Boris, Labour and Wise Speech

Following the Boris Burqa article and Labour’s on-going Anti-semitism problem, in his latest “Thought for the Day” Vishvapani discusses the Buddhist concept of Wise Speech in relation to diversity.

You can download the talk from our Audio Section………..

 

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I’ve just posted Vishvapani’s “Thought for the Day” from Friday onto our Audio Section.

This is the first talk from Vishvapani since the 14th of May which is a little curious. In the past Vishvapani has usually offered a “Thought” on the occasion of Vesak, the celebration of the Buddha’s birth, awakening and death which are all considered to have occurred on the first full moon of May which this year fell on the 29th.

Now he’s missed a couple of Vesaks over the years and there could be any number of reasons that he’s missed this one, but that is not my point, why are there no other Buddhists who can provide a “thought” on such an important occasion?

On Thought for the Day the majority of contributors are Christian, although there are regular Muslim and Jewish contributors and occasional Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists.

The BBC allocates the number of slots roughly in line with the proportion of each affiliation according to the latest census (2011). So, in terms of faith background, 78% of presenters were Christians, 8% Jews, 4% Muslims, 4% Sikhs, 3% Hindus and 2% Buddhists. Relative to the 2001 census of the population of the UK, and excluding those with no religious affiliation or none stated, Christians were under-represented as presenters (93% being their expected share, given Thought for the Day’s current brief).

By contrast, Jews, Sikhs, Hindus and Buddhists were over-represented in leading Thought for the Day, with the representation of Muslims nearly right in terms of the census (although their numbers have increased considerably since that time).

So, we are not going to get many slots, in fact from when I started posting “Thoughts for the Day” back in 2010 Vishvapani has averaged 8 talks a year but, coming back to my point, it is only ever Vishvapani who supplies a Buddhist Thought for the Day, surely the BBC can find another Buddhist or two to take up the slack and provide some variety of presentation.

Parinirvana Day

Vishvapani’s latest talk on Thought for the Day………………..

Today Mahayana Buddhists mark the death of the Buddha in a festival called Parinirvana Day. Aged 35, 4 or 500 years before Christ, Buddhists believe that the man history knows as Gautama attained ‘Enlightenment’ or ‘Awakening’. For the next 45 years he travelled continually across the Ganges Valley meeting people and sharing his understanding of life. He gathered a large following and was widely revered for his wisdom…………………….

Note – Latest Vishvapani Talks Now Available

The latest “Thought for the Day” talks by Vishvapani are now available in our Audio Section.

Education

The Buddhist ethical precepts telling people to avoid killing, lying and so on, are described as ‘training principles’ that invite us to adopt the underlying attitude the rule expresses……………………………..

Shakespeare and the Buddha

“For me, Shakespeare is more than a poet or a playwright. Of course, he isn’t a teacher as the Buddha is. But I see them both, in different ways, as heroes of consciousness who offer new ways of seeing and open up new ways of being”.

Note – Latest Vishvapani Talk Now Available

The latest “Thought for the Day” talk by Vishvapani on “Our Assumptions and Biases” is now available in our
Audio Section.

…….. Looking at these seemingly intractable issues as a Buddhist, I reflect, firstly on the importance of self-scrutiny. Buddhism stresses that we tend to see the world in a way that confirms our assumptions and biases. What’s more, belief systems and ideologies can objectify and justify those assumptions, presenting them as the objective truth and creating fixed, dogmatic views of ourselves and the world. 

That’s why Buddhism stresses holding our views lightly and listening, openly and with compassion, to those we might otherwise dismiss. But it also warns that the past can be a trap. We can’t change history, and dwelling on grievances can in fact reinforce them.