Tuesday, 26 June 2007

Ladakh Buddhist Monastery Values Discipline

Ladakh Buddhist Monastery Values Discipline Image
"An 11th century Indian Buddhist monastery values its traditional discipline in Ladakh. "Lukhil Monastery has maintained its ancient practices of Buddhist culture to the present day. The ancient rituals of the three basic "Pratimoksha" (Patimokkha) or, personal liberation disciplines, which are the basic Buddhist teachings, are observed at the Lukhil Monastery in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir.

Founded in the latter half of the 11th century, it belongs to the Yellow Hat Sect, founded by Tsongkhapa, a famous teacher of Tibetan Buddhism whose activities led to the formation of the Gelukpa School. The monastery consists of a number of shrines inside its complex. Presently, it serves not just as the residence of approximately 120 Buddhist monks but also as a school, where there are almost 30 students.

"King Lhachen Gyalpo, the 5th King of Ladakh, converted his palace into monastery in the 11th century. In the 15th century, Lama Nawang Chosje a famous pupil of Tsongkhapa (founder of Gelugpa order) converted the lamas to reformed doctrines of the Gelugpa order, and thus founded the monastery afresh as a Gelugpa establishment"...

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Sunday, 24 June 2007

Quake Rocks Buddhist Offices In Los Angeles

Quake Rocks Buddhist Offices In Los Angeles Image
The 8.8 earthquake that hit Chile was 500 times more powerful than the one that hit Haiti. Now the series of temblors rattling the world have gotten serious, rocking the campus offices of Wisdom Quarterly. At 4:04 am an exponentially weaker 4.4 quake rattled L.A. It was weaker but, like Haiti, it struck many more people in a concentrated urban center. It shook and shook forcing one to reconsider why she moved to Southern California. Snow storms are a lot more comforting than this. And recently Los Angeles has looked like a Himalayan backdrop with snow storms covering nearby peaks and foothills within hiking distance of the city. It's time to reexamine the question why, in Buddhist terms, earthquakes happen.

by Ashley Wells

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Thursday, 21 June 2007

Magical Tools

Magical Tools Image
For thousands of years, the indigenous people of North America have maintained a very close relationship with the plant kingdom. They use many herbs for healing, protection and blessings, but their four most sacred herbs for purification and protection are sweetgrass, sage, cedar, and tobacco.

Sweetgrass: this is traditionally used for self-blessing for keeping evil spirits away from the home and to purify tools and equipment, because its sweet smell calls up the good spirits. It is plaited into a braid, then the end is lit and the smoke wafted over magical tools or around the room.

Sage: a powerful cleanser and purifier, and Native American Indians have been known to sit on sage leaves in sweat lodges, thus physically being submerged in its purifying abilities. The leaves can also be used for smudging (burning and waving it where the purifying smoke is needed), either loose or in smudge sticks. The most effective types are white or mountain sage.

Cedar: an evergreen tree also known as the Tree of Life. It is a very powerful psychic and spiritual cleanser. Smudging with cedar is advised when conditions are particularly difficult or obstructive, as its powers deal with the more problematic energies.

Tobacco: used for offerings to the Great Spirit and to the elemental and natural powers of creation. Tobacco is also cast into the sweat lodge fire as an offering to the fire spirits, and is sometimes given to elders and medicine men as a mark of respect.

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News The Buddha Made A Christian Saint

News The Buddha Made A Christian Saint Image
The Bodhisat (Josaphat) is a saint in both the Catholic and Greek Orthodox Church.

The Buddha is a saint in the Catholic as well as Orthodox Church. This may sound like a joke or sacrilege, but such is the tendency of particularly Catholicism. It aggregates to itself adherents and greater legitimacy by canonizing popular figures.

For example, when the pope wishes to visit a country to proselytize, he usually announces a round of local canonizations. This gives people in that area Church figures to identify with. It is no wonder it long ago pulled in the world-famous spiritual teacher, the Bodhisat (the Pali word for Bodhisattva).

It does this more than ever now after disabling the Office of the Devil's Advocate, a real office in the Vatican which used to vigorously investigate claims of sainthood and make it difficult to beatify someone who was not thoroughly vetted.

The Buddha refers to himself in previous lives -- particularly, as pointed out by Rhys Davids, in the "Jataka Tales" or Buddhist Rebirth Stories -- as the "Bodhisat." These precursors to Aesops Fables spread far and wide and became much beloved legends in many countries and languages. They were so popular that their source was not kept track of as happens with, for example, limericks.

Another famous "bodhisattva" is the future "buddha", Maitreya (whose name comes from the Sanskrit "mitra", "friend"), which it seems might have given rise to Mithraism, as suggested in the groundbreaking work of Dr. Ranajit Pal. Wisdom Quarterly research concluded that "Maitreya" (the-liberator-to-come) was the origin of the dispossessed Bedouin "Hebrew/Jewish" people's idea and word "Messiah."

This idea is not so far fetched when we understand that Hebrews/Jews were Bedouin-style travelers living in India and elsewhere. They were engaged in trade all the way to the original "promised land," which was the Israelites' Kashmir, according to Holger Kersten in "Jesus Lived in India: His Unknown Life Before and After the Crucifixion" (Penguin Books, 2001, pp. 57-59) and Basem L. Ra'ad's HIDDEN HISTORIES (Pluto Press, 2010).

It is no wonder Jews (like Jesus), then as now, are fascinated with Buddhism, Ladakh, Tibet, and Old Testament history, which saturates this land and is kept in the news nearly as much as the modern "Israel," whose original location is well explained by Ra'ad.

* St. Buddha of India

On the subject of Christians masquerading as Buddhists, I thought I should mention that Siddhartha Gautama (563-483 BCE), the founder of Buddhism, is also a canonized saint of the Catholic church!

January 15, 2011 (economicexpert.com) Saint Josaphat is said to have lived and died in the 3rd century or 4th century in India. His story appears to be in many respects a Christianized version of [the Buddha] Siddhartha Gautama's story.

According to legend, a King Abenner or Avenier in India persecuted the Christian church in his realm, founded by the Apostle Thomas. When astrologers predicted that his own son would someday become a Christian, Abenner had the young Prince Josaphat isolated from external contact.

Despite the imprisonment, Josaphat met the hermit Saint Baarlam and converted to Christianity. Josaphat kept his faith even in the face of his father's anger and persuasion. Eventually, Abenner himself converted, turned over his throne to Josaphat, and retired to the desert to become a hermit.

Josaphat himself later abdicated [the throne] and went into [s]eclusion with his old teacher Baarlam.

The story of Josaphat and Baarlam was popular in the Middle Ages, appearing in such works as the "Golden Legend".

Although JOSAPHAT AND BAARLAM were canonized in the Greek Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church, there is no evidence that either ever existed.

Wilfred Cantwell Smith traced the story from a second to fourth-century Sanskrit Mahayana Buddhist text, to a Manichee version, to an Arabic Muslim version, to an eleventh century Christian Georgian version, to a Christian Greek version, and from there into Western European languages.

He traced Josaphat's name from the Sanskrit term Bodhisattva Maitreya, 2nd century, Gandhara. In Buddhist thought, a "bodhisattva" is a being that, while not yet fully enlightened, is actively striving toward that goal.

Conventionally, the term is applied to hypothetical beings with a high degree of enlightenment and via the Middle Persian "bodasif".

Author Holger Kersten proposes an alternate explanation: "Josaphat" is derived from the Arabic "Judasaf" or "Budasaf," as written in an Urdu version of the tale. He ties this name to Yuz Asaf, a Muslim holy figure identified with Jesus Christ. This idea, which proposes Jesus escaped crucifixion and died in [Kashmir] India, was first introduced to the west by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. [Some might say Nicolas Notovitch actually introduced it to the West.]

Archbishop Timothy Dolan lauded Pope Benedict's decision Friday [Jan. 14, 2011] to beatify his popular predecessor -- a move that pushes the Polish pontiff a step closer to [Catholic] sainthood. "Pope John Paul visited New York three times -- twice as Pope, and once when he was the Cardinal-Archbishop of Krakow," Dolan wrote. "In many ways we consider him to have been an honorary citizen of what he famously referred to as 'The Capital of the World.'" Beatification is the Catholic church's acknowledgment that a dead person has gone to heaven. John Paul will now receive the title "blessed."

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Friday, 1 June 2007

China 1459 Year Old Buddha Gets Facelift

China 1459 Year Old Buddha Gets Facelift Image

BEIJING -- China's oldest Buddhist statue, which is on the brink of collapse, is about to get a $10.8 million facelift, a state news agency reported Monday. The 1,459-year-old Meng Mountain Buddha in northern Taiyuan city will be repaired and restored after seven coal mines operating nearby inflicted environmental damage, the official Xinhua News Agency reported. The mines were closed in 2007 to protect the stone statue. The report said local authorities hope to develop tourism in the area centered on the Buddha now that the mines have closed.

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