Monday, September 22, 2014

Archaeologists Unearth Remains of Buddhist Stupa at Bhimeswara Temple

By P Laxma Reddy, New Indian Express, August 23, 2014

VIJAYAWADA, India -- In an important excavation executed by the Archaeology Department after finding a wall at Bhimeswara temple at Chebrolu village in Guntur district, the officials have unearthed six railing posts of the Buddhist Stupa and several other precious remains.
<< Bhimeswara Temple where the excavation was carried out at Chebrolu in Guntur district | EXPRESS PHOTO
It may be recalled that the a brick alignment (wall) was unearthed on August 12 while digging on the southern side of the Bhimeswara Temple premises as a part of the temple renovation works taken up by the Archaeology Department. Following this, a team of officials of the Archaeology Department including assistant director K Chitti Babu, deputy executive engineer Koteswaran and technical assistant B Deepak Joe visited the place on August 16 and decided to explore the site further, anticipating some valuable remains there.After the excavation, they have found the railing posts depicting Lotus Medallions and a row of animals. They also found a sculpture in which Bodhisattva is seen worshipped by a group of devotees,  an image of a mystical animal and a ‘Yaksha’ on these posts.
“We have also found a sculpture in which the devotees are seen worshipping a Stupa by garlanding it, and large bricks (52 x 27 x 8cm size) at the site,” said Chitti Babu and added that an inscription of temple in Telugu-Kannada language has also been found.
“But this inscription belongs to medieval times when Telugu and Kannada languages had one script. A Buddhist pillar has been flattened to make this inscription,” he said.
Chebrolu was a territorial capital at that time. The remains found at the temple might belong to 1st or 2nd century AD, according to the officials.
When asked about taking up further excavation at the site, the officials said that they do not have any such plans right now.
Buddhism flourished during the Satavahana and Ikshvaku dynasties as they have patronised the religion. But the rise of Vishunkundinis (Vaishnavaites), Pallavas (Shaivites) and Eastern Gangas (Shaivites) has helped Hinduism revive itself and so Buddhism disappeared in these areas. The Buddhist sites have turned into Hindu temples.
Meanwhile, the Union government has sanctioned `1.48 crore grants from the 13th Finance Commission for the renovation of  Bhimeswara temple, Adikeswara  temple, Nageswara temple and Chaturmukha Brahma temple.
A Crucible of Buddhism
Chebrolu is an ancient village located about 17 km from Guntur. It is situated on a large mound, the excavation of which revealed several terracotta figures and Roman coins. Its ancient name was Sambhole (from which ‘Chebrolu’ is derived).
The Brahmalingeswara Chaturmuka Brahma temple has a small shrine situated in the middle of the temple tank. The main deity is a Siva Lingam, which has four images of ‘Brahma’ carved on its sides.
As many as six Stupa posts have been unearthed at the site.
The officials say that they may not take up further excavation at the site.
Remnants of a Buddhist monastery, dating back to pre-Satavahana period, unearthed atop the Bhairavakonda hillock at Vaikuntapuram village in Thullur mandal of Guntur district in March, 2013.
Another Buddhist site, belonging to the 2nd Century AD, unearthed near Pondugula village in March 2013.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Buddhist-Muslim Dialogue at House of Lords

by Tissa Madawela, Sri Express, 6 Sep 2014

London, UK -- Wednesday 30th July 14 at 6.30pm, initiated by the conservative Muslim Forum, the British House of Lords committee room 3 witnessed an important gathering of Buddhists and Muslims to have a friendly dialogue to overcome some of the differences that have arisen between the two communities due to unfortunate events that have been unfolding in some parts of Sri Lanka in recent times.
Outpouring of people from all walks of life from all parts of the country dressed in formal suits and ties displayed a rare occasion of Sri Lankans from all communities, Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim and their British friends and well-wishers eagerly waiting to hear a distinguished panel of speakers chaired by the Lord Sheikh the president of the Conservative Muslim Forum and organised by his staff.
The initiator of this event Mrs Ajantha Tennakoon, an Executive member of the Conservative Muslim Forum conducting the meeting welcomed everyone and spelled out the aim and objective of the meeting. “Whole purpose of the meeting is to highlight the long history of harmonious relations between Muslims and Buddhists that has existed for centuries and also    the religious commitment to justice, peace and humanity shared by both religions” she said. She dedicated this event to her late parents especially her father (Mr. Lional Sarath Edirisinghe) from whom she learnt how to serve the people, how to respect every religion and race and how to face injustice in a non violent, calm manner.
Lord Sheikh a long standing friend of Sri Lanka who has visited the country many times and impressed with the achievement of peace in the country and a great supporter of both communities said “Muslims who have been contributing to social, political and economic life of the country from 7th century onwards have always been and continue to be friends of all communities and recent developments are therefore unfortunate and unnecessary.” Lord Sheikh commended all peace building efforts of Sri Lankan government and hoped Sri Lanka prosper with all its richness of diversity.
Dr Chris Nonis, the Sri Lanka High Commissioner in London made a lengthy analysis of post war Sri Lanka and said he is yet to meet a single communally minded Sri Lankan. He attributed recent unrest to misunderstandings and hoped we can soon make up for all the lost trust and continue as members of united Sri Lanka. Situated between the East and the West, however small the island is one must not underestimate its potential to be one of the leading nations of Asia he said. Dr Desmond Biddulph the president of the Buddhist Society said Buddhist must set an example to the peaceful teachings of the Buddha and learn to co-exist with all communities. The Buddhist society is committed to help support all communities in the spirit of friendship and brotherhood.
Mr Ahmed Zimar Sivardeen, President/Chairman the British Sri Lanka Association reflected on the long standing friendship between Buddhists and Muslims and said it is unfortunate to see that it has been affected in recent times but it is never too late to rebuild it.
Dr Sunil Kariyakarawana Buddhist Chaplain to British Armed Forces said people of faith should be able to reconcile any differences we have. Both Buddhists and Muslims are strongly committed their respective faiths and reflect on the great teachings of both religions. When we genuinely value and appreciate each other’s friendship we can learn to respect each other and overcome any hurdles. Buddhists have been admiring the contributions that the Muslim community makes in different spheres of Sri Lankan life and Muslims have always valued their Sri Lankan identity and friendship with Buddhists. The best Buddhist vocalist singer is a devout Muslim father and Son: Mohedeen and Ishaq Beg who are admired by all Buddhists and they flock to listen to them. So, we must learn to talk from heart to heart than from intellect to intellect. The only way to respond to extremism in any society is to strengthen the relations between peace-loving moderate Buddhists and Muslims. Most atrocities in the world are happening today mot because a small minority of people who perpetrate them but a vast majority of moderates silently endure them he said.
Mr. Amal Abeywardene Conservative friend of Sri Lanka also emphasised the need to strengthen relations between moderate forces and conservative forums like this could facilitate that dialogue.
Very active Q&A session followed by vote of thank by Mrs Ajantha Tennakoon who thanked all the speakers  and all participants for their support given in attending this successful event. She also thanked CMF particularly Lady Sheikh and CMF Administrator, Shaheen Mahmood for their tireless engagement in organising the event.
The event was concluded after prayers by the Imam Ali Omar the Muslim Chaplain from the UK Ministry of Defence and the Seth Pirith Chanting by the Most Venerable Daranagama Kusaladhamma Thero, the Director General of the Sri Lankan Buddhist TV and the Abbot of the Plaistow Sri Sambodhi Buddhist Meditation Centre.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Meditation is fine, but what about the Buddhism behind it?

by Jessica Brown, The Independent, 29 August 2014

Closing your eyes and being mindful isn't the only way to achieve inner wellbeing
London, UK -- Just when you thought it was safe to close your eyes, there has been recent warnings from psychiatrists on the adverse effects of mindfulness meditation. As well as evidence of underqualified teachers, there have been rare cases of depersonalisation, where people feel an out-of-body experience.
There has also been questions raised over the vulnerability of some of those who seek meditation as a form of treatment, regarding the increase in awareness and the emotions this can conjure.
Meditation has fast become synonymous with the improvement of mental wellbeing. With its incredibly generous praises sang from a range of experts, it’s no wonder we expect amazing results quickly and easily.
But these concerns highlight just how quickly and intensely a Buddhist tradition has become an unquestioned convenience in the UK. Lunchbreak meditation classes with quickly qualified teachers, short mindfulness courses – we’ve successfully westernised Buddhism to fit into our lifestyles.
And with more and more of us suffering with depression, anxiety and stress, we certainly have an appetite for anything that promises to help. These problems are far from enough to bring the practice of Western meditation into question – but they do serve as a good opportunity to explore it.
Our busy, loud lives aren’t particularly conducive to regular meditation. It isn’t an easy thing to master, and the friction this causes can end up stressing us out more. We’ve marketed an ancient Indian tradition as an antidote to stress, but traditional Buddhist meditation has two objectives: to become more compassionate, and gain insight into the true nature of reality. But meditating to gain compassion seems to have got lost in translation.
We’ve separated meditation and mindfulness from the tenets of Buddhism, and we could be starving ourselves of the best bits. The underlying beliefs of Buddhism could help us with stress and anxiety – without the risk of underqualified teachers.
They can help identify and quash the habitual patterns of thinking that keep us unsatisfied, by gaining realistic expectations of others, but also by not expecting material gain to make us any happier, and accepting that everything in life is transient.
The principles of Buddhism can't be applied to all aspects of our lives, but they can be molded around our problem areas.
I become interested in meditation about three years ago, during a bad patch of anxiety. Although, I found learning about the Buddhism behind it to be even more helpful.
Since then, it has helped me to stop indulging in prolonged periods of rumination over things I can’t control. It’s made me aware that I’m responsible for my own suffering, and lack thereof.
Working in fashion and having a penchant for pretty things, Buddhism allows me to derive pleasure from aesthetics designed for mass, meaningless consumption, while remembering what’s really important.
Buddhism is closer to a science than a religion. It’s a modern way of thinking, and perfectly suited to tackle the problems of Western culture. So next time you’re staring at an apple, being mindful of its every molecule, and wondering how this will bring happiness to your life, pick up a book on Buddhism instead. Pick and choose what works for you and apply it to your thinking.
Meditation and mindfulness are great, but learning the thinking behind them could help in the long-term, without giving you a stiff back.

Dalai Lama says he might not be born again

by Andrew Buncombe, The Independent, 11 September 2014

14th Dalai Lama looking for ways to prevent China exerting more control over Tibetan Buddhism
Dharmsala, India -- China has criticised the Dalai Lama and called on him to “respect” the tradition of reincarnation after the Tibetan Buddhist leader repeated his claim that he may not choose to be reborn.
In a recent interview with a German newspaper, Welt am Sonntag, the Dalai Lama underscored his belief that the tradition of the post he holds could end with him. He said Tibetan Buddhism was not dependent on a single person.
On Wednesday, a spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry, Hua Chunying told reporters that China had a “set religious procedure and historic custom” when it came to the reincarnation of living Buddhist lamas, including the position of Dalai Lama.
“China follows a policy of freedom of religion and belief, and this naturally includes having to respect and protect the ways of passing on Tibetan Buddhism,” said Mr Hua, according to the Reuters news agency.
“The title of Dalai Lama is conferred by the central government, which has hundreds of years of history. The 14th Dalai Lama has ulterior motives, and is seeking to distort and negate history, which is damaging to the normal order of Tibetan Buddhism.”
The 14th Dalai Lama, whose real name is Tenzin Gyatso, has long been in a battle with China, having fled Tibet in 1959 after China invaded the then independent nation and establishing a government-in-exile in Dharamshala, India.
The Dalai Lama, who heads the Gelug, or “yellow hat” school of Tibetan Buddhism, believes one of the ways Beijing seeks to control Tibetan Buddhists is by getting involved in the reincarnation selection process of senior Buddhist monks.
In 1995, for example, the Dalai Lama named a boy in Tibet, Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, as the reincarnation of the previous Panchen Lama, the second highest figure in Tibetan Buddhism. But the Chinese put that boy under house arrest and installed another, Gyancain Norbu, in his place.
Today, while China insists that Gyancain Norbu is the legitimate Panchen Lama, many Tibetan Buddhists do not recognise him. Of Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, the boy chosen by the Dalai Lama, there has been no word. He was last seen in public on 17 May 1995
Many Tibetans fear that China will try and use the issue of the succession of the current Dalai Lama, who is aged 79, to create another split among Tibetan Buddhists as a means of exerting further control on Tibet.
As a result of this, the Dalai Lama has been thinking of alternatives to the traditional procedures of succession.
While China has said it is traditional for the Dalai Lama’s successor to be a male child born in Tibet, he has floated a series of other options, including the idea that his successor be born when he is still alive and that his successor could even be a woman.
He has also said there might not need to be any successor and that he could be the last of his line. What was most important, he said in 2011 after giving up his formal political role within the Tibetan exile government, was that the succession should not be used for political ends.
“Bear in mind that, apart from the reincarnation recognised through such legitimate methods, no recognition or acceptance should be given to a candidate chosen for political ends by anyone, including those in the People’s Republic of China,” he said. In 2007, he suggested a referendum could be held to decide whether or not he required a successor.


Friday, July 25, 2014

Blazing is Friendliness

Making oneself into a Mighty Friend:Friendliness means Goodwill
Friendliness means Kindness
Friendliness means Helpfulness
Friendliness means Assistance
Friendliness means Support
Friendliness means Benevolence
Friendliness means Concern
Friendliness means Care
Friendliness means Compassion
Friendliness means Cooperation
Friendliness means Mutual Aid
Friendliness means Mutual Advantage
Friendliness means Symbiosis
Friendliness means Sympathy
Friendliness means Basic Trust

The Blessed Buddha once said:
A friend who always lends a hand, a friend both in sorrow and joy,
a friend who offers good counsel, a friend who sympathizes too.
These are the 4 kinds of true friends the wise, who understands
will always cherish just as a mother tends her only child.
DN III 188

As a mother even with her life protects her only child, so let one cultivate
immeasurable and infinite loving-kindness towards all living beings.

Bhikkhus, whatever kinds of worldly merit there are, all are not worth one
16th part of the release of mind by universal friendliness; in shining, glowing
and beaming radiance the release of mind by infinite and endless friendliness
far excels and even surpasses them all.  Itivuttaka 27

He who does not strike nor makes others strike, who robs not nor makes
others rob, sharing love with all that live, finds enmity with none.  Itivuttaka 22
Thus he who both day and night takes delight in harmlessness
sharing love with all that live, finds enmity with none.  SN I 208

When one with a mind of love feels compassion for the entire world --
above, below and across, unlimited everywhere.  Jataka 37

I am a friend of the footless, I am a friend of the bipeds;
I am a friend of those with 4 feet, I am a friend of the many-footed.
May not the footless harm me, may not the bipeds harm me,
may not those with four feet harm me, and may not those with many feet
ever harm me. AN II 72                     

Among tigers, lions, leopards & bears I lived on the wood.
No one was frightened of me, nor did I fear anyone.
Uplifted by such universal friendliness I enjoyed the forest.
Finding great solace in such silent solitude. Suvanna-sama Jataka 540
Video on Metta Meditation on Friendliness:
How to cure Depression?

I am a friend and helper to all, I am sympathetic to all living beings.
I develop a mind full of love and takes always delight in harmlessness.
I gladden my mind, fill it with joy, and make it immovable and unshakable.
I develop the divine states of mind not cultivated by simple men.
Theragatha. 648-9
On this mighty state of Friendliness (Mettā) Friendship: Release_of_Resentment, 11_Advantages, Loving-Kindness, Cosmic_Goodness,Unbounded_Mind, Goodness_Galore, Hey_Friend, Advantageous_is_Friendship,The-Effective_Saw, Blazing_Goodwill, Genuine_Goodwill, Evaporated_Enemy, Selfless Friendship is Sweetest, All Embracing Kindness, Blazing Friendliness,
, Infinite_and_Divine_Classic,  Released_by_GoodWill,
, All_Embracing_Kindness, What_is_Wrong, Calm_Kindness,United in Harmony Goodwill Encore, United_in_Harmony, The Good Friend, Good-Will_Again, Bon_Benevolence, Good_Friendship, The_Good_Friend, Metta, Buddha on Noble Friendship, Good_Friendship, Sweet Sympathy,
Blazing & Bright, Kalyanamitta, Friendliness Frees, Blazing_Friendliness, Blazing_&_Bright, Brahma vihaara, Infinite_Friendliness, Unique_Unity,Friendly_plus_Unselfish_equals_Honourable, The_Grace_of_Goodwill,
, Safe_Medicine, Symbiotic_Sympathy,
Friendship_is_Universal, All-Embracing_Kindness :-)

Have a nice & noble day!
Friendship is the Greatest! Bhikkhu Samāhita _/\_ ]

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

May all Beings be Happy!

The Blessed Buddha once said:

Sabbe sattā, sabbe pānā,
sabbe bhūtā ca kevalā,
sabbe bhadrāni passantu.
Mā kañci pāpamāgamā.
May all creatures, all living things,
all beings without any exception,
experience good happiness only!
May they not fall into any harm.
Aguttara Nikāya 4.67

Solitude is happiness for one, who is content,
who has heard the Dhamma and clearly sees.
Non-violence is happiness in this world:
Harmlessness towards all living beings.
Udana 10

The one, who has left violence,
who never harm any being,
whether they are trembling or still,
who never kill, nor causes to kill,
such one, harmless, is a Holy One.
Dhammapada 405

More on
Harmlessness (Ahimsā):
Harmlessness_and_Tolerance, Patient_is_Tolerance, Not_Killing,
Bon_Benevolence, Kamma_leading_to_short_&_long_life,
Have a nice & noble day!
Friendship is the Greatest! Bhikkhu Samāhita _/\_ ]

Monday, July 21, 2014

Be Good!

Regarding the Best Way to Be:
The Blessed Buddha once said:
Sabbadānam dhammadānam jināti
sabbarasam dhammaraso jināti
sabbaratim dhammarati jināti
tanhakkhayo sabbadukkham jināti.
The gift of Dhamma surpasses all other gifts.
The taste of Truth excels every other taste.
The joy of Understanding exceeds any other joy.
The elimination of Craving overcomes, quenches &
triumphs over all pain, all sorrow, and all suffering ...
Dhammapada 354

Be understanding to your perceived enemies.
Be loyal to all your good friends.
Be strong enough to face the changing world each day.
Be weak enough to know you cannot do everything alone.
Be generous to those, who need your help.
Be frugal with that you need yourself.
Be wise enough to know, that you do not know everything.
Be foolish enough to believe in the unknown miracle.
Be willing to share your joys, resources, and riches.
Be willing to share and bear the sorrows of others.
Be a leader, when you see the path others may have missed.
Be a follower, when you are shrouded by the mists of uncertainty.
Be the first to congratulate an opponent, who succeeds.
Be the last to criticize a colleague, who fails.
Be sure where your next step will fall, so that you will not tumble.
Be sure of your final destination, in case you are going the wrong way.
Be loving to those, who love you, and also towards those who don't...
Be friendly to those, who do not love you, since then they may improve.
Above all: Be AWARE!

Have a nice & noble day!
Friendship is the Greatest! Bhikkhu Samāhita _/\_ ]

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Ancient Buddhist temple found

Munshiganj, Bangladesh -- Archaeologists have recently unearthed an ancient Buddhist temple that is believed to be a thousand years old at Nateshwar in Tongibari upazila of Munshiganj.
<< The remains of a 1,000-year-old Buddhist temple, which archaeologists unearthed at Nateshwar of Tongibari upazila in Munshiganj. The photo was taken yesterday. Photo: Star
Cultural Affairs Minister Asaduzzaman Noor made a formal announcement of the discovery of the temple during a press briefing at the archaeological site yesterday afternoon.
A prayer room of Buddhist monks measuring nine metres in length and nine metres wide, an octagonal stupa and brick-built drains and other artefacts were also found there.    
While touring the site, Noor, also a renowned media personality, expressed his surprise at the findings at such a historically important place in Munshiganj.
"It is a matter of pride not only for Bikrampur but also for the whole nation," he told the briefing.He also expressed the hope of unearthing a monastery beside the shrine. 
Archaeologists found most of the sections of the temple were in a state of ruin, except for a 2.40-metre tall structure in south-western part.
The basement of 1.75-metre wide wall was constructed with over-burnt bricks, probably to protect the structure from moisture.
The artistic brick works on the temple also reveal its architectural significance.
Agrashar Bikrampur Foundation took the initiative to excavate the site in 2010 after receiving financial assistance from the cultural affairs ministry.
Dr Sufi Mostafizur Rahman, a professor of Dr Sufi Mostafizur Rahman, a professor of the archaeology department of Jahangirnagar University, is leading the excavation team.
Awami League presidium member Nuh-ul Alam Lenin, Deputy Commissioner of Munshiganj Md Saiful Hasan Badal, among others, were present at the press briefing.

Friday, July 18, 2014


Keralamahabodhi mission organised DHAMMA CHAKKA PAVATTHANA DAY celebration on 12th July.
Bangalore Buddha prathishataana society president Dr.Rajananda moorthy was the Cheif guest .He took class on Buddha Dhamma .Keralamahabodhi Mission Chairman N.Haridas bodh Presided the function.Anapana sathi, Metha Bhavana meditation also conducted

Is Buddhism a religion for people with commitment issues?

By Ayelett Shani, HAARETZ, June 26, 2014

Bristol, UK -- Prof. Rupet Gethin, co-director of the Center for Buddhist Studies in Bristol, explains why the West is drawn to Eastern ideas.
Why do you think the West is drawn to Eastern religions?
It is part of the crisis of faith of the 20th century, in which doubt is cast on ideas once considered to be absolute truth. The concept that Western culture is superior began to be undermined when people began to study Eastern approaches in depth, to question Western culture and to leave room for the possibility that other cultures, too, might be of value at the philosophical and conceptual levels.
But why Buddhism, specifically, which according to a survey conducted in England, has become extraordinarily popular there, especially among middle-class people aged 25 to 45?
Buddhism specifically is perceived as a religion that can offer a response to the crisis of faith, in part because it bypasses the problem of a deity. I think that what attracts Westerners to Buddhism is the way in which it analyzes and understands human consciousness and cuts a path through everything connected to belief. There are certain beliefs associated with Buddhism, such as karma and rebirth, that some people might find problematic, but you don’t have to subscribe to all the basic assumptions of Buddhism to do a meditation workshop or to study it more deeply.
I would say it’s a religion for people with commitment issues. Maybe that’s a problem.
Yes. The basic, ancient Buddhist idea is to strive to avoid doing harm, to do good and purify the consciousness. That is quite straightforward, and in this sense Buddhism is accessible. We all know that when we are angry or afraid or distressed, we don’t think as we should, everything becomes distorted and unstable. Our emotional state prevents us from seeing reality as it is. Buddhism takes this truth and suggests that we start to work with it – to try to placate the consciousness and examine the world differently. But hasn’t Buddhism become one more superficial consumer product in the West?
There is a clear danger that Buddhism’s popularity will turn it into one more accessory which aims to help people cope with the difficulties of everyday life. On the Internet you find things like “mindfulness for businessmen,” the idea being that with the aid of meditation I can become a better businessperson, be more calm in my meetings and so forth. In fact, the foundation of Buddhist practice is ethical, expressed in five precepts: refrain from harming living creatures, refrain from false speech, refrain from sexual misconduct, refrain from taking what is not yours, and avoid consciousness-altering substances. Western interest in Buddhism, however, focuses largely on meditation, and neglects the ethical underpinnings.
Because Westerners see Buddhism as a tool to achieve goals.
It is here that we find the disconnect between meditation itself, say, and the general Buddhist framework of thought – and without that framework, Buddhism becomes a diminished, pale version of itself. Take, for example, the surging popularity of mindfulness meditation, which in England is used in cognitive behavioral therapy for people suffering from depression. It is in fact helpful, and that’s marvelous. I don’t want to be critical here. But I view this phenomenon with astonishment, because it is completely disconnected from the Buddhist framework. It is a reduction of Buddhism. Some of those who teach the method may have learned it in six or eight meetings, whereas in the traditional approach those who teach meditation are Buddhist monks.
Another example is the use of meditation for brain research.
Indeed, and it is not only the ethical framework of Buddhism that is lost here. Meditation practice is meant to lead one to begin naturally to reflect on and contemplate his behavior and his relations with others. Indeed, ethical behavior develops as a result of meditative practice. It is impossible to do that without thinking about the way in which your anger or your relationships operate in the world.
When you practice meditation within that framework, and within its traditional context, you are meant to address and cope with the big problems in life: your suffering and the suffering of others. Meditation is not only a tool for coping with stress, it is the path that has been followed, and is still being followed, by sages for thousands of years, and you have to be very respectful of that path.

According to a story in the early texts, Buddha, after he became enlightened and achieved the supreme level of existence in the world, realized that there was nothing and no one left for him to respect in the world. As he thought it was not good to live in a world in which he respected nothing, he asked himself what he could respect after all, and decided to respect the truth, the dharma. That story shows that we need a certain humility, an understanding that there is something bigger than oneself.
Is it even possible to be a Buddhist in Western culture, to be caught up in the rat race of a material, achievement-oriented culture and yet live a spiritual life?
There is one crucial Buddhist principle: that the path, or the way, is very gradual. One step at a time. That brings us back to the question of who is a Buddhist. I call myself a Buddhist. I practice and train, I believe that what I read in the ancient texts has great value. But if someone bumps into me accidentally in the street, I get upset and I will shout at him, “Watch where you’re going!” To decide that I do not intend to become angry or be impatient or stressed, because I am a Buddhist, just doesn’t work. I work on myself ... each person takes it as far as he is capable of. You practice as much as you can; it’s a process.
Where are you in this process?
There was a period in my life when I said to myself: I am very drawn to Buddhist practice, I believe in Buddhist thought, so maybe I should become a monk. I thought of doing that and almost did, but it didn’t happen. Maybe because of some weakness on my part. When I think about it today, I say, okay, I do what I can, at the level I can, and it doesn’t bother me.
What is truly important, as I see it, is to adopt the ethical system of Buddhism, to realize that the way you behave makes a difference. That there are good, beneficial ways to behave, and bad, unacceptable ways. If our motivation is based on hatred and anger, our behavior is not good and beneficial. If our motivations are based on generosity, without attachment to or thought of personal gain, that is good behavior. It’s an ethical system, and it’s there. If you meditate every day but those elements are not there, what you are doing makes no difference. The philosopher Slavoj Zizek maintains – though this really simplifies his argument – that Buddhism in the West is today a tool of the capitalist system.
Yes, and he connects it also to a Marxist argument, but again, the ethical aspect is crucial. Again, what truly makes you a genuine Buddhist is not only the way you behave, but also the deep awareness that you are invited to experience and strive to investigate. We all endure difficulties and we all try to cope with them, whether it’s stress at work or the discovery that we are ill. Buddhism, in the end, offers one way to understand and cope with these things.
There is a quote of Buddha that says, “I teach only two things: suffering and the elimination of suffering.” We can reduce the stress in our day-to-day life somewhat, and meditation can help us concentrate somewhat, but this everyday coping is not the essence. If you practice meditation, and it doesn’t change your behavior, your way of observing the world, the way you treat people, and if it doesn’t encourage a type of deep understanding of the nature of suffering – yours and others’ – you are missing the point. If you reduce mindfulness to something your doctor can prescribe, something to help you soothe your brain, because studies in neuroscience have shown that it’s effective, it loses its most ultimate meaning.
What is that ribbon on your wrist?
It’s a string that’s been there a long time. When Buddhist monks in Sri Lanka chant blessings, they sometimes pass around a string like this, and people hold it and listen to the chanting of the monks. It’s a type of blessing.
Sri Lanka is an example of a place where you can be both a Buddhist and an extreme nationalist.
And also an appalling chauvinist. I’ve thought about that quite a bit. You can, of course, explain it by examining Sri Lankan history in depth and looking at the forces that make it look the way it does today. But that exemplifies the danger we talked about earlier. You start with all kinds of noble principles, which exist within a set of values, ideas and customs that are called a religion, all of it very inspirational. But then people get attached to what looks important to them and let go of the deep meanings. Of course, certain politicians also make use of such attachments to manipulate people – a case in point being the Sri Lankan government. In the end, it shows that Buddhists don’t necessarily behave any better than others.
A gloomy conclusion.
One of the Buddhist ideas that really struck me the first time I encountered it states that the moment you become enlightened, you have to give up the feeling that this is the truth and all the rest is nonsense.
A paradox.
There is something of the paradoxical here, but it’s aimed at a very important aspect of what Buddhism tries to say about the way consciousness works. We are constantly looking for a type of dogmatic security – in ethics, in politics, etc. What’s right and what’s not right. It’s not that Buddhism doesn’t say what’s right and what’s not right, but the danger lies in the translation of those things into words and principles. When you take these big ideas and reduce them to rules of behavior, people start to get attached to words and rules.
In principle, people who have achieved enlightenment no longer need to follow the five precepts of the basic ethics, because their behavior is above that. They don’t need the precepts, because they are incapable of behaving out of greed, hatred or delusion. That of course doesn’t mean that if you are enlightened, you are allowed to kill people or to lie, but that the motivation to behave like that has disappeared. The state of consciousness that gives rise to that behavior does not exist.
What is the main cause of suffering in our world today, as you see it? If Buddhism is the cure, what is the illness?
Our life is filled with pressures, and the pressures of life in the bourgeois middle class drive us to look for answers. Sometimes we might think that our distresses are nothing compared to, say, the suffering of people in the third world – and suffering is truly a peculiar thing in the sense that we can diminish and mock the distresses of our bourgeois middle class. But there is a difference between collective suffering and individual suffering. We can tell ourselves that our problems are nothing compared to those of people who are hungry or who are being massacred in Syria – but there is real suffering everywhere. If you are diagnosed with a terminal illness, if something terrible happens to your child, that is as bad as it can be. Suffering can exist everywhere. No tragedy is truly distinct from another tragedy.
What did you take from Buddhism that genuinely changed your life?
The simplest things. If I had to sum up Buddhism in one sentence, it would be: “Let go.” Release everything. That sounds like something negative sometimes, but that’s because we are afraid that if we let go of everything we will have nothing left. What Buddhism is trying to say is that if you let go of everything, you will be able to find what is truly of value.
Have you ever succeeded in letting go of everything? Not to be held by anything: not ambitions, not career, not family?
I try. I admit that I too am afraid, like everyone.
Like everyone. The Dalai Lama, too, cried when his brother died.
It is certainly very difficult. But for me this is the most important message of Buddhism. Let go of everything. Letting go of something does not mean losing it. It’s only we who interpret it like that.

Stop violence against Muslims: Dalai Lama to Buddhists

PressTV, Jul 6, 2014

Dharmsala, India -- The Dalai Lama has called on Buddhists in Myanmar and Sri Lanka to stop violence against Muslims.
<< The Dalai Lama at an inter-faith gathering, 2006, San Francisco. FilePic
In a Sunday speech to mark his 79th birthday in northern India, the Dalai Lama denounced the violence in both Buddhist-majority countries targeting Muslims as unacceptable.
“I urge the Buddhists in these countries to imagine an image of Buddha before they commit such a crime,” the Buddhist leader said.
The comments came a day after witnesses said more than 70 police were just standing by and watching as a Buddhist mob set fire to a school and other buildings in a Muslim neighborhood of Mandalay, which is Myanmar’s second largest city.On July 2, an assault by Buddhist monks on Muslims left two people dead and wounded 14 others in Mandalay.
Violence by extremist Buddhists against Rohingya Muslims has killed hundreds of them and forced many more to flee the country.
Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar account for about five percent of the country’s population of nearly 60 million. They have been persecuted and faced torture, neglect, and repression since the country’s independence in 1948.
The UN recognizes the Rohingya Muslims living in Myanmar’s Rakhine State as one of the world’s most persecuted communities.
The Myanmar government has been repeatedly criticized by human rights groups for failing to protect the Rohingya Muslims. International bodies and human rights organizations accuse the government of turning a blind eye to the violence.
Critics have also slammed Sri Lanka’s government for its failure to protect the country’s Muslim minority against Buddhist extremists.
Last month, at least two Muslims were killed and dozens more injured in an attack by a hardline group known as Bodu Bala Sena, or the Buddhist Power Force.
Sri Lanka's Muslims constitute 10 percent of the country's 20 million population.

The 16 Supra-Human Roots!

What are the 16 roots of Imperturbable Peace?

1: The undepressed mind is not perturbed by any sadness, therefore it is unperturbed..
2: The unexcited mind is not perturbed by any agitation, therefore it is unperturbed..
3: The unattracted mind is not perturbed by any desire, therefore it is unperturbed..
4: The unopposed mind is not perturbed by any anger, therefore it is unperturbed..
5: The self-reliant mind is not perturbed by other's opinions, therefore it is unperturbed..
6: The uninvolved mind is not perturbed by any annoyance, therefore it is unperturbed..
7: The released mind is not perturbed by any sensual lust, therefore it is unperturbed..
8: The detached mind is not perturbed by any clinging, therefore it is unperturbed..
9: The unhindered mind is not perturbed by any obstruction, therefore it is unperturbed.
10: The unified mind is not perturbed by any diverse variety, therefore it is unperturbed..
11: The mind reinforced by faith is not perturbed by any doubt, therefore it is unperturbed..
12: The enthusiastic keen mind is not perturbed by any laziness, therefore it is unperturbed..
13: The acutely aware mind is not perturbed by any negligence, therefore it is unperturbed..
14: The concentrated mind is not perturbed by any distraction, therefore it is unperturbed..
15: The understanding mind is not perturbed by any confusion, therefore it is unperturbed..
16: The illuminated mind is not perturbed by any dark blind ignorance, thus it is unperturbed..
These sixteen roots of success lead to the obtaining of super-human power and to the
fearlessness of one enjoying the success of supra-human force...
Source: Venerable Sāriputta, in: The Path of Discrimination: Patidasambhidāmagga II 206

Have a nice & noble day!
Friendship is the Greatest! Bhikkhu Samāhita _/\_ ]

Cool Canadians Teach Children How to Cope:

"The first blue bead stands for “breathe.” The second, red, cues her to reflect on her "thoughts",
yellow makes her consider "emotions" etc.. Reminders to “take a mindful breath, and to be a little more stable.”

"Students practised breathing, “body scans”, and learned to “surf the wave” of difficult emotions,
like anger or anxiety, "

“Tai-Chi: There are 415 kids in a gym,” says principal Hugh Blackman, “and you can hear a pin drop.”

"You have to start with teachers,”

"The 'Mind-Up' program is Mindfulness training to teachers, including classroom “brain-breaks” 3 times daily."

"The response was overwhelmingly positive... "

"Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto concluded that, when it comes to warding off
a relapse into major depression, mindfulness is as effective as medication.."

"A 2013 paper found that 10- and 11-year-olds, who participated in an eight-week program were better
able to ignore distractions.  Another found that 12-to-16-year-old students had fewer symptoms of
stress and depression."

Naqvi finds in times of stress it helps her understand “it’s okay, everyone feels the same way.
Taking a deep breath makes you feel more confident, and ready for what you’re about to do.”

Anapanasati breathing meditation guided and explained:
As streaming audio
As mp3

Father and son: Hard-core Thai Tiger version: White Silence...
Where to Start...
Have a nice & noble day!
Friendship is the Greatest! Bhikkhu Samāhita _/\_ ]