose to endure
verbal attacks from others.

Dhammapada v.320

When the going gets tough we are free to make the choice to endure, if
we wish. Or, we could choose to react. Nobody outside of ourselves has
the authority to force us in either direction. At times, when our
untrained habits of reactivity flare up, it can certainly feel like
someone or something else is in charge. We say, 'I was taken over by
something', or 'I was besides myself', which means I lost perspective.
The Buddha never lost perspective. This is not to say he didn't have
to deal with some serious unpleasantness. He did. And he made the
choice to endure it rather than react. He was fully aware – fully
awake to reality – and he knew he had the authority to make that
choice. It helps us to consider that we have it too.

With Metta,

Bhikkhu Munindo

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

How Western Buddhism has Changed in 50 Years

Here at the West Wight Sangha we describe ourselves as being "non-denominational", it would be just as valid to use the term "multi-denominational". This is the stage that Western Buddhism has reached in it's evolution towards distinctiveness.

The following is an article from the Guardian by Vishvapani Blomfield on precisely this theme.......

A western Buddhist shares 10 insights into how the religion and its followers have moved on since its arrival in the west....

It's 50 years since Buddhist teachers started arriving in the west in the early 60s and Buddhism crash-landed into the counterculture. So what have we learned about western Buddhism?

1. It's not all about enlightenment. Many who found Buddhism in the 60s saw nirvana as the ultimate peak experience. A decade later these recovering hippies were painfully finding out that Buddhism is more concerned with reshaping character and behaviour than big, mystical experiences. Younger Buddhists are often more fired by social action than mysticism.

2. It doesn't focus on monks. In most Asian countries Buddhist monks are the real practitioners, focusing on meditation and study while lay people support them. Distinctions between monks and lay people does not fit in with modern society and western monastic orders are relatively scarce. Non-monastic practitioners are often very serious and they power the various Buddhist movements.

3. Tibetan Buddhism has baggage. Tibetan lamas arriving in the 1970s seemed to fulfil our Shangri-La fantasies. But, along with inspiration and wisdom, they also brought sectarian disputes, shamanism, the "reincarnate lama" (tulku) system, tantric practices and deep conservatism. Westerners love Tibetans, but we notice the baggage.

4. The schools are mixing together. Most Asian Buddhist teachers assumed they would establish their existing schools in western countries. Hence we have western Zen, western Theravada etc. But the boundaries are breaking down as western Buddhists, motivated by common needs, explore the whole Buddhist tradition. The emerging western Buddhist world is essentially non-denominational.