Tuesday, 30 October 2012

FULL MOON - Tuesday 30th October 2012

There is no fear if the heart
is uncontaminated by the passions
and the mind is free from ill-will.
Seeing beyond good and evil, one is awake.

Dhammapada v. 39

The idea of fearlessness is deeply appealing. However, rather than seeing it as a remote goal somewhere out there, could we consider it as the most natural state within? From such a perspective, the states of fear we regularly endure can be considered as unnatural; not who and what we are. Surely it is unawareness that allows greed and resentment to contaminate our hearts, giving rise to fear. If we further add fuel to these fires thinking, 'It shouldn't be this way', this doesn't help. What does help is to make the right kind of effort to develop awareness and trust in the Buddha's Awakening.

With Metta, Bhikkhu Munindo

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Talks by Ayya Khema

I occasionally get visitors to this site who have searched for "Talks by Ayya Khema". She is one of my favourite teachers and is sadly missed.

All of her recorded talks are now available on Dharma Seed at this link Talks by Ayya Khema.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Meteorite Buddhist Statue a Fake

You may have seen the story of a priceless Buddhist statue looted by the Nazis in Tibet in the 1930s that was carved from a meteorite which crashed to the Earth 15,000 years ago. The relic bears a Buddhist swastika on its belly – an ancient symbol of luck that was later appropriated, and reversed, by the Nazis in Germany.

There were only, it turns out, a few slight catches. According to two experts who have since given their verdict on the mysterious Iron Man, it may have been a European counterfeit; it was probably made at some point in the 20th century; and it may well not have been looted by the Nazis. The bit about the meteorite, though, still stands.

According to Buddhism specialist Achim Bayer, the statue bears 13 features which are easily identifiable by experts as "pseudo-Tibetan" – and which sit uneasily with speculation by researchers last month that it was probably made in the 11th-century pre-Buddhist Bon culture.

These include the 24cm-high statue's shoes, trousers and hand positioning, as well as the fact that the buddha has a full beard rather than the "rather thin" facial hair usually given to a deity in Tibetan and Mongolian art. In his report, Bayer says he believes the statue to be a European counterfeit made sometime between 1910 and 1970.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Dalai Lama "Swears"

An audience of students at Brown University in Rhode Island, were surprised when at the end of a speech on world peace, the Dalai Lama appeared to utter the "F" word.

The Buddhist spiritual leader's thick Tibetan accent led to confusion at the end of his talk when he pronounced "forget" in his traditional manner, but the crowd burst into laughter— they thought he swore, saying "f--- it."

Caption screens in the auditorium were showing subtitles of the event, and a stenographer transcribing the speech also appeared to think His Holiness had uttered the words, 'F**k it'.

The exiled Tibetan leader was in fact urging listeners to share his thoughts with others if they found them interesting. If not, he said, they could “forget.”

'If you feel these points are not much relevant - not much interest - then forget.'

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

British Troops Converting to Buddhism

Buddhism is experiencing a huge upswing in the armed forces, according to reports. Since 2005, the number of servicemen and women practising Buddhism has risen from 200 to 3,800. Out of which 2,800 are Gurkhas, whose home nation Nepal has pockets of Buddhism, the Daily Mail reported.

And the other 1,000 are British, many of whom converted after joining military service.

It is thought that the reason behind this upward swing is that Buddhism allows service personnel to escape the stresses and strains of military life.

"Buddhism has a different perspective about things," Dr Sunil Kariyakarawana, the Buddhist chaplain for the armed forces, said.

"The military is a very stressful place. People go to war, that is one factor, and have to fight. Personnel see a lot of suffering in theatre. People are finding that Buddhism can help with these mental agonies.
"It is laid back and they can practise their own way," he added.

Monday, 15 October 2012

NEW MOON - Monday 15th October 2012

Do not rest contented because you keep all the rules and regulations, nor because you achieve great learning.

Do not feel satisfied because you attain meditative absorption, nor because you can dwell in the bliss of solitude.

Only when you arrive at the complete eradication of all ignorance and conceit should you be content.

Dhammapada v. 271-72

Reading or hearing such profound teaching might give rise to a sense of urgency in practice - or it might cause us to give up because we feel we can’t do it. How we engage ideals determines whether we are strengthened or weakened by them. The ideals themselves are not responsible. It matters that our ideals accord with Truth, but it also matters that we don’t mistake an image of the goal for the goal itself. The Buddha wanted us to aim high; as high as can be and then further, but he didn’t want us to grasp the ideal and ignore our lowliness. The image of the goal offers direction, like a compass - and of course, we don’t spend all our time looking at the compass. So long as we are heading in the right direction, we practise with 'this', which is directly in front of us.

With Metta, Bhikkhu Munindo

Monday, 8 October 2012

Buddha in New York

Floating off shore at Socrates Sculpture Park in New York, is a 10-foot high inflatable statue of the Buddha.

The art installation, titled “Floating Echo,” is by the Korean artist Chang-Jin Lee and will be on display in the East River until March the 3rd, 2013.

According to Sharon Otterman in the New York Times, people are definitely noticing the Buddha image, Brian Polanco said, “In the background, you see the whole entire city, and he’s just quietly sitting on the water. It puts some perspective on things.”

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Temples and Homes Burned

Late Saturday there were a series of arson attacks on Buddhist Temples and homes in Bangladesh, near the southern border with Myanmar. At least 20 people were injured in the attacks.

The violence followed the posting of a Facebook photo of a burned copy of the Quran. The rioters blamed the photo on a local Buddhist boy, the boy said that the photo was mistakenly tagged on his Facebook profile.

Following on from the recent violent demonstrations over an amateurish video denigrating the prophet Mohammed it would be all too easy to dismiss this as just another example of senseless religious aggression against "the other". However, it is obvious that the indignation felt by Muslims has much deeper roots than the perceived offensiveness of a picture of a burning book or a tasteless movie.

The film, "Innocence of Muslims", an anti-Islam video was apparently made by an Egyptian-American based in Los Angeles, one Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, reportedly a Coptic Christian. It's the American connection that's most significant here. America's military involvement with the Islamic world, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan etc. and it's continued support of Israel is hated by large numbers of Muslims who, as a result, are all too ready to see such nonsense as this pathetic film as being part of an orchestrated attack on Islam and to react in what they perceive as the only way open to them.

The same is true of the violence against Buddhists in Bangladesh where there has been heightened tension following violence over the border in Myanmar (Burma), between the predominantly Buddhist Rakhine and the Rohingya – a Muslim minority with South Asian features, in Arakan province during early June.