Friday, 27 September 2013

Film About the Ordination of Women Within Buddhism

You may remember a story that we posted back in January 2011 entitled "Bhikkhuni: Revival of the Women's Order", a documentary film which saught to explore the issue of female ordination in Buddhism, and shed some light on the injustices which were, and are, occurring within the tradition."

Filmmaker Wiriya Sati has announced the online release of "The Buddha’s Forgotten Nuns", as the film is now called. Ten years in the making, the documentary explores the attempts to revive the order of bhikkhunis, or fully ordained nuns, created by Shakyamuni Buddha more than 2,500 years ago. Asking two questions — “Is Buddhism a religious movement based on equality? Or is it rooted in a male-dominated culture found in most other world religions?” — Sati travels throughout Asia and the West, discovering both intractable conservatism and those intent on pushing beyond cultural barriers. The Buddha’s Forgotten Nuns is being made available to stream and download at Vimeo on Demand.

The Buddha's Forgotten Nuns from Bhikkhuni Documentary on Vimeo.

Monday, 23 September 2013

Belgium Boy Banned from Becoming Buddhist Monk in India

A 15-year-old Belgium boy who wants to be a Buddhist monk, is to appeal against the youth magistrate's ruling banning him from leaving the country to start training in India.

Giel from Sint-Laureins in East Flanders attracted the attention of Ghent public prosecutors when he announced his intention on independent TV.

The East Fleming hopes to embark on training to become a monk in a monastery on the border with Tibet. The training will last for 15 years. Giel wants to make a radical break with western life. He told VRT Radio that this was his choice: "The idea came to me when I was six. I cried to have a monk's robes."

Giel opted to train in India and not in Belgium because he could then devote all his time to his studies. Lessons are taught in Tibetan, but that shouldn't be a problem because Giel is already busy learning the language.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

FULL MOON – Thursday 19th September 2013

Whoever is intent on goodness
should know this: 
a lack of self-restraint is disastrous. 
Do not allow greed and misconduct 
to prolong your misery. 

Dhammapada v. 248

The Buddha knows life is not always easy. He knows that even the practice of observing precepts can be difficult. The story associated with this verse involves a group of five lay disciples who are each observing one or two of the five Buddhist precepts. They each insist that theirs is the most difficult to cultivate and therefore, by implication, the most worthy. Arguing amongst themselves they approach the Buddha. Each disciple wants the Buddha to praise their own practice and support the fact that the precepts they are keeping are most important. Instead, the Teacher admonishes them, saying none of the five is easy to keep, nor are any of them unimportant and that everyone should train themselves in all five.

With Metta,
Bhikkhu Munindo

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Buddhist Picnic

It's becoming a tradition that it pours down for the annual Buddhist picnic and this year was no different. However for those few brave souls who made it to the Duver in St. Helens there was a clear (ish) slot in the weather for us to enjoy the event.

As always this is a great chance to meet up socially with people from the other Buddhist groups on the island and was enjoyed by new members and those for whom it was their first visit to the Duver venue. Being my first visit, it was a relief to find the "famous" oak tree which is the meeting point, it's not very big but it's the only one managing to grow on the sandy spit that is the Duver.

Some of the hardy picnickers, we did get some strange looks from passersby but hey, we're British!

Monday, 9 September 2013

A Benefit to Suffering?

This from the New York Times...................

Hundreds of Syrians are apparently killed by chemical weapons, and the attempt to protect
others from that fate threatens to kill many more. A child perishes with her mother in a tornado in Oklahoma, the month after an 8-year-old is slain by a bomb in Boston. Runaway trains claim dozens of lives in otherwise placid Canada and Spain. At least 46 people are killed in a string of coordinated bombings aimed at an ice cream shop, bus station and famous restaurant in Baghdad. Does the torrent of suffering ever abate — and can one possibly find any point in suffering?

Wise men in every tradition tell us that suffering brings clarity, illumination; for the Buddha, suffering is the first rule of life, and insofar as some of it arises from our own wrongheadedness — our cherishing of self — we have the cure for it within. Thus in certain cases, suffering may be an effect, as well as a cause, of taking ourselves too seriously. I once met a Zen-trained painter in Japan, in his 90s, who told me that suffering is a privilege, it moves us toward thinking about essential things and shakes us out of shortsighted complacency; when he was a boy, he said, it was believed you should pay for suffering, it proves such a hidden blessing.

Yet none of that begins to apply to a child gassed to death (or born with AIDS or hit by a “limited strike”). Philosophy cannot cure a toothache, and the person who starts going on about its long-term benefits may induce a headache, too. Anyone who’s been close to a loved one suffering from depression knows that the vicious cycle behind her condition means that, by definition, she can’t hear the logic or reassurances we extend to her; if she could, she wouldn’t be suffering from depression.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

NEW MOON - Wednesday 4th September 2013


The protected and guarded mind
leads to ease of being.
Though subtle, elusive and hard to see,
one who is alert should tend and watch over this mind.

Dhammapada v. 36

When we watch over this heart/mind we cultivate inner light. When light in our outer world is dim, we are inclined to trip over things. Perhaps we mistake a piece of rope for a snake and run away in a completely unnecessary panic. A lack of inner illumination similarly causes us to react in crazy ways, destroying our heart’s natural sense of ease. It is because we don’t see states of mind clearly that we react and make things worse. For example, perhaps we feel hurt by something which happened years ago and have dwelt on bitterness ever since because we didn’t see the truth of our reaction.

Forgiveness is not a synthetic virtue with which to paste over our bruises. Although the memory of what happened might remain, we always have the choice of whether or not to invest that memory with resentment. This practice is subtle and hard to see but it is worth the effort.

With Metta,
Bhikkhu Munindo