Saturday, July 5, 2008

ARCHIVE ISSUE 7.4.2 (Wisdom Quarterly)

On Giving
Kalyani Breckmann
Ven. Nanda’s mother came to Jetavana to make a donation. Intuiting the significance of giving, the Buddha said: “Six qualities when present at the time of giving ensure the most fruitful karmic results:

“What are the three qualities of the giver? Before giving, the giver is glad at heart. While giving, the giver’s heart is satisfied. After giving, the giver is joyful.

“And the receiver? The receiver is either free from attachment or is trying to uproot attachment; either free from anger or trying to uproot anger; either free from delusion or is trying to uproot delusion.

“If these six qualities are present, giving will produce immeasurable noble results now and in the future” (Chalangadana Sutra, AN.VI.37). 

“There are, meditators, five ways of getting rid of a grudge. Through them all grudges can be removed. What five? “If a grudge arises towards any person, one may cultivate loving-kindness towards that person…or compassion…or equanimity to remove the grudge. Or one may simply not pay attention to that person [or turn lingering attention to some admirable aspect of that person’s demeanor].

“Or one may apply to that person the recollection of karma-ownership: ‘This worthy person is the owner of his/her actions, the heir of those actions; those actions are one’s source of being, one’s kinsfolk and reliance. Whatever one does —skillful or unskillful—one will be heir to it.’ In that way, too, can one remove a grudge” (AN, V.177). 

New Dalai Lama
AP, Sankei Shimbun, Xinhua News
(11/20/07) Japan—In a break with tradition, the Dalai Lama says he may appoint a successor or rely on an election before his death, Japan’s Sankei Shimbun daily reported, following recent orders that China must approve Tibet’s spiritual leaders.

According to centuries of Tibetan Buddhist tradition, the search for the reincarnation of spiritual leaders or lamas has been carried out postmortem by monks.

“The Tibetan people would not support a successor selected by China after my death,” the Dalai Lama said in an interview on a trip to Japan. “If the Tibetan people wish to uphold the Dalai Lama system, one possibility would be to select the next Dalai Lama while I am still living...Among options being considered are a democratic selection by the high monks of Tibetan Buddhism, or the appointment of a successor by myself.”

According to the Xinhua News Agency, China’s new order states that all future lama appointments related to Tibetan Buddhism “must get government approval.” It also prevents outside sources from having “influence” in the selection process. It has led to concerns that the central government may forcibly select a pro-Beijing leader once the current popular Dalai Lama is dead.

In 1995 the Dalai Lama chose six-year-old Gendun Choekyi Nyima as the 11th Panchen Lama, the most exalted figure of Tibetan Buddhism after the Dalai Lama. The boy and his family disappeared soon after and have not been heard from since.

China’s government later named Gyaltsen Norbu as the 11th Panchen Lama and said Nyima and his family were being kept in a secret location for their own protection.

The Dalai Lama says he wants “real autonomy” for Tibet, not independence. He has lived with followers in exile in India since fleeing Chinese soldiers in 1959. He came to Japan for a nine-day visit but has been snubbed by Japanese officials trying to improve relations with China. 

Burma in the News
Myanmar—Before Cyclone Nargis thrust Burma onto the international stage, news blogging was repressed as thousands of protesters led by monks were killed.

Citing Hla Win, a former intelligence officer who defected instead of following orders to massacre holy men, reports are that the bodies of hundreds of executed monks have been dumped in the jungle.

“The bodies can be counted in several thousand,” Win is quoted in the Daily Mail and Norway Post. Irrawaddy, a Thai-based news service, used the phrase “the killing fields.” UN envoy Ibrahim Gambari sought to meet with Than Shwe, the Burmese junta’s top general, in search of a compromise deal to end the crisis.

A Facebook group supporting demonstrators and Aung San Suu Kyi has grown beyond 220,000 members. It details scores of sympathy protests around the world, including a campaign to spray “stencil-a-monk” graffiti images to remind “people everywhere of the uprising in Burma.” 

with Ven. Karunananda, Ph.D.
Q: “It’s my money, why would I give it away?!” A: Enjoy the money but remember, “What the miser fears, which keeps him from giving, is the very danger that comes when he does not give” (SN I.32). 

LA Peacewalk: Thich Nhat Hanh & Cindy Sheehan

Walking can act as a form of mindful movement. It helps shake off fidgetiness, sleepiness, and fatigue. It can even be an act of peace in and of itself. “Walk slowly, fully aware,” suggests Thich Nhat Hanh, “as gently as if the world felt each step.” 

The Buddha Boy
Nepal—GQ writer George Saunders went in search of a miracle and found it in a boy reputedly meditating under a Bodhi tree for months without food or water.

The teenager, Ram Bahadur Bomjon, has since spoken and asked to be allowed to sit in peace until some time in 2012. This seven-year span of meditation may reflect a teaching found in the Discourse on the Four Foundations of Mindfulness, which states that with diligent effort one is certain to attain one of two supramundane results:

“Should any person maintain the Four Foundations of Mindfulness in this manner for seven years, then by that person one of two fruitions is properly to be expected: Enlightenment here and now or, if some form of clinging is yet present, the state of non-returning” (Satipatthana Sutra). 

with Swami Adrish Ananda

Q. What if there’s no karma?
A. You were still a popular person, a good human being no one can fault. It’s good to question, but don’t think there’s NO karma. The Buddha said, “Even if one throws the rinsings of a bowl into a pond thinking, ‘May whatever animals living here feed on this,’ that’s good karma!” (AN III.57). 

How to Win
“Misers do not rise to deva-worlds. Fools fail to praise others’ charity. The wise rejoice and appreciate giving [thereby sharing in that merit] and so find ease in deva-worlds” (Dhp. 177).
“Overcome angerwith the opposite of anger; unskillfulness, with skill; stinginess, with a gift; a liar, with truth” (Dhp. 223).

“If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving, they would not eat without sharing, nor would the stain of miserliness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last morsel, their last mouth-ful, they would not eat it without having shared, if there were someone to receive their gift. Because beings do not know, as I know, the results of giving, they eat without sharing, and the stain of miserliness overcomes their minds” (Iti. 26). 

Losing :(
“What is not given is lost. So when the world is on fire with aging and death, one should salvage [wealth] by giving: What’s given is well salvaged! What’s given bears fruit as pleasure! What is not given does not: thieves or kings take it away; it gets burned by fire or is lost” (SN I.41). 

Attendance at a Zen temple has increased since a two-year-old pet joined in the daily prayers.

Japan (BBC) — Conan a Chihuahua sits on his hind legs, raises his paws, and puts them together at the tip of his nose. “He may be showing his thanks for treats and walks,” says a Zen priest at Jigenin Temple on Okinawa Island.

Priest Joei Yoshikuni would like Conan to meditate, but “it’s not like we can make him cross his legs,” he says. “Basically, I am just trying to get him to sit still while I meditate,” he told the Associated Press.

Mr. Yoshikuni said it only took Conan a few days to imitate the motions of praying. “I think he saw me doing it all the time and got the idea to do it too,” he said.
Jigenin Temple now gets 30% more visitors than it did before Conan joined in, Mr. Yoshikuni said. 

Results of Giving
“There are five results of generosity: One is dear and appealing to people at large; one is admired by good people; one’s good name is spread about; one does not stray from the proper duties of a householder; and with the breakup of the body at death, one reappears in a good destination, in heavenly worlds” (AN V.35).

“One refrains from [ten courses of unskillful action]: taking life, taking what is not given, sexual misconduct, false, divisive, abusive, idle speech, coveting, ill-will, and wrong-views.

“One gives food, drink, cloth, vehicles, garlands, scents, creams, beds, lodgings, and lamps to ascetics and Brahmins. With the break up of the body at death, one reappears in the company of humans. There one experiences five sense strands [i.e., delightful sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and sensations].

“It’s because of refraining from taking what was not given...wrong-views that one reappears in the company of humans. And it’s because one gave these things to worthy persons that one experiences these five strands.

“It’s because [of these actions, this karma] that one reappears in the company of devas. It’s because one gave these things to worthy persons that one experiences the five strands of divine sensuality. At any rate, brahmin, the donor does not go without reward.”

“It’s amazing, Ven. Gotama, astounding! It’s enough to make one want to give, enough to make one want to make an offering, since the donor does not go without [superior] reward.”

“That’s the way it is, brahmin, that’s the way it is. The donor does not go without reward” (AN X.177). 

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