Tuesday, 19 February 2019

FULL MOON - Addicted to Distraction - MAGHA PUJA

Like a fish which on being dragged
from its home in the water
and tossed on dry land
will thrash about,
so will the heart tremble
when withdrawing
from the current of Mara.

Dhammapada v.34

When we find life agreeable we tend to think ‘this is the way things should always be’. Of course part of us knows life can't always be agreeable, however habits of unawareness cause us to forget. When we forget, we believe in assumptions about how things should be and lose perspective on how things actually are. One way of understanding what the Buddha calls ‘the current of Mara’ is just these habits of unawareness. When we are not careful we become distracted by assumptions and fantasies and these distractions turn into habits which can be hard to let go of. So if our commitment to the spiritual work finds us feeling challenged, even trembling, let’s not automatically assume something is going wrong. Withdrawing from an addiction to distraction is hard work, however, thankfully there are many who have walked this way ahead of us and shown that it is worthwhile.

Monday, 18 February 2019

The Donald Awakes

As regular readers will know I usually tiptoe around politics, it's not what we are about, but I couldn't resist posting this image...................

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Hacking Happiness

In case you missed it when it first came out, there is still time to catch Existential Cool - Buddhism and the Art of Acceptance, which is part of the Radio 4 series Hacking Happiness.

Sounds, the new radio version of the BBC iPlayer, does not provide as many podcasts as before so you need to listen direct at https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/b0b9z64f

Forget self-actualisation, does true happiness, Nirvana, come from dissolving the self? 

This episode was recorded on location at Plum Village Buddhist Monastery near Bordeaux, France, set up by Thich Nhat Hahn, the monk who persuaded Martin Luther King to oppose the Vietnam War. We meet the Brothers and Sisters of Plum Village including Sister True Dedication, Brother Phap Ung and Sister Trenian and, at the Happy Farm, we meet Brother Simon.

Tuesday, 5 February 2019

Happy 4717, Happy Losar - 2146

Well, it's Chinese New year, the year of the pig and it's 4717. Although the People’s Republic of China uses the Gregorian calendar for civil purposes, a special Chinese calendar is used for determining festivals and the traditional New Year.

The beginnings of the Chinese calendar can be traced back to the 14th century B.C.E. Legend has it that the Emperor Huangdi invented the calendar in 2637 B.C.E.

A quick bit of maths shows that the Chinese calendar has drifted from the Gregorian calendar and this is because the Chinese calendar is a combined solar/lunar calendar in that it strives to have its years coincide with the tropical year and its months coincide with the synodic months. An ordinary year has 12 months, a leap year has 13 months and an ordinary year has 353, 354, or 355 days, a leap year has 383, 384, or 385 days.

In Tibet where the calendar is related to the Chinese calendar, it's the year of the Female Earth Pig or 2146.