“Thoughts” on Our Environments

We’ve recently had a crop of new postings on the “Thought for the Day” page of our Audio Section and, in the broadest of ways, they have all been related to our environment, both in terms of the outer natural world and our inner mental world.

Our first “Thought” back in January was by Vishvapani and spoke of Greta Thunberg, the Swedish teenage climate change activist. Then there were no more Buddhist Thoughts until the 11th of May when Vishvapani this time addressed the issue of so many species going extinct and the loss of biodiversity. On the 18th of May, in his talk for Vesak, Vishvapani spoke of the story of Kisagotami as a model for how we might respond to others’ mental health struggles. And on the 22nd we featured a piece by Professor Tina Beattie because of the reference to picking up and disposing of just one piece of litter a day as in our Daily Mindfulness Exercise.

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Gagging Orders and Compassion

I received a link to a video from Sylvia, a Buddhist friend, and have decided to post it here. Given the nature of the piece, it seems timely to reiterate our editorial policy.

“It is Not the purpose of this website to campaign on political issues, however as a Buddhist site we will continue to promote peace and the welfare of all beings by any appropriate non-violent means”.

The story is particularly poignant given the current Lord Hain and Sir Philip Green controversy and the human misery being inflicted by the roll-out of Universal Credit.

The lady in the video below is Ellie Waugh, chief executive of the charity Humanity Torbay, which aims to help the vulnerable secure homes, jobs and training. At its heart, this is about compassion.

Part of that mission has involved working with the government – but this has come with strings attached, including a demand not to criticise Tory policies such as Universal Credit on pain of losing grant aid.

Passion mixed with great compassion……..

FULL MOON – Compassionate and Real

Disciples of the Buddha
are fully awake 
both day and night, 
taking delight in compassion. 

Dhammapada v.300

What it means to be compassionate is not always obvious. What we assume compassionate action should look like from the outside might not be the same as an expression of genuine compassion. For compassion to be real we need to know what motivates us and truly be in touch with our bodies. Real compassion requires that we let go of notions of how we might appear and trust in our well-considered, wholesome intentions.

TAWAI – a Voice from the Forest

I have just received an email from Anna about another interesting film that the Commodore in Ryde is showing this coming Wednesday. As Anna is going to be there dressed as an Orangutan and collecting for Greenpeace you can both enjoy the film, support conservation and express solidarity with our fellow primates.

The Commodore, Ryde, has agreed to screen the Film TAWAI – a Voice from the Forest – TWICE on Wednesday 21st of March – the International Day of the Forest: Once at 2:30pm and again at 8:05pm.

The film is a collaboration between Bruce Parry and Greenpeace. Tawai is the word the nomadic hunter-gatherers of Borneo use to describe their inner feeling of connection to nature. In this dreamy, philosophical and sociological look at life, explorer Bruce Parry travels the world to learn from people living lives very different to our own. From the jungles of Malaysia to the tributaries of the Amazon, TAWAI is a quest for reconnection, providing a powerful voice from the heart of the forest itself.

Arson Attack Destroys Buddhist Centre in Savoie, France

On the night of Thursday to Friday, December 1st, the old Chartreuse of St-Hugon at Karma Ling Buddhist centre in France was the victim of an arson attack. Fortunately, there were no casualties.

The fire broke out around 1 a.m. on the 1st of December at the south side of the grand temple. The flames spread quickly to the roof and engulfed the rest of the building.

A newsletter posted by Shangpa Karma Ling last weekend revealed that there had been several threats and previous arson attempts at the centre.

“Yesterday morning, exactly one week after the December 1 fire, we received what is likely a third threatening letter from the person who claims to be the perpetrator. This letter claims the burning of the Chartreuse and urges residents to evacuate, at the risk of suffering the consequences of a new attack.”

The newsletter goes on to say…………

“I would also like to encourage you to practice the mantra of the Buddha of Immense Goodness: “Om Mani Padme Hum” associated with a special benevolent dedication intent for the person claiming the fires and continuing to threaten. This person is in great pain and we want to help him or her as much as we can. I personally make prayers and wishes so that he or she become free from any torments.

In these circumstances, let us remember the stanza of the thirty-seven Bodhisattva practices:

“If someone I cherish and protect as my child
Come to think of myself as his enemy,
Just like a mother for her child with an illness
To give him even more affection, such is the practice of a Bodhisattva. “

From heart to heart,
May everything be auspicious.”

Lama Denys Rinpoché