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Posts Tagged ‘Buddhism’

“BUDDHISM – THE BEST RELIGION IN THE WORLD”: IS THIS WHAT THE ISLAND HAS SUNK TO? #LKA

Posted by worldamity on June 24, 2015

Buddha raysHave you seen a recent article on the Island titled ‘Buddhism – “The Best Religion in the World” award’ ? If you haven’t, you should. This wonderful article proceeds thus:

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.”

Read the rest of this entry »

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TIME’s Beautiful, White, Blonde ‘Mindfulness Revolution’

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on January 30, 2014

By Joanna Piacenza, Web Manager, Tricycle: The Buddhist Review

2014-01-29-dfdfdfdfdfdgreeeeIMAGE1.jpg

Few things in this world could pull me out of a six-month post-graduate-degree writing silence. Last week’s TIME cover managed to do so with vigor. Its presence and imagery choice stirred up issues about gender, beauty, race, religious marketing, and how the “face” of mindfulness and Buddhism in America hasn’t changed in over a decade.

My initial reaction to TIME’s “The Mindful Revolution” cover was pretty surface. I huffed and puffed about the fact that a prominent Western-based magazine was portraying Buddhism in such a Cover Girl way. Flawless make up, perfect bone structure, skin as supple as Snow White; this girl was getting a lot from the “Mindful Revolution.” What’s her secret?! Even the positioning of her head, tilting up as some sort of divine call-to-action, soaking up erethral rays, screamed Western Christianity. And yet, there, splashed above her bosom, was the Buddhist-themed headline.

I shared the photo — and some sort of sarcastic remark — with my social media network and called it a day. But then the wonderful Cathy Lynn Grossman, Religious New Service correspondent and all-around fantastic #religion tweeter, posted this side-by-side image… Read the rest of this entry »

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Happiest man on earth is a Buddhist monk

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on January 6, 2014

  • Brain scans reveal Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard has largest capacity for happiness ever recorded
  • Meditation ‘completely changes your brain and therefore changes what you are’, says 66-year-old
  • He says you can do it too by learning how to let your thoughts drift

By CLAIRE BATES

Ricard: 'Meditation is not just blissing out under a mango tree but it completely changes your brain'

Ricard: ‘Meditation is not just blissing out under a mango tree but it completely changes your brain’

A French genetic scientist may seem like an unusual person to hold the title – but Matthieu Ricard is the world’s happiest man, according to researchers.

The 66-year-old turned his back on Parisian intellectual life 40 years ago and moved to India to study Buddhism. He is now a close confidante of the Dalai Lama and respected western scholar of religion.

Now it seems daily meditation has had other benefits – enhancing Mr Ricard’s capacity for joy.

Neuroscientist Richard Davidson wired up the monk’s skull with 256 sensors at the University of Wisconsin as part of research on hundreds of advanced practitioners of meditation.

The scans showed that when meditating on compassion, Ricard’s brain produces a level of gamma waves – those linked to consciousness, attention, learning and memory – ‘never reported before in the neuroscience literature’, Davidson said.

The scans also showed excessive activity in his brain’s left prefrontal cortex compared to its right counterpart, giving him an abnormally large capacity for happiness and a reduced propensity towards negativity, researchers believe.

Research into the phenomenon, known as “neuroplasticity”, is in its infancy and Ricard has been at the forefront of ground-breaking experiments along with other leading scientists across the world.

‘We have been looking for 12 years at the effect of short and long-term mind-training through meditation on attention, on compassion, on emotional balance,’ he said.

‘We’ve found remarkable results with long-term practitioners who did 50,000 rounds of meditation, but also with three weeks of 20 minutes a day, which of course is more applicable to our modern times.’ Read the rest of this entry »

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Nun’s devotional songs take the Buddha’s message beyond Nepal

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on October 11, 2013

Ani Choying Dolma

NEW DELHI (RNS) American guitarist Steve Tibbetts launched her career after the two recorded an album in 1997.

This year she was invited by Academy Award-winning Indian composer A.R. Rahman to sing “Zariya,” one of his compositions.

And at a recent San Francisco concert, American singer Bonnie Raitt told her she was one of her greatest fans.

For Ani Choying Drolma, nicknamed the “rock star nun,” singing and performing with top musicians is a way to take the essence of Buddha’s teachings to the world and help people in need.

“The Buddha said you have to be skillful according to the time, place and people,” said the practical 43-year-old nun.

In the past 16 years, Drolma has recorded 10 albums of sacred chants and devotional songs. Read the rest of this entry »

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Buddha’s Birthplace: Nepal Or India? New Currency Sets The Record Straight

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on September 17, 2013

By Vishal Arora

buddha birthplace nepal india

(RNS) Quick: Where was the Buddha born?

To hear many Indians talk, you’d think it was India, where he attained enlightenment and gave his first sermon.

But the people of Nepal know better — and they are eager to correct misconceptions about the Awakened One, considered one of the world’s most revered figures.

Next month, Nepal will circulate a new 100-rupee note with the imprint, “Lumbini: The Birthplace of Lord Buddha.” The currency is part of the government’s most recent effort to correct the record.

It comes amid protests following a promotional video on the private Indian channel Zee TV, which claimed the Buddha was born in India.

Zee TV corrected the error, but Nepal Cable TV Association blocked the channel when the new series on the life of Buddha premiered on Sunday (Sept. 8). The association’s chairman described the move as a way to prevent possible unrest in the country, which is predominantly Hindu but proud of its Buddhist heritage. Read the rest of this entry »

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Jennifer Lopez Turns Buddhist.

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on August 31, 2013

jennifer-lopezLondon, Oct 9, 2004 — Celebrities seem to have a strange fascination for Buddhism, and this time it is Latino diva jennifer Lopez who is taking up Buddhism.

The ‘Wedding Planner’ actress was reportedly so impressed by her co-star Richard Gere’s dedication to Buddhism that she was inspired to embrace the religion after she had a number of spiritual talks with him, reports the Sun.

Lopez, who is acting with Gere in the movies ‘Shall we Dance’ says that she is now aware of higher energy, and the fact that it is very important to be a good human being.

“Now I know there’s a force in the world. There’s an energy that if you put out good and you put out love it comes back to you. That’s a basic thing that works for me,” the report quoted her as saying.

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How’s Buddhism spreading in Africa?

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on June 15, 2013

By Rev. ILukpitiye Pannasekara Nayaka Thero

Buddhism came to other countries few years ago by different Buddhist teachers from different countries. They have established it properly and continue up to now.

But, very recently it came to Africa not more than 100 years history of Buddhism. It is very new, but, many countries like as Tanzania, Botswana, Kenya, Uganda, Malawi and South Africa have many Buddhist temples, organizations, centers and academic studies. Therefore after looking way back we can have some happy progress in future.

Among those countries Tanzania, Botswana, Kenya, Uganda and Malawi have one Buddhist temple in each country.
But, South Africa is having more Buddhist centers, temples and organizations which teach different kinds of Buddhist practices.

Especially University of South Africa (UNISA) (www.unisa.ac.za) is having some Buddhist studies up to Doctorate Degree studies under the religious studies. And also at University of Botswana (www.ub.bw) teach distance and internal Buddhist studies. Therefore it is better to open our Buddhist view about Buddhism in Africa. Read the rest of this entry »

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Lumbini – Birthplace of Lord Buddha – Nepal

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on May 15, 2013

Nice video with important information:

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Einstein on Buddhism

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on February 3, 2013

Einstein

[Albert Einstein (14 March 1879 – 18 April 1955) was a German-born theoretical physicist who developed the general theory of relativity, one of the two pillars of modern physics (alongside quantum mechanics). While best known for his mass–energy equivalence formula E = mc2 (which has been dubbed “the world’s most famous equation”), he received the 1921Nobel Prize in Physics “for his services to theoretical physics, and especially for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect“. The latter was pivotal in establishing quantum theory.

Near the beginning of his career, Einstein thought that Newtonian mechanics was no longer enough to reconcile the laws of classical mechanicswith the laws of the electromagnetic field. This led to the development of his special theory of relativity. He realized, however, that the principle of relativity could also be extended to gravitational fields, and with his subsequent theory of gravitation in 1916, he published a paper on the general theory of relativity. He continued to deal with problems of statistical mechanics and quantum theory, which led to his explanations of particle theoryand the motion of molecules. He also investigated the thermal properties of light which laid the foundation of the photon theory of light. In 1917, Einstein applied the general theory of relativity to model the structure of the universe as a whole.

Great scientist Einstein’s writings on religion are also very important and this is one of his small piece on Buddhism.]

“Buddhism has the characteristics of what would be expected in a cosmic religion for the future: It transcends a personal God, avoids dogmas and theology; it covers both the natural and spiritual; and it is based on a religious sense aspiring from the experience of all things, natural and spiritual, as a meaningful unity.

“If there is any religion that would cope with modern scientific needs it would be Buddhism. Read the rest of this entry »

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Global Voice on Peace

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on December 5, 2012

On the auspicious occasion of 4th Lumbini-Kapilvastu Day, the Movement created this clip to spread Buddha’s peace message all over the world.   Participants:

Agni Frank Eickermann -Spiritual leader, USA
Venerable Samahita Thero, Sri Lanka
Miss Nepal Australia 2011 – Reecha Dhital
Miss Nepal Australia 2012 – Deepashree Shah
Mister Nepal Australia 2012 – Niraj Sharma
Ram Kumar Shrestha – Lumbini-Kapilvastu Day Movement Global Coordinator
Indu Nishani Nanayakkara, Sri Lanka

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लुम्बिनी-कपिलवस्तु दिवस अभियानका बिस्व संयोजकसंगको बिशेष अन्तर्वार्ता

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on November 22, 2012

हाम्रो पूर्बीय दर्शन अनुसार देव ॠण, पितृ ॠण, गुरु ॠण र माटोको ॠण चुक्ता नगरीकन मान्छेको जीवन सफल हुँदैन भन्ने भनाइ र मान्यता छ । अत: यो अभियानको उद्धेस्य प्राप्तीमा लाग्नु भनेको माटोको ॠण चुक्ता गर्ने एउटा महत्वपूर्ण अबसरलाई गुम्न नदिनु पनि हो ।

सबैभन्दा ठूलो समस्या नेपालको भू-राजनितिक अवस्था हो तापनि सास्वत सत्य मृत्‍युलाई संझने हो भने स्वार्थबाट माथि उठन सकिन्छ । स्वार्थबाट माथि उठने बित्तिक्कै भू-राजनित्क समस्या समस्या रहने छैन र यो समस्या पनि समस्याको रुपमा रहने छैन । बिभिन्न स्तरको स्वार्थका कारण बिद्यमान समस्यालाई कसैले नदेखे जस्तो र कसैले नबुझे जस्तो नाटक गरी गोल मटोल काम कुरो गरी समस्या समाधान गर्ने कार्यमा सहभागी हुनबाट पन्छनेहरु पनि छन । कुनै पनि समस्या समाधानको सबैभन्दा  ठूलो समस्या यथार्थता नबुझ्ने नभएर बुझ पचाउनेहरु हुन ।

(नेपाली संचारका तर्फबाट प्रमोद कुमार सोनी र नमस्ते नेपाल न्यूजका तर्फबाट सविन थापाले संयुक्त रुपमा लुम्बिनी-कपिलवस्तु दिवस अभियानका बिस्व संयोजक रामकुमारश्रेष्ठसंग चौथो लुम्बिनी-कपिलवस्तु दिवसलाई लक्षित गरी लिइएको अन्तरबार्ता ।)

के कस्ता कारणहरुले गर्दा लुम्बिनी-कपिलवस्तु दिवस अभियान शुरु गर्न परेको हो?

२००९ को सेप्टेम्बरको शुरुतिर ‘अनलाइन खबर’ पत्रिकामा “भारतद्धारा नक्कली ‘कपिलबस्तु’ निर्माण” समाचार प्रकाशमा आएको थियो जस्मा दुई कुरा अत्यन्तै संबेदनशील थिए – त्यत्ति ठूलो परियोजना करीब ८०% सम्पन्न भैसकेको भन्ने पहिलो र दोश्रो सन २०१२ सम्ममा सो परियोजना  संपन्न गर्ने किसिमले युद्धस्तरमा काम भैरहेको । नेपालको रास्ट्रियतामाथि चुनौति दिने त्यत्ति ठूलो परियोजना करीब ८०% संपन्न भैसक्ता पनि सरकार, संचार र बुद्धिजिबि कतैबाट पनि कुनै पनि किसिम र स्तरबाट आबाज नउठाइेएकोले सर्बसाधारण यस्तो संबेदनशील खबरबाट बेखबर थिए । यस किसिमको सर्बपक्षीय मौनताका कारण मुलभूत रुपमा भारतीय पक्षद्धारा सिर्जित र त्यस्का कारण दिग्भ्रमित पश्चिमी बिद्धानहरुले छरेको भ्रमलाई चिर्नु आवश्यक थियो । यसर्थ, बिस्वभरि छरिएर रहेका नेपालीहरु बीच ‘कपिलवस्तु दिवस बिस्व दिवस’को रुपमा लुम्बिनी र कपिलवस्तुको प्रचार प्रसार गरिनु पर्दछ दिग्भ्रमित विस्व समुदायका बीच यथार्थबोध गराउनका खातिर भन्ने सहमति बन्यो । र गौतम बुद्ध लुम्बिनीमा जन्मेका हुन भन्ने सबभन्दा राम्रो प्रमाण अशोक स्तम्भलाई अन्तरराष्ट्रिय जगत सामू ल्याउने महत्वपूर्ण काम १ डिसेम्बर १८९६ मा जर्मन पुरातत्वबिद Anton Führer ले गरेको दिनलाई ऐतिहासिक महत्व दिनुको समेत बहु-आयामिक महत्व हुने भएकोले इतिहासमा पहिलो पटक डिसेम्बर १, २००९ मा ‘कपिलबस्तु दिवस विस्व दिवस’को रुपमा मनाइयो । र यस्लाई निरन्तरता दिनको लागि संस्थागत गर्न २०१० मा दुई चरणमा गरी २१ सदस्यीय बिस्व कार्य समिति गठन गरियो यस्को सल्लाहकार मण्डलमा तीन ठूला पार्टीका प्रतिनिधि र दुई बिदेशीलाई समेत समाबेश गरी । र गत बर्षदेखि धेरैको सुझाबलाई ध्यानमा राखी अभियानको नाम लुम्बिनी-कपिलवस्तु दिवस अभियान बनाइएको हो ।

अभियान शुरु गर्नुका पछाडि अन्य उद्धेस्यहरु पनि छन कि ?

जुन कारणले गर्दा यो अभियान शुरुवात गरिनु पर्ने आवश्यकता महसूस गरियो त्यो मात्रै यस्को उद्धेस्य नभएर शान्ति, राष्ट्रियता, सत्यको प्रतिरक्षा र पर्यटन प्रबर्द्धन यो अभियानका मूलभूत उद्धेस्यहरु हुन । वुद्ध शान्तिका प्रतिक र पर्यायबाची हुन र ब्यक्तिगत खुशी र सुखीदेखि बिस्व शान्तिसम्मका लागि उनका सन्देश र बिधिहरु अत्यन्तै उपयोगी मानिन्छन । अत: उनका ती सन्देश र बिधिहरुलाई बिभिन्न माध्यम मार्फत प्रचार प्रसार गरी सुखमय जीवन र शान्तिपूर्ण वातावरण सिर्जनामा सक्दो योगदान गर्नु यस्को पहिलो उद्धेस्य हो । वुद्धको विस्वब्यापी महत्वका कारण यसबाट लालायित भएर बुद्धको नामबाट नाजायज फायदा लिन बिस्वका जनतालाई दिग्भ्रमित तुल्याइ वुद्धको जन्मस्थल जान चाहनेहरुलाई आफूकहाँ लैजाने अभिप्रायले गरिएको कामले नेपालको राष्ट्रियतामा चुनौती दिने काम भएकोले यसबारे सत्य तथ्य जानकारीहरु सुसूचित गरी राष्ट्रियता रक्षाको लागि प्रयास गर्नु यस अभियानको अर्को उद्धेस्य हुनेछ । त्यसरी नै सत्यका प्रतिक र पर्यायबाची वुद्धको नामका कारण उनकै नामबाट नाजायज फायदा लिनका लागि बिस्वका जनतालाई दिग्भ्रमित तुल्याउने कामलाई निस्तेज गरी सत्यको रक्षा गर्नु पनि यस्को उद्धेस्य हो । वुद्धको जन्मस्थल भएको कारण लुम्बिनी र कपिलबस्तु विस्वकै लागि महत्वपूर्ण पर्यटकीय स्थल जे जस्तो रुपमा हुनु पर्ने हो, त्यो आन्तरिक र वाह्य कारणहरुले गर्दा हुन नसकेको कारण यस क्षेत्रलाई पर्यटकीय स्थलको रुपमा अरु बिकसित गर्ने वाताबरण तयार गर्न प्रयास गर्नु यस्को अर्को उद्धेस्य हुनेछ । Read the rest of this entry »

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MISTAKEN BUDDHA BIRTH PLACE IN ‘WISDOM OF THE AGES’ : A COURSE BOOK FOR US UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on September 23, 2012

[ The author, Dr. Wayne W. Dyer, who appears for his talks almost everyday on PBS TV[2] shows in United States of America, seems not to have checked Lumbini Ashokan Pillar inscription, [” .. Hida Bhagavam Jateti Lumini Game” [3] discovered by Anton A. Fuhrer on December 1, 1896. Further more, while he was writing the book, he seems not to have been well informed of recent Lumbini archaeological finds also. If he had in anyways, he would have certainly written the “Founder of Buddhism, one of the world’s major religions, the Buddha was born Prince Siddhartha Gautama in Nepal at the border of northeast India” instead. ]
By B. K. Rana
Early morning yesterday, one of my friends, K. Kadaria called me over a phone and said “I just read a book named :’Wisdom of the Ages’ written and published in 1998 by Wayne W. Dyer. The author has written that the “Founder of Buddhism, one of the world’s major religions, the Buddha was born Prince Siddhartha Gautama in northeast India, near the border of Nepal.”So, we needed debating with the author. This is in a course book for undergraduate students at  the Bunker Hill Community College, Boston in  Massachusetts,  USA.”
He sent me a brief email message also which I  immediately  forwarded to my email-list and,  as anticipated, prompt response arrived from  a few scholars from different parts of the world. Among those response was  in an email message from a renowned linguist, Professor Madhav Pokharel of Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu, Nepal,  in which he has written, “both China and Japan have officially endorsed Lumbini of Nepal being the Buddha’s  birth place, however, while doing researches in China for one year and two years in Japan, I heard that in government prescribed books in  both of these countries students are taught the Buddha  was born in India”[1]. Prof. Pokharel says there is a need for finding the truth out and making a correction to it also.
The book in discussion and its author, Dr. Wayne W. Dyer http://www.drwaynedyer.com/, acclaimed  as one of the internationally best selling authors, a motivational speaker and named also as “Modern Master”, has discussed,  in the book “Wisdomof the Ages: 60 Days to Enlightenment”,  a total of 265  different thinkers of the past and present world  from: Pythagoras and Blaise Pascal, Buddha, Lao-tzu, Patanjali  to many others and down the end himself also.  A chapter titled as ‘Knowing’ is dedicated to Buddhist philosophy. The chapter starts from page 5 in which the author writes: “Founder of Buddhism, one of the world’s major religions, the Buddha was born Prince Siddhartha Gautama in northeast India, near the border of Nepal”. This is flatly incorrect information. Our students must be told or taught the  truth and no imparted false knowledge.
The author, Dr. Wayne W. Dyer, who appears for his talks almost everyday on PBS TV[2] shows in United States of America,seems not to have checked Lumbini Ashokan Pillar inscription, [” .. Hida Bhagavam Jateti Lumini Game” [3]discovered byAnton A. Fuhrer on December 1, 1896. Further more, while he was writing the book, he seems not to have been well informed of recent Lumbini archaeological finds also. If he had in anyways, he would have certainly written the “Founder of Buddhism, one of the world’s major religions, the Buddha was born Prince Siddhartha Gautama in Nepal at the border of northeast India” instead.
The book in question was published in 1998 by Harper Collins,in other words some 14 years ago and its first Quill edition came out in 2002 already. After these long years, discussing this way may seem  ‘partisan’ to some of our readers. But the point here is that students deserve right information. We need to feed them facts of human history. But neither we are telling Dr. Wayne W. Dyer deliberately weote “the Buddha was born Prince Siddhartha Gautama in northeastIndia, near the border of Nepal.”Not every writer can visit Lumbini Garden in Nepal and read the Ashokan inscription before writing a book on the Buddha. It is not practical also to do so.  The author has utilized second hand information available to him.

No Confronting with the authors:
We can’t confront each and every author on the Buddha birth place and Kapilvastu also. A Nepalese scholar, Ram B. Chhetri, currently residing in Virginia, USAalso wrote  in reply yesterday,  “ What about Jesus Christ born in China ? We can’t go on confronting people writing whatever they feel like writing.” The point he makes here is that people have been writing on their own ways and  this is how they write; we can’t tell them do what we like.

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Facebook Upshot: Buddhism: Time to Catalyze World Peace

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on September 10, 2012

Article in Shri Lanka Guardian on the occasion of Buddha Jayanti: Kindness, compassion and empathy are the synonyms of Buddhism. The eyes of Buddha are the insignia of love. Lumbini is the place where mind and heart take pleasure in for peace. This is the land when eyes are closed, heart opens. And Lumbini symbolized ultimate peace and harmony. This could be the right time to work together to declare Lumbini a World Peace City to catalyze World Peace in the present critical world situation. For more @ http://www.srilankaguardian.org/2012/05/buddhism-time-to-catalyze-world-peace.html
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Pilgrimage to Lumbini, Nepal (2011)

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on September 5, 2012

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Buddha Nature and the Divided Brain

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on August 9, 2012

By John Stanley and David Loy

The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a world that honors the servant, but has forgotten the gift.
–Albert Einstein

Except in the light of brain hemisphere lateralization, nothing in human psychology makes any sense.
–neuroscientist Tim Crow

An Old Tale

There’s a traditional Buddhist story about a statue of incomparable value, which is lost and then forgotten. For generation after generation, various kinds of human rubbish and debris accumulate to bury it. Nobody ever suspects that anything important lies under the ground. Eventually a clairvoyant person happens by who comments: “If you dig here, and clean up what you find, you will discover something invaluable.” But who would follow such advice?

Our Divided Brain

In his remarkable book, “The Master and his Emissary,” neurological psychologist Iain McGilchristprovides a wealth of scientific evidence to support his contention that two opposed realities are rooted in the bi-hemispheric structure of the human brain.

Although each hemisphere is specialized, neither functions as an “independent brain.” They integrate their activities to produce physical movements, mental processes and behaviors greater than, and different from, their individual contributions. With functional NMR scanners, real-time brain imaging is now routinely used to determine the functional effects of all kinds of strokes and brain injuries, and in that way we can observe how the hemispheres act together as “opponent processors.”

Basically, the right hemisphere is mute, perceives in a holistic Gestalt manner and synthesizes over space. The left hemisphere, the seat of language, analyzes over time. The right hemisphere codes sensory input in terms of images, the left in terms of words and concepts. Specialization of function offers all kinds of advantages, but integrating those functions is a special point of vulnerability. When it comes to the large and complex human mind-brain, harmony can easily be lost. Read the rest of this entry »

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President Obama, this is the time to act for Peace and respect Peace Messenger

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on August 6, 2012

Dear President Obama,

Recently we also highlighted these photos and the news when you visited Great Buddha in Japan and Hilari Clinton was placing Lotus flowers on a Buddha statue thinking that these photos and moments could have some meaning and value in World Peace.

The Buddha is revered as a Messenger of Peace. He is also known as the Light of Asia who is actually the Light of the World as his message of peace and non-violence has become more relevant as the world is facing many violence problems today. The world today has become more violent than ever before. Therefore, it was decided to spread the messages of the Buddha all over the world by observing Lumbini-Kapilvastu Day every year.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Buddhism and the Unconscious

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on July 19, 2012

By John Stanley and David Loy

“My life is a story of the self-realization of the unconscious.” –C.G. Jung

Those who see into the Unconscious have their senses cleansed of defilements, are moving toward Buddha-wisdom, are known to be with Reality, in the Middle Path, in the ultimate truth itself. Those who see into the Unconscious are furnished at once with merits as numerous as the sands of the Ganges. They are able to create all kinds of things and embrace all things within themselves. –Shen-hui (as translated by D.T. Suzuki)

At the end of his life, C.G. Jung dictated to his secretary an extraordinary autobiography, “Memories, Dreams, Reflections,” whose first sentence we cite above. Earlier he had observed how human nature resembled the twin sons of Zeus and Leda: “We are that pair of Dioscuri, one of whom is mortal and the other immortal, and who, though always together, can never be made completely one. … We should prefer to be always ‘I’ and nothing else.” Recent neurological studies into those “twin sons” have been exploring Jung’s insight, leading to discoveries that have many important implications, including how we might understand traditional Buddhist teachings today. Read the rest of this entry »

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Clip with Dalai Lama’s Partial London Speech

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on July 7, 2012

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Buddha is Culture

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on June 24, 2012

By Lary Yang, Buddhist Meditation teacher


2012-06-15-GarrisonLGBTQ1550.jpg
By2012 LGBT retreat at Garrison Institute, Garrison, NY

Towards a Multicultural Buddhist Practice

The three “jewels” or the Three Refuges is one of the core elements of Buddhist spiritual practice connected to all Buddhist traditions. In this series, the Refuges of Buddha’s Teachings — the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha — are explored through the lens of culture and cultural experience. These Refuges were offered by the Buddha to create safety and sense of spiritual home so that each practitioner can be invited to relax into the present moment of one’s Life, to be able to explore what this Life is for us, and to cultivate the Life we really wish to live. Even the word “Refuge” has a connotation, a feeling, of a safe haven wherein to go. It is said that when we invoke the Refuges, as happens in the beginning of meditation retreats or practice sessions, there is always someone else in the world taking on the Refuges at exactly the same moment. Across cultures, the intentions to create peacefulness and safety in the world are that prevalent.

And the Buddha is about Culture.

The Buddha’s expression about Freedom and Awakening has always been about culture, about diversity, and about the infinite variations in human experience with all the 10,000 joys and 10,000 sorrows of this life. This remains a controversial issue within some Buddhist circles, including my home lineage of Buddhist practice. It may be different for other Buddhist traditions, but within communities of Vipassana or Insight Meditation, there is sometimes a predisposition to idealize the aspirations of spiritual practice, and to assume that the highest intention is to transcend the vicissitudes of this life, to somehow obviate the sorrows of this lifetime so that we only experience the pleasant, peaceful or sublime. I have heard dharma teachers bemoan conversations in diversity and culture, and say something like “Why do we dwell on our differences? The point of practice is to see our similarities.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Buddhism and the Unconscious

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on June 9, 2012

By 

 “My life is a story of the self-realization of the unconscious.” –C.G. Jung

Those who see into the Unconscious have their senses cleansed of defilements, are moving toward Buddha-wisdom, are known to be with Reality, in the Middle Path, in the ultimate truth itself. Those who see into the Unconscious are furnished at once with merits as numerous as the sands of the Ganges. They are able to create all kinds of things and embrace all things within themselves. –Shen-hui (as translated by D.T. Suzuki)

At the end of his life, C.G. Jung dictated to his secretary an extraordinary autobiography, “Memories, Dreams, Reflections,” whose first sentence we cite above. Earlier he had observed how human nature resembled the twin sons of Zeus and Leda: “We are that pair of Dioscuri, one of whom is mortal and the other immortal, and who, though always together, can never be made completely one. … We should prefer to be always ‘I’ and nothing else.” Recent neurological studies into those “twin sons” have been exploring Jung’s insight, leading to discoveries that have many important implications, including how we might understand traditional Buddhist teachings today.

Neuropsychology of the Unconscious

Brain research over the last generation has confirmed the difference between the left and right hemispheres of the brain. Our left cerebral hemisphere is the place where language is generated and received. It serves a linguistic consciousness with which we describe and think about the world. On the other side, our silent right brain hemisphere serves an unconscious awareness that cannot be coded in language. Non-verbal contemplative practices — such as being quietly present in the natural world, “open presence” meditation, tai chi chuan or yoga — elicit sustained awareness rooted in the unconscious. We are fully aware of what is happening, within and around us. Yet such experiences cannot be put into (or directed by) words because they are served by modules for sensory awareness in the right hemisphere. Focusing attention in the present suspends the usual executive functions of the conscious mind, so that the resources of the unconscious may unfold. Read the rest of this entry »

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Buddhism: Time to Catalyze World Peace

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on May 1, 2012

| by Ram Kumar Shrestha
Kindness, compassion and empathy are the synonyms of Buddhism. The eyes of Buddha are the insignia of love. Lumbini is the place where mind and heart take pleasure in for peace. This is the land when eyes are closed, heart opens. And Lumbini symbolized ultimate peace and harmony. This could be the right time to work together to declare Lumbini a World Peace City to catalyze World Peace in the present critical world situation.
( May 01, 2012, Kathmandu, Sri Lanka Guardian) While the world is preparing to celebrate 2556th Buddha Purnima (Vesak), it is facing Global warming, political instability, recession, terrorism, disaster etc. as major problems and the ultimate source of these problems is not external – it is us and only us, our current lifestyles, our historical choices, our way of thinking and doing with full of selfishness and our future ambitions. We ourselves, therefore, must be the solution. Now the world is already in very crucial moment and this provides opportunity as well to the world leaders, scientists and humanitarian activists to show their capability and broadness and prove themselves as historic persons. One of the most important questions we are facing today due to the reality we are facing in the name of development is: “Do we really love our generations or not?” This is already clear that just the continuation of existing development trend without drastic changes could destroy the world very soon and we, hence, must have new perspectives to bring everything in the right track. Irrespective of interest everybody has to read, see, watch and listen to unwanted news full of violence, crime, rape, hunger, accident, war, epidemic, disaster etc in everyday life. However, dedicated persons and organizations are still optimistic for a better and peaceful globe. Buddhism is considered not only as one of the world major religions but also as science and not facing any debate. This, therefore, could play important role in World peace in the present world context.
Problems do not arise from those who do not know, but from those who know and pretend not to know. Due to this attitude, the world is in crisis. Until we purge ourselves of these problems nothing will happen on the journey to create a wonderful and safe world for future generations. Most people think seriously about their responsibilities and rights but not about their duty to others. So many use their freedom to violate others and deny them of their freedom. This attitude could be the result of mediocre thinking, selfishness and not respecting others.
Kindness, compassion and empathy are the synonyms of Buddhism. The eyes of Buddha are the insignia of love.

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Happiness Means Getting to Know Disappointment? (Pema Chödron)

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on April 25, 2012

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An Interview with Dr. Minendra Rijal

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 7, 2012

Dr. Rijal is a member of Nepal’s recently created Greater Lumbini Development National Steering Committee, chaired by ex-Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda”. Dr. Rijal, a member of the Nepali Congress political party, is also a current member of the Constituent Assembly, ex-Minister of Culture and Chairman of Apex College. Mikel Durham interviewed Dr. Rijal focussing on Lumbini issue.

DUNHAM: You’ve recently been appointed as a Member of the Greater Lumbini Development National Steering Committee. Now that the committee has been created, what progress can be reported?

RIJAL: So far, we have not been able to spend as much time as is needed to move the Lumbini project forward. Prachanda is terribly busy with the politics of the country. In some respects, I am also quite busy — nothing compared to his busy schedule but –
DUNHAM: How many members are on the committee?
RIJAL: Right now we are a six-member committee. And then there is a provision to add another eleven members later on.

DUNHAM: Prachanda is Chair.

RIJAL: Yes.

DUNHAM: What has the committee actually done so far?

RIJAL: We went to New York and saw the Secretary General (SG) of the UN, Ban Ki-moon, in November. And the reason we went was that we wanted the involvement of the UN in the development of Lumbini.

It all started, however, when, earlier, I was the Minister of Culture. At that time, I established contact with Ban Ki-moon’s office and he extended an invitation. I went there. I presented my argument on Lumbini and he was very keen. He has long been interested in helping Lumbini and in realizing its potential. I knew that his mother was a devoted Buddhist and felt that her son, as Secretary General, should do something for Lumbini.

For his part, Ban Ki-moon also feels that it is his obligation on behalf of the larger Asian Buddhist community– he is the second Asian Secretary General – to do something for Lumbini.

That was one reason, last November, that we thought he could be of great help. And the visibility of his office was going to be very important to help Lumbini realize its potential.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Buddhism, Cosmology and Evolution

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 5, 2012

By John Stanley & David Loy 

Even with all these profound scientific theories of the origin of the universe, I am left with serious questions: What existed before the big bang? Where did the big bang come from? What caused it? Why has our planet evolved to support life? What is the relationship between the cosmos and the beings that have evolved within it? Scientists may dismiss these questions as nonsensical, or they may acknowledge their importance but deny that they belong to the domain of scientific inquiry. However, both these approaches will have the consequence of acknowledging definite limits to our scientific knowledge of the origin of our cosmos. I am not subject to the professional or ideological constraints of a radically materialistic worldview. – The Dalai Lama

There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved. – Charles Darwin

For traditional Buddhist cosmology, the life cycle of a universe is cyclical. There is a period of its formation, a period where it endures, a period where it disintegrates and a period of void before a new universe forms from the luminous space that remains. That space, according to theKalachakra Tantra (Wheel of Time) is inseparable from beginningless, universal consciousness.

The constraints of scientific materialism

A very different perspective is offered by mechanistic science. From its European origins in the 17th century to its final triumph in the 19th, it has insisted that matter is non-conscious stuff interacting in dead space. And these premises are not merely intellectual abstractions. They have become beliefs about reality, shared by a globalizing human culture. The structure of our subjective experience is inevitably influenced by the notion that we too are mechanisms located in a non-conscious mechanical universe. Read the rest of this entry »

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LUMBINI REBORN, NEPAL REBORN, BUDDHA REBORN

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on February 25, 2012

[Lumbini-Kapilvastu Day Movement does not endorse the opinions of the author.]

NEPAL: THE NEW RAINBOW NATION?

By Gabriel Lafitte

Among Tibetans and their supporters worldwide, Nepal evokes dread. The news out of Nepal is invariably bad. The 20,000 Tibetan refugees in settlements are prisoners, unable to move freely, unable to obtain certification of their refugee status, unable to find employment or get an education, stigmatized and excluded. They may not publicly vote, protest or even hold religious celebrations of the birthdays of their most revered lamas.

China’s power over Nepal extends to equipping and financing the armed forces to patrol the border with Tibet, to apprehend Tibetans using the only route of escape. China’s ability to get the Nepali army to do its security work is aided by the willingness of Nepali politicians to be seduced by the largesse of China’s aid program, no strings attached, no accountability auditing of where the money went. From the outside, it seems that Nepal, riven by revolution, is agreed on only one thing, right across the spectrum, from Maoists to royalists: no-one likes the Tibetans.

It is not just the elite that is prejudiced. The Tibetans, like the landless urban poor in the Kathmandu slums along the riverbanks, are considered sukumbasi, a term so broad it includes all the excluded, the displaced, landless, unacknowledged refugees, with no means of subsistence, suspected of thievery, gold smuggling and an inclination for criminality. Sukumbasi are feared and sneered at, especially by the upper caste Bahun Hindus who depict them as dangerous outsiders, despoilers, polluters of the rivers, a threat to the nation. The slum dwellers are seen as puppets of the Maoists, a rent-a-mob willing to swarm into the city on command to fill rallies with their shouts. The sukumbasi are said to have toppled the king, and that behind the scenes, they are tools of foreign meddlers or get undeserved help from NGOs. Read the rest of this entry »

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