Thursday, July 30, 2009
Now watch your breathing/waves. With every inhale, allow the feelings of Metta (Loving kindness), Mudita (Appreciative Joy) ride the waves into the shore and as the waves splashes onto the beach, feel these Brahma Viharas nourish every grain of sand, showering the entire beach with Metta and Mudita thus nourishing every thing, every being connected equally.
It's exam time again. If you find yourself more edgy, irritable and nervous you need to relax. Meditation can help you relax. There's no need for long deep meditation practices to attain jhanas but instead keep it simple. I'd like to share a simple exercise that you can do to relax your mind. You can do this seated down anywhere you like. Not necessary in lotus position on the yoga mat. Even seated on the chair at your study desk is fine. Just sit upright with your palms rested on your thighs. Switch off your cellphone, music and remove those headphones. Close your eyes and breathe normally.
Imagine every cell of your body as a grain of sand on a beach. Every cell that makes up the strands of hair, every cell in your eyes, internal organs etc. is transformed into a grain of sand on a 1 to 1 basis of this imaginary beach. Don't take too long to imagine this. It can be an instantaneous transformation. No need to go hair by hair, limb by limb, organ by organ.
Imagine every thing, people, animals and every conceivable beings around you also as part of the beach. Their cells, molecules, atoms also transformed into tiny grains of sand on the beach. The chair you are on, the table, the lizard on the wall, the mosquitoes, the plants outside etc etc. Again, this is an instantaneous transformation. Quick as a flash. Don't go item by item. Don't go searching for things to transform. Just recall the mental picture/perception of your surroundings just before you closed your eyes and imagine every thing in it as grains of sand on the beach.
You just quickly realize/visualize that you are like grains of sand on a huge beach together with everything else. You are a part of that beach looking out into the great vast ocean. Not placed in a special part of the beach but just connected together as one with everything else. You, or rather the heap of sand that makes up your form or matter are are just there together with those of the mosquitoes, plants and other beings laid down together as the beach. Together as one.
Then imagine the waves that comes in curling and lapping onto the shores and then reeling back into the ocean. Connect this to your breathing. As you exhale, see the waves reeling back into the ocean. As you inhale see the waves curl in and splashes onto the shore. Make it a serene rhythmic motion that unfolds in your mind. Keep it a simple scene. Just sand, water and blue sky. Don't make it too scenic and populate the picture with other things. No gulls, no palm trees, no tsunamis, no lightning flashes, no ships. Definitely no favourite movie stars frolicking in the waters. You get the picture.
Now watch your breathing/waves. With every inhale, allow the feelings of Metta (Loving kindness), Mudita (Appreciative Joy) ride the waves into the shore and as the waves splashes onto the beach, feel these Brahma Viharas nourish every grain of sand, showering the entire beach with Metta and Mudita thus nourishing every thing, every being connected equally. With no biasness, no ego but with Uppekha (Equanimity). The waves nourishes the mosquitoes and lizards as much as it does you. With every exhale, allow the feeling of Karuna (Compassion) take away the sadness, sufferring, illness, stress away as the waves reels away from the beach taking with it the bad into the ocean.
Keep this going for as long as you like. Just let your mind be the witness of this rhythmic motion of Brahma Viharas and just watch it without expecting anything.
Slowly fade the picture away by letting go of the waves and let your breathing be just air in and out of your nostrils. This will anchor your breathing to your body in its current form and slowly open your eyes if you have not fallen asleep. :)
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
During the last decade before the Buddha's Parinibbana, a series of tragic events unfolded centered around the Buddha's cousin Devadatta. Buddha was 72 years after 37 yrs of preaching. The most powerful kingdom was that of King Bimbisara of Magadha and he had a son, Prince Ajatasattu.
Japanese Mandala:Devadatta performing miracles.
Some background information about Devadatta.
Devadatta, Ananda and Yasodhara are siblings. Children of Suppabuddha who is the maternal uncle of Prince Siddhartha.
His encounters with Siddartha:
As a child, he fought over a swan that he shot with his arrow.
As a teenager, he competed for Yasodhara's hand in marriage.
He killed a white elephant that was to be a gift for Siddhartha.
He joined the order of monks when Buddha returned to Kapilavatthu.
Devadatta was an accomplished and respected monk.
He attained 5 types of supernatural powers from meditation. The supernatural control of his body, a divine ear, a divine eye, capable of mind reading and recalling his past lives. But his envy towards Prince Siddhartha, his jealousy and his arrogance prevented him from any real insight and liberation.
During a self retreat, he decided to go to Rajagaha in Magadha and use his powers to gain patronage of prince Ajatasattu. The prince was impressed and eventually showered Devadatta with respect and friendship which resulted in much gain, honor and good reputation for the latter. Obsessed with that, Devadatta turn to the ambition to rule over the Sangha.
The Buddha had already discouraged the use of supernatural powers in his reply to a lay person Kevaddha who suggested that the Buddha should gain the favour of the rich and influential Nalanda.
“Lord, this Nalanda is rich, prosperous, populous, and full of people who have faith in the Lord. It would be well if the Lord were to cause some monk to perform superhuman feats and miracles. In this way Nalanda would come to have even more faith in the Lord.”
The Buddha replied: “Kevaddha, this is not the way I teach Dhamma to the monks, by saying: ‘Go, monks, and perform superhuman feats and miracles for the white-clothed laypeople!”
On one occasion, a monk named Sunakkhatta threatened to leave the Sangha because the Buddha had not performed any miracles. The Buddha responded:
“What do you think, Sunnakkhatta? Whether miracles are performed or not – is it the purpose of my teaching Dhamma to lead whoever practices it to the total destruction of suffering?” “It is, Lord.” “So, Sunakkhatta, whether miracles are performed or not, the purpose of my teaching Dhamma is to lead whoever practices it to the total destruction of suffering. Then what purpose would the performance of miracles serve? Consider, you foolish man, how far the fault is yours.”
As for Devadatta, crazed by fame and fortune, he became complacent and this led to the diminishing of the supernatural abilities. Nevertheless, his obsession with taking over the Sangha caught the attention of the Devas who reported it to the Buddha's chief disciple Moggallana.
When the Buddha arrived at Rajagaha, many of the monks came and reported to the Buddha how prestigious Devadatta was and how Prince Ajatasattu would wait upon the latter with 500 carriages and 500 offerings of milk rice every morning. Many monks were impressed. Some were jealous and some were resentful. The Buddha said
“Monks, do not begrudge Devadatta his gain, honor and renown. Just as, if one were to break a gall bladder under a fierce dog’s nose, the dog would get much fiercer, so too, as long as Prince Ajatasattu keeps waiting on Devadatta as he is doing, so long may wholesome states be expected to diminish and not increase in Devadatta. Just as a plantain* bears its fruit for its own destruction and its own undoing, so too, Devadatta’s gain, honor and renown have arisen for his self-destruction and his own undoing.”
*Plantain – genus of plants that bears fruit once and dies. Eg Banana
Then during a large gathering in the presence of King Bimbisara, Devadatta stood up and offered to govern the Sangha and suggested that the Buddha should retire as he is getting old. The Buddha told him
“Enough Devadatta, do not aspire to govern the Sangha”.
Twice Devadatta asks and twice the Buddha gave him the same reply. When it was suggested the third time, the Buddha scolded him
“I would not hand over the Sangha of monks even to Sariputta and Moggallana. How should I do so to such a vile person to be vomitted like a clot of spittle, as you?”
So Devadatta was publicly humiliated in front of the King Bimbisara and begrudged the Buddha. The scolding was so harsh that a proponent of another faith, the Jains took advantage of and tried to belittle the Buddha asking him a simple question. Should the Tatagatha use such harsh words? If the Buddha said yes, then he is subject to anger just like an ordinary person. If the Buddha says no, then he is not the Tatagatha since he did use the words on Devadatta. So it was a two horned question. Prince Abhaya was sent to challenge the Buddha with that question. He invited the Buddha to have a meal at his home. When the Buddha went to his home, he saw through the scheme and he told the Prince that there is no one-sided answer to the question and that it was meant as a trap. Prince Abhaya admitted defeat. As the Prince had a child with him, the Buddha posed a question to the Prince.
“If a child accidently pushed a stick or pebble into his own mouth, what would you do?”
“Venerable sir, I would take it out. If I could not take it out at once, I would take his head in my left hand, and crooking a finger of my right hand, I would take it out even if it meant drawing blood.”
“Why is that? "
"Because I have compassion for the child.”
“So too, prince, such speech as the Tathagata knows to be untrue, incorrect, and unbeneficial, and which is also unwelcome and disagreeable to others: such speech the Tathagata does not utter. Such speech as the Tathagata knows to be true and correct but unbeneficial, and which is also unwelcome and disagreeable to others: such speech the Tathagata does not utter. Such speech as the Tathagata knows to be true, correct, and beneficial, but which is unwelcome and disagreeable to others: the Tathagata knows the time to use such speech. Such speech as the Tathagata knows to be untrue, incorrect, and unbeneficial, but which is welcome and agreeable to others: such speech the Tathagata does not utter. Such speech as the Tathagata knows to be true and correct but unbeneficial, and which is welcome and agreeable to others: such speech the Tathagata does not utter. Such speech as the Tathagata knows to be true, correct, and beneficial, and which is welcome and agreeable to others: the Tathagata knows the time to use such speech. Why is that? Because the Tathagata has compassion for beings.”
Knowing that the behaviour of Devadatta was a disgrace and unbecoming of a true disciple, the Buddha made an anouncement to denounce Devadatta. He addressed the monk:
“Now, monks, let the Sangha carry out an act of pubic denunciation in Rajagaha against Devadatta. Formerly Devadatta had one nature; now he has another. Whatever Devadatta may do by body or speech neither the Blessed One nor the Dhamma nor the Sangha should be held as having a part in it: only Devadatta himself is to be held responsible for it.”
Then Sariputta was sent to Rajagaha to publicly make the anouncement. Nevertheless, some people thought the Buddha was jealous but the wise ones realised that denouncement by the Buddha is no ordinary matter which was apparent later in the events that unfolded.
Saturday, July 25, 2009
15 Jul 2009, Tribune de Geneva
The Geneva-based International Coalition for the Advancement of Religious and Spirituality (ICARUS) has bestowed "The Best Religion In the World" award this year on the Buddhist Community.
This special award was voted on by an international round table of more than 200 religious leaders from every part of the spiritual spectrum. It was fascinating to note that many religious leaders voted for Buddhism rather than their own religion although Buddhists
actually make up a tiny minority of ICARUS membership. Here are the comments by four voting members:
Jonna Hult, Director of Research for ICARUS said "It wasn't a surprise to me that Buddhism won Best Religion in the World, because we could find literally not one single instance of a war fought in the name of Buddhism, in contrast to every other religion that seems to keep a gun in the closet just in case God makes a mistake. We were hard pressed to even find a Buddhist that had ever been in an army. These people practice what they preach to an extent we simply could not document with any other spiritual tradition."
A Catholic Priest, Father Ted O'Shaughnessy said from Belfast , "As much as I love the Catholic Church, it has always bothered me to no end that we preach love in our scripture yet then claim to know God's will when it comes to killing other humans. For that reason, I did have to cast my vote for the Buddhists."
A Muslim Cleric Tal Bin Wassad agreed from Pakistan via his translator. "While I am a devout Muslim, I can see how much anger and bloodshed is channeled into religious expression rather than dealt with on a personal level. The Buddhists have that figured out." Bin Wassad, the ICARUS voting member for Pakistan's Muslim community continued, "In fact, some of my best friends are Buddhist."
And Rabbi Shmuel Wasserstein said from Jerusalem, "Of course, I love Judaism, and I think it's the greatest religion in the world. But to be honest, I've been practicing Vipassana meditation every day before minyan (daily Jewish prayer) since 1993. So I get it."
However, there was one snag - ICARUS couldn't find anyone to give the award to. All the Buddhists they called kept saying they didn't want the award.
When asked why the Burmese Buddhist community refused the award, Buddhist monk Bhante Ghurata Hanta said from Burma , "We are grateful for the acknowledgement, but we give this award to all humanity, for Buddha nature lies within each of us." Groehlichen went on to say "We're going to keep calling around until we find a Buddhist who will accept it. We'll let you know when we do."
W Metta Always
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Friday, July 10, 2009
Lights, Camera, Action!
Well, well, well.
Class trip is over and I bet that mostly everyone’s forgotten about something. Yup! It’s the
A DVD will be publish on the trip that we went to serve as an inspiration to other classes. Giving them the hunger to want to try it out like what we did.
Students will be asked of few question regarding the trips and here are some of it that will be asked:-
- What do you think about the class trip and how did you benefit from it?
- Will this experience change the way you think about the handicapped and disabled?
- What were the feelings that arises most in you during your interaction with the children of the home?
- How should you help them in the future? What suggestions do you have to improve their lives.
Be very well prepared!
Oh ya, not to forget this interview will be carried out on this Sunday which is the
12th Jul 2009 after the photoshoot.
Put up a big smile and prepare for the interview!
By BKB ^.^V
Sunday, July 5, 2009
As said in the above title,
BISDS 80th Anniversary Magazine
will be out soon!
The class photo shoot will take place on
this coming Sunday
which is on the
wear BISDS T-shirt & your name tag.
Please, please, please do as told to not have any problems occurring!
Do co-operate and things will go smooth and swiftly!
By BKB ^.^V