Tuesday, 19 June 2012

NEW MOON - Tuesday 19th June 2012

Though one may know much about Dhamma,
if one does not live accordingly  -
like a cowherd who covets another's cattle  - one experiences none of the benefits of walking the Way.

Dhammapada v. 19

Though we may own the latest, high-speed, high-definition computer, if we don’t learn how to use that computer, it is of little value to us.
The message of this teaching is that, while it matters what we think and believe, it matters more how we live out the teachings in our actions of body, speech and mind i.e. how we practise. If we’ve been educated in the skill of using our minds to think, we are fortunate.
Our task now is how to develop this ability to think ‘about’ things until it leads us to ‘know’ things. The Buddha didn’t want us simply to settle for being able to recite scriptures and work our prayer beads, he wanted us to be able to let go of wrong thinking and really ‘know’ abiding peace. This, surely, should be our goal.

With Metta,

Bhikkhu Munindo

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Daw Suu's Speech, the Video

And here's the video of Aung San Suu Kyi's Noble prize acceptance speech.

Aung San Suu Kyi's Acceptance Speech (Full Text)

Also see Daw Suu's Speech, the Video

"Your Majesties, Your Royal Highness, Excellencies, Distinguished members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, Dear Friends,

Long years ago, sometimes it seems many lives ago, I was at Oxford listening to the radio programme Desert Island Discs with my young son Alexander. It was a well-known programme (for all I know it still continues) on which famous people from all walks of life were invited to talk about the eight discs, the one book beside the bible and the complete works of Shakespeare, and the one luxury item they would wish to have with them were they to be marooned on a desert island. At the end of the programme, which we had both enjoyed, Alexander asked me if I thought I might ever be invited to speak on Desert Island Discs. “Why not?” I responded lightly. Since he knew that in general only celebrities took part in the programme he proceeded to ask, with genuine interest, for what reason I thought I might be invited. I considered this for a moment and then answered: “Perhaps because I’d have won the Nobel Prize for literature,” and we both laughed. The prospect seemed pleasant but hardly probable.

(I cannot now remember why I gave that answer, perhaps because I had recently read a book by a Nobel Laureate or perhaps because the Desert Island celebrity of that day had been a famous writer.)

In 1989, when my late husband Michael Aris came to see me during my first term of house arrest, he told me that a friend, John Finnis, had nominated me for the Nobel Peace Prize. This time also I laughed. For an instant Michael looked amazed, then he realized why I was amused. The Nobel Peace Prize? A pleasant prospect, but quite improbable! So how did I feel when I was actually awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace? The question has been put to me many times and this is surely the most appropriate occasion on which to examine what the Nobel Prize means to me and what peace means to me.

As I have said repeatedly in many an interview, I heard the news that I had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on the radio one evening. It did not altogether come as a surprise because I had been mentioned as one of the frontrunners for the prize in a number of broadcasts during the previous week. While drafting this lecture, I have tried very hard to remember what my immediate reaction to the announcement of the award had been. I think, I can no longer be sure, it was something like: “Oh, so they’ve decided to give it to me.” It did not seem quite real because in a sense I did not feel myself to be quite real at that time.

Friday, 15 June 2012

China Bullies Leeds over Dalai Lama

Following hot on the heels of yesterday's story "Tourists Banned from Tibet" comes news that China has been accused of bullying after it threatened to pull its Olympic athletes out of their training camp in Leeds because of a visit to the city by the Dalai Lama.

The Tibetan spiritual leader was due to address a business convention on Friday, but it has been claimed that Chinese officials have requested that the event be cancelled.

Fabian Hamilton, the Labour MP for Leeds North East and chairman of the all-party parliamentary group for Tibet, described the reported demand as "bully-boy tactics".

He told the BBC: "I find it distasteful, to say the least, that two representatives of a country whose human rights record is appalling, where freedom of speech is not allowed and where there is no real democracy, come to the city of Leeds and tell our elected officials … that they can't do what they think is best for the city under pain of economic sanction."

Asked whether the Dalai Lama's visit to Leeds would have any impact on China's participation in the Olympics, a foreign ministry spokesman in Beijing said: "We hope the British side stop making mistakes again and again, which undermine China's interests. China-UK relations have been affected by the recent meeting between the British leader and the Dalai Lama. The responsibility lies with the British side."

About 300 athletes, coaches and support staff representing China are due to be based in the West Yorkshire city to prepare for the Games.

Leeds council distanced itself from the convention but said it was aware of “sensitivities” around the event.

Tom Riordan, chief executive of the council, said: “The Yorkshire International Business Convention is a private event not organised by Leeds City Council.

“Whilst we are aware of some sensitivities around this year’s convention, as it is not a council event we do not feel it is appropriate for us to make any further comment.”

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Tourists Banned from Tibet

Several travel agencies in China have recently said that foreigners were banned from traveling to the Tibet Autonomous Region, the Chinese name for central Tibet, for at least June.

The agencies said they had been told of the ban recently. One agency said the ban was expected to last until September, while another said there was a chance the ban could be lifted by July.

In late May, two Tibetans set themselves on fire in front of the Jokhang, the holiest temple of Tibetan Buddhism, in the center of Lhasa, the Tibetan capital, to protest Chinese rule. One man died. Those self-immolations were among at least 38 that have taken place in Tibetan regions since 2009.

Foreigners were barred from Tibet from late February to early April, a period that coincided with the anniversary of large protests against Chinese rule.

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.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

FULL MOON - Monday 4th June 2012

When we appreciate fully
the benefit of our own pure deeds
we are filled with joy;
here and hereafter there is a celebration of joy.

Dhammapada 16

Our initial understanding of the Buddha's teachings might cause us to think we must try to avoid grasping at all times. A more subtle understanding reveals an impurity in that effort: grasping at an ideal that we mustn’t grasp. This is not wrong, it is just an initial approach, and if we are practicing well, we will come to see it doesn’t lead to freedom from suffering. When we begin to really let go of grasping – including the grasping at our precious ideals – what disappears is not our wholesome aspirations, but our ignorance of the here-and-now reality. We start to appreciate that when joy arises we can go with it, fully. And when sorrow arises we can accept it, fully, and learn something more about life. We learn by observing the effect of our habits of grasping, which is different from merely idealizing about not-grasping. And we can trust that the integrity which comes from observing the precepts will take care of us. To the degree we cease ignoring the truth of this moment we feel able to fully give ourselves into this moment.

With Metta,

Bhikkhu Munindo

Friday, 1 June 2012

Tibetan Mother of Three Burns herself to Death Protesting Chinese Rule

Two days ago a mother of three became the latest Tibetan to self-immolate to protest Chinese rule reports said while authorities have rounded up hundreds of people after two men set themselves alight in front of Tibet's main temple.

The woman, identified as 33-year-old Rechok, set herself on fire outside a Buddhist monastery Wednesday afternoon in an ethnically Tibetan region of western Sichuan province, according to London-based Free Tibet and U.S. government-backed broadcaster Radio Free Asia.

They said she died at the scene and her body was being kept at the temple for cremation.

That would mark at least the 35th Tibetan self-immolation since March of last year to draw attention to China's restrictions on Buddhism and call for the return from exile of the Dalai Lama.

Hundreds of people have been detained in Lhasa after two men set themselves on fire in the Tibetan capital. Radio Free Asia said Chinese security forces had rounded up hundreds of residents and pilgrims in the wake of Sunday's incident, the first major protest in the heavily-guarded city since deadly anti-government riots in 2008.

iPhone App for Dharma Seed

The good folk over at Dharma Seed have produced an iPhone App so that you can now access your favourite Dharma speakers on the move.

This app is freely available and is intended to extend the reach of the extensive Dharma Seed talk archive. It is available in the iPhone app store.

Listen to talks over Wi-Fi or a 3G connection.
View recent talks.
View talks by teacher.
View teacher information.

See recently played talks.
Search for talks by keyword.
Supports iPhone 3GS and greater as well as iPod Touch 3rd Generation and greater.

Get your app HERE .................