Remembering Lama Purtsela

Lama Purtsela

Lama Purtsela was a faithful disciple and companion to Gendün Rinpoche; he followed him to France in 1975. He was an authentic practitioner, and throughout his forty years at Dhagpo, he was a living example of the profound richness of Buddhism. On July 9, 2016 Lama Purtse left us, entering into tukdam (post-mortem méditative absorption) for eight days.

On July 18, the departure of Lama Purtsela who was a source of inspiration for many, was commemorated.

https://fr-fr.facebook.com/LamaPourtsela/

Speech by Thaye Dorje, H.H. the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa, New Delhi

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China’s stressed-out ‘millenials’ embrace Buddhism.

Buddga Amitabha

Beijing (CNN) – Five years ago, Beijinger Robert Zhao went on a trip to Tibet. What he encountered left him confused but intrigued.

A science graduate from China’s elite Tsinghua University, he had been taught to mistrust superstition and religion, but in the culture and devotion of the Buddhists he met he found something worth knowing.

Now 25, he is considering giving up his job and becoming a monk.

“It means I will have to give up everything of the ordinary world,” he told CNN.

While Buddhism has a long history in China, entering via missionaries from India during the Han dynasty, it was repressed during the Maoist era — many monasteries and temples were destroyed during the Cultural Revolution and monks actively punished for believing in “superstition.”

But now, a growing number of Chinese are rediscovering the country’s dormant Buddhist traditions.

Some, like Zhao, are looking for a spiritual anchor in a competitive, fast-changing society. Others take comfort in meditation and enjoy volunteering.

Robert Zhao is considering becoming a Buddhist monk.

However, it’s not always easy to combine Buddhist beliefs with the demands of modern life.

Zhao works as an assistant to the boss of an environmental company. His religion means it’s difficult to entertain clients and partners — a key part of the role.

“Not drinking, smoking or eating meat affects my socializing. So the company has to send someone else to go with me, which creates extra expenses,” he says.

Zhao has not told his family about his desire to become a monk yet, fearing that they might oppose it.

Treated more favorably?

Fenggang Yang, the director of the Center on Religion and Chinese Society at Purdue University, Indiana, says it’s difficult to explain exactly why so many young people are turning to Buddhism.

Some discover it at university, where Buddhist groups are active and famous monks and lamas give lectures. Others have devout parents and grandparents.

He also says that the Chinese Communist Party policy has “moved toward treating Buddhism more favorably than other religions.”

Christianity has also been growing in popularity in recent decades but church leaders say there has been a crackdown on Christians, with authorities demolishing churches and removing crosses from skylines.

In particular, it’s the Tibetan strain of Buddhism, rather than the Chan (also called Zen) tradition once popular in China, that is attracting new converts, particularly students, young professionals and businesspeople, he says.

“It appears that both the chanting and the physical, spiritual practices of Tibetan Buddhism are appealing to some people,” Yang added.

Longquan Monastery on the outskirts of Beijing.

Lifestyle choice?

To what extent these new converts are committed to Buddhism as a religion, with its strictures and rituals, is an open question.

A former leader of a university Buddhism group, who didn’t want to give his name, told CNN he thought its members were more interested in the religion as a lifestyle choice.

Activities that his group organized focusing on relaxation and stress relief were always more popular than reading groups and lectures that examined Buddhist scriptures, he added.

Yang at Purdue University says that for most people in China, Buddhism is treated more as culture than a religion.

They may visit temples or read Buddhist books, but few people treat it as a religion that requires serious commitment.

“Indeed, people who identify as Buddhists do a lot of non-Buddhist spiritual things, such as believing in feng shui, consulting fortune-tellers, practicing qi gong and sampling books and practices of other religions,” he says.

Retreat

On a recent weekend, more than four hundred people attended the annual gathering of Beijing Ren Ai Foundation, a Buddhist charitable organization, at Longquan Monastery on the mountainous outskirts of the capital.

Longquan Monastery on the outskirts of Beijing

Zhong Ying, the group’s 32-year-old deputy secretary general, said the group’s most active volunteers were between 20 and 35 years old. In the past five years their numbers had doubled to 200.

For attendee Geng Hui’er, a 26-year-old who works and lives in Beijing, Buddhism was something she rediscovered after returning from studying abroad in England.

Growing up, her family had raised her Buddhist although she says she never really “felt it.”

She now regularly attends meditation activities in monasteries or study groups organized by volunteers.

Geng says Buddhism has given her a fresh outlook on life and past difficulties. It’s also helped her establish a network of people she can talk to and socialize with.

“We sit together, sharing things that have happened in our lives and how we dealt with them, which is more helpful than reading books”, she says.

For Zhao, the aspiring monk, Buddhism has been a balm while dealing with poor health, as well as work and relationship problems.

“My life has been tough for years. (Buddhism) keeps me away from the negative thoughts, like a reminder that’s always there, which has helped me a lot.”

Source: CNN

Whatever You Meet Unexpectedly, Join With Meditation

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The idea is that whatever comes up is not a sudden threat or an encouragement or any of that bullshit. Instead it simply goes along with one’s discipline, one’s awareness of compassion. If somebody hits you in the face, that’s fine…

Generally speaking, Western audiences have a problem with that kind of thing. It sounds love-and-lighty, like the hippie ethic in which “Everything is going to be okay. Everybody is everybody’s property, everything is everybody’s property. You can share everything with everybody. Don’t lay ego trips on things.” But this is something more than that… It is simply to be open and precise, and to know your territory at the same time. You are going to relate with your own neurosis rather than expanding that neurosis to others.

In a sense, when you begin to settle down to that kind of practice, to that level of being decent and good, you begin to feel very comfortable and relaxed in your world. It actually takes away your anxiety altogether, because you don’t have to pretend at all… There is so much accommodation taking place in you. And out of that comes a kind of power: what you say makes sense to others. The whole thing works so wonderfully. It does not have to become martyrdom. It works very beautifully.

 

From Training the Mind & Cultivating Loving-Kindness by Chogyam Trungpa , copyright 1993 by Diana Mukpo.

 

Mindfulness: Three Buddhist Perspectives

Taigen Dan Leighton, Ajahn Brahm, and Jonathan Landaw discussing mindfulness.

Taigen Dan Leighton, Ajahn Brahm, and Jonathan Landaw discussing mindfulness.

Wisdom Publications recently hosted a Wisdom Event in Berkeley, California, featuring Ajahn Brahm, Taigen Dan Leighton, and Jonathan Landaw discussing mindfulness.

The Wisdom Event features Ajahn Brahm, Taigen Dan Leighton, and Jonathan Landaw as they compare and contrast mindfulness practices in three different traditions: Theravadan, Zen, and Tibetan. They will provide their personal perspectives, informed by their traditions and then comment on the modern mindfulness movement.

Click here to watch a video of the event.

Is Understanding Fear Beneficial? – Karmapa Thaye Dorje

fear

Fear. We all experience it.

We might feel anxious about our loved ones, our self-esteem, growing old, or even dying. Or we might read the news, see stories of violence, tragedies on India’s roads or railways, details of the latest health scare.

What we fear varies according to who we are as individuals, and the environment we live in. In a society driven by competition, we might be fearful of not keeping up with our peers, our neighbours, or colleagues. In a culture driven by the accumulation of material wealth, we might fear the feeling of not having ‘enough’, or not having as much money as others.

Such fears are extremely common. The good news is that experiencing fear is not a bad thing – it means that you are alive. But being overwhelmed by fear is something different.

Fear in Buddhism

Buddha himself, before he reached Enlightenment, experienced fear like everyone else. He, too, feared growing old, falling ill, and dying. But he realised that fear is like a self-fulfilling prophecy – without understanding the cyclic nature of this world, that which we fear will keep on repeating itself.

If we fear something in this moment, in this life – and fail to truly understand it – the same pattern will repeat itself in future moments, in future lives.

In Buddhist terms, only when we liberate ourselves from the causes (Karma – causal actions, and Kleśas – afflictive emotions), conditions (habitual patterns and tendencies), and effects (the various existences) of fear, can we begin to overcome it.

The idea of overcoming afflictive emotions and non-virtuous actions might sound easier said than done. But our future depends on it. For there is a greater type of fear that could undermine everything that is good in our world. This fear, or perhaps more accurately ‘terror’, is born when we give in to our negative emotions, and dismiss the universal law of Karma and causality. When we have no belief in cause and effect, when we ignore the cyclic nature of fear and of life itself, then we are able to commit all kinds of atrocities. When we give in to our fear, we shake the foundations of virtue, and risk losing the moral fabric of our society. When we fail to understand fear, fear becomes our foe.

Overcoming fear by understanding fear

Fortunately, as human beings we have a unique advantage when it comes to overcoming fear.

Other sentient beings, such as animals, experience fear and other emotions, but they are limited only to the five senses. Humans, however, can utilise logic, reasoning, and particularly our inner qualities, such as the mind looking inwardly, and try to examine and understand what fear is.

Understanding fear and overcoming it are one in the same thing. Fear itself derives from a lack of knowledge and understanding – about the ‘unknown.’ The solution, therefore, lies in understanding fear – not to get rid of it, but to recognise it as a part of life, and to try to channel it for positive means. When we understand fear, fear becomes our friend.

Human beings have a unique choice and opportunity to overcome fear. We may not always see this choice, particularly in the moments when we feel afraid, but it is there. Whether we use this opportunity, is up to us.

One of the worst things about not understanding fear is that it can waste time, which is so precious. If we have a non-virtuous attitude, or fail to understand the true nature of our emotions, fear can accumulate until it is overwhelming. We feel defeated. From a Buddhist perspective, in that moment we have forgotten that compassion exists, that compassion will prevail – and in this forgotten moment, our fear is compounded.

Channeling fear for loving kindness

When we approach fear with a virtuous attitude, we can use reasoning and logic to overcome it. Whether it is through meditation, talking to loved ones, or other ways, we are able to uncover the ‘unknown,’ and take away fear’s power. When we examine fear, we discover a simple and powerful truth: fear is neither good nor bad. Fear is neutral. What is positive or negative is our response and relationship to fear – how we understand it, approach it, channel it. It’s like any other tool that we can find in life. We discover that fear does not inherently exist – if it did, we would not experience peace or compassion at all.

When we understand that it is us, and not our emotions, that have the power, we are able to channel our fear in a positive way. Understanding fear helps us to be decent, kind and caring people. And by being a kind person, with a good heart, we are also able to face fear more easily. This kind of virtuous circle, or Karmic cycle, holds great hope for humanity.

In Buddhist terms, all of the problems in our society stem from a lack of understanding, a fear of the unknown. When we challenge this ignorance through logic, through reasoning, through tapping into our boundless internal resources of wisdom and compassion, we manifest hope – not just for ourselves, but for our world. Understanding fear implies that we understand ourselves. If we understand fear, then we understand more about compassion, about what it means to be human.

Perhaps the greatest benefit of facing fear and overcoming it, is that we do not waste time. In fact, we use our fear to focus more on the precious present. We all know that we face serious challenges, in India and all around the world. Let us not waste a moment, for every moment is an opportunity. Let us face our fears with courage, with understanding, and loving kindness for all sentient beings.

Source: Huffington Post India

http://www.huffingtonpost.in/his-holiness-karmapa-thaye-dorje/is-understanding-fear-ben_b_6734704.html

 

Mummified monk in Mongolia in deep meditation.

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A mummified monk found preserved in Mongolia last week has been baffling and astounding those who uncovered him.

Senior Buddhists say the monk, found sitting in the lotus position, is in a deep meditative trance and not dead.

Forensic examinations are under way on the remains, found wrapped in cattle skins in north-central Mongolia.

Scientists have yet to determine how the monk is so well preserved, though some think Mongolia’s cold weather could be the reason.

But Dr Barry Kerzin, a physician to Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, told the Siberian Times that the monk was in a rare state of meditation called “tukdam”.

“If the meditator can continue to stay in this meditative state, he can become a Buddha,” Dr Kerzin said.

The monk was discovered after being stolen by a man hoping to sell him on the black market.

Mongolian police have arrested the culprit and the monk is now being guarded at the National Centre of Forensic Expertise.

The identity of the monk is unclear, though there is speculation that he is the teacher of Lama Dashi-Dorzho Itigilov, who was also found mummified.

In 1927, Itigilov – from neighbouring Buryatia in the then Soviet Union – supposedly told his students he was going to die and that they should exhume his body in 30 years.

The lama sat in the lotus position, began meditating and died.

When he was dug up, legend has it that his body was still preserved.

Fearing interference by the Soviet authorities, his followers reburied him and he remained at rest until 2002 when he was again dug up to great fanfare and found still well preserved.

The lama was then placed in a Buddhist temple to be worshipped for eternity.

Source: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-31125338

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