Saturday, August 31, 2013

5th World Peace Pilgrimage (Sept. 1)

Wisdom Quarterly;

Everyone together for peace
"All faiths uniting for world peace upon a sacred mountain!" For the past four years, hundreds of people from many different faiths have come together on sacred [to the native Tongva] Mount Baldy in the San Gabriel Mountains, just east of Los Angeles,to send out a wave of love and light to the world! This inspiring and joyous event draws together local spiritual communities to walk together, sing together, and pray/meditate together in the heart of nature -- on the highest peak in the area -- for a more peaceful world. Details:

Who was the first to top Mt. Everest? (film)

Wisdom Quarterly; Daniel McDermon, New York Times Arts Beat Blog, Aug. 27, 2013
Mt. Everest, center (Prakash Mathema/AFP/Getty Images/
The Sherpas (Kristoffer Erickson/NatGeo)
A newly restored version of a film documenting an early attempt to climb Mount Everest will be shown as part of this year’s BFI London Film Festival, the British Film Institute announced on Tuesday.

The Epic of Everest,” directed by the British explorer Capt. John Noel, followed the 1924 expedition led by George Mallory, in which both Mallory and another climber, Andrew Irvine, died.
It remains unknown whether Mallory and Irvine  made it to Everest’s summit before they disappeared -- for if they did, they would have beaten Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay by nearly 30 years. 
The 1924 attempt was the third British-led expedition to Everest. Noel also filmed and photographed the second expedition, in 1922. For the 1924 effort, according to a report in The Times, Noel used four cameras, aiming to capture “the fascination of those secluded, lofty, divinely beautiful mountains of Tibet and the implacable majesty of the supreme mountain herself.” More

To save all beings from Hell (Ksitigarbha)

Dr. Rei-Rei, Ashley Wells, Dhr. Seven, Wisdom Quarterly; UPDATED
Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva helping beings out of the many hells (namo-amituofuo)

Poetry, metaphor, and myth can often express the most profound ethical, psychological, and spiritual insights and aspirations of a people or culture in a way that communicates to the imagination more immediately than a literal narrative may.
The impact of these literary forms lies not only in the written word, but also resonates on other more subtle waves. Perhaps they communicate more to the heart or the intuition than strictly to the intellect.
Whatever the reason, great works like India's Vedas, and Upanishads, the Mahabharata, and the Bhagavad-Gita, the Greek myths and epics, the Tao Te Ching, Zen koans and poems -- earth-treasures such as these have all helped to shape the thinking of whole civilizations for hundreds even thousands of years and thus have influenced the histories and the destinies of the peoples who inspired and absorbed them.
The Mahayana Buddhist discourses belong to this class of inspired world literature, giving expression as they do to many noble truths and -- with some, like the Heart Sutra, the Diamond Sutra, and the Flower Garland (Avatamsaka) Sutra -- attempting to express in a few words ultimate truths: "Form is emptiness, emptiness is form," "All that we see is a product of the mind," "All living beings are of a nature with the potential to awaken" (or become buddhas because they have an innate "Buddha Nature").
The Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha Vow Sutra is presented here, and whether viewed as literal, mythical, or perhaps somewhere between the two, it can take its own unique place among the sutras -- its ever-present underlying theme expressing the great universal truths of love, compassion, and interdependent responsibility for all beings.
The Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha Vow Sutra
Ksitigarbha and the Great Vow (HL Wang)
This Mahayana sutra was first translated from Sanskrit into Chinese in the 7th century A.C.E. T'ang Dynasty. The English here has been faithfully translated directly from the original archaic Chinese. In China this sutra has for hundreds of years been one of the most well-known and popular Buddhist sutras. But compared to such bodhisattvas as Avalokiteshvara and Manjushri, the name Ksitigarbha (Kishitigarba) appears to be relatively unknown in the West. 
According to one Chinese authority on Ksitigarbha, the reason for this obscurity lies in an ancient prophecy foretelling that this sutra would not be known outside of China and Tibet for 2,500 years after the time of Buddha -- until the Dharma-Ending Age -- our present age -- which would be ready to receive and understand it.
The sutra would then be revealed and spread to distant lands. Regardless of any mystique surrounding this explanation, the fact is that together with Avalokiteshvara, Manjushri, and Samantabhadra, Ksitigarbha is one of the most revered and celebrated bodhisattvas in China. Respectively, they personify the four basic Mahayana qualities of Great Compassion, Great Wisdom, Great Meritorious Deeds and, in Ksitigarbha, the Great Vow -- the vow to save all sentient beings, including hungry ghosts and beings in the hell(s).
Kwan Yin, Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, 1000 limbs to do all things (
The literal translation of the Bodhisattva's Sanskrit name is "Earth-Store." The name in one sense indicates that any undesirable or troublesome thoughts "stored" or hidden deep in one's mind or heart may be uncovered and released with the help of Ksitigarbha's power -- thereby freeing the person from their negative influence.

A less literal translation, which more accurately communicates its complex significance to Western readers, could be to render it as "Earth-Treasure." In this freer sense his name expresses the many marvelous aspects of the Earth and his mysterious connection with it: The Earth is vast, it supports all [kinds of] living beings, it is impartial, it receives life-giving rain, it produces trees and crops, it holds all planted seeds which will ultimately ripen and come to fruition, it holds many treasures, it produces medicines for suffering humanity, it is not moved by storms.
Kwan Yin, Bodhisattva of Compassion (wiki)
And the Earth (Sanskrit, Bhumi), too, is in its own way a sentient being. The Earth-Treasure Bodhisattva has a deep relationship with human beings of the Earth and, moreover, with those "below" it -- the hungry ghosts (pretas) and hell beings (narakas). Because these are the most difficult to raise into a more fortunate condition, due to their previous unwholesome actions, and because of his past vow to save them all, Ksitigarbha has been known as the Teacher of the Dark Regions.
"If I do not go to hell to help them, who else will go?" is the famous declaration popularly attributed to Ksitigarbha. No matter what the crime or the karma, he is willing to have a connection with any being and to help free anyone from suffering.
The sutra is fundamentally a teaching concerning karmic retribution, graphically describing the consequences one creates for oneself by committing undesirable actions.
This is especially for the benefit of future beings in the Dharma-Ending Age in order to help these beings avoid making the mistakes that will cause them to be reborn in a low condition. With the motivation to help suffering beings always in mind, the sutra is [structured as] a discourse given by the Buddha in praise of the Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha and his heroic vow, and of the benefits one can receive from honoring Ksitigarbha and reading the sutra.

Presented in the form of a seemingly mythic dialogue between the Buddha and Ksitigarbha, the teaching takes place in a certain heaven called Trayastrimsa ("The World of the Thirty-Three"), in front of a vast multitude of buddhas, bodhisattvas, devas, and spirits [i.e., pretas, asuras, nagas, yakshas]. Immediately prior to his departure from this world, the Buddha manifested in Trayastrimsa so that he might repay the kindness of his mother who dwelt there by speaking the Dharma on her behalf.

[This would mean that, if it happened, it would have happened in the few moments before reclining into into final nirvana, Earth time, when the Buddha briefly traversed the meditative absorptions called dhyanas/jhanas. See The Last Days of the Buddha (DN 16).]

Ksitigarbha Sutra/《地藏王菩薩的故事》(3D 動畫/生命基金會)
So from another aspect the sutra deals with filial responsibility -- not only between oneself and one's parents, but also in an ultimate sense of a universal code of duty or responsibility for all living beings, all of whom a bodhisattva regards with the same kindness, consideration, and respect one would accord to one's own parents. This, together with the practice of acts for the good of all, is the Bodhisattva's vision. More

Friday, August 30, 2013

Cure Cancer: Convention Weekend

Pat Macpherson, Wisdom Quarterly;
OPEN TO ALL: August 31, September 1 and 2, 2013, Sheraton Universal City, California

Come, enlightenment, come! (video)

Dev, Dhr. Seven, Amber Larson, Wisdom Quarterly
The light of wisdom dawns with enlightenment in the cave of the mind (Leyinkeu/flickr)
Angels may be dumb but even they wouldn't fall for toxic, synthetic AXE, no way! Новый ролик о приключениях ангелов AXE на земле! But they might fall over from the stench.

What, my beauty is going to fade?!
I was surrounded by angels (devis). They're beautiful, but they're dumb. Come, enlightenment, come. Try to get over this or that one, like Nanda and the celestial nymphs far surpassing their human kin, far beyond; it's no fun. Come, enlightenment, come. Even these are rotting, too, hurtling toward destruction, aging, fading, amounting to rinsed scum. Come, enlightenment, come. When I behold the impure, the foul, the disgusting, it wipes away all my lust, sends it headlong into oblivion. Come, enlightenment, come!

Enlightenment will not come from petitioning. Neither rule nor ritual will successfully lead to the final goal. There are two ingredients, and one is calm. The other is insight into the Round, the wheel of dependent origination. Insight on top of serenity, right-samadhi and clear-seeing, is all there needs to be.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Yosemite, Marijuana, D.C. burning (video)

Devi in fairy ring
(SCPR, Aug. 28, 2013) Time-lapse photography shows various perspectives of the 2013 Rim Fire, as viewed from Yosemite National Park. The first part of this video is from the Crane Flat Helibase. The fire is currently burning in wilderness and is not immediately threatening visitors or employees. The second half of the video is from Glacier Point, overlooking Yosemite Valley, illustrating how little the smoke from the fire has impacted the Valley. More

Quiet forests are the haunts of Bhumi devas (Earth spirits) who live dependent on trees.
Men, Women, and Depression
Fact: Women are diagnosed with depression at twice the rate that men are. But a surprising study of 5,692 people that was published this week in the medical journal JAMA Psychiatry shows that men actually suffer from depression nearly as often as women do. So how have doctors and therapists been missing the signs? More

March on Washington, 1963: "I Have a Dream" speech in brief (MLK)

Feds won't stop pot use legalized by states
Cultivation on public land is ruining our forests (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images/
Why is it so easy to get despite the "war"?
Despite 75 years of fabricated federal marijuana prohibition [on behalf of oil and other business interests], the Justice Department said today that states can let people use the drug, license people to grow it, and even allow adults to stroll into stores and buy it -- as long as the weed is kept away from kids, the black market and federal property.
These are the eight issues the Justice Department says must be addressed by states:
  • Preventing marijuana from getting to minors.
  • Keeping money from marijuana sales from going to criminal enterprises, gangs, and cartels. [Relocate those profits to corporate coffers.]
  • Preventing pot from states where it's legal from getting into states where it remains criminalized.
  • Preventing state-authorized marijuana activity from being used as a cover for trafficking in other illegal drugs or activity.
  • Preventing violence and the use of firearms in the growing and distribution of pot.
  • Preventing people from driving while stoned and other "adverse public health consequences associated with marijuana use."
  • Preventing marijuana from being grown on public lands.
  • Preventing pot possession on federal property. [The police state has its own interests to protect and laws to enforce so that we are never safe from a two-tiered legal system.]
In a sweeping new policy statement prompted by pot legalization votes in Washington state and Colorado last fall, the department gave the green light to states... More

Animal longevity

Fortune Telling Follies (interactive video)

Pat Macpherson, Seven, Wisdom Quarterly; Dhammacaro (; SMPFilms
WARNING: For entertainment purposes only!
"My, what good luck you have!"
Many people believe in fortune telling. Some rely on it so much that they get into trouble. If we believe and rely on something too much, we can easily get stuck and life is unable to move forward. A famous Chinese story illustrates this.
Once upon a time a man believed in fortune telling so much that he based his entire life on it. Whatever he wanted to do, he first had to check for auspicious signs and omens.

Ven. Sivali, the master of good fortune
He taught the same to his family. Then one day before undertaking a business deal, he checked, and certain signs revealed that he should not go outdoors. So he tried to go out a window instead. He fell and broke his leg. He shouted, “Son, my leg, my leg! Take me to the doctor!”
“One moment!” the son replied. Then he shouted down, “Sorry, father, it’s really not a good day to visit a doctor! We’ll go another day!” There was, of course, nothing the father could say or do. For luck’s sake, he lay crippled in agony.
If we believe and rely on something too much, we begin to lack self-confidence, we become dependent, and we train ourselves with this conditioning. Life becomes insecure, difficult, and unreliable. If we lived by wisdom, virtue, and confidence instead, we would know what to do to be successful in our affairs. This would pave the way to our happiness, independence, and prosperity.

Adventures in real life
Buddhist good luck charms and magical amulets, Thailand (Johan Denker/flickr)

A Buddhist altar (Mitjoruohoniemi/flickr)
The psychic said, Come here, do this, like this, while you say this. Now pose your question sincerely. I kneeled at the shrine before Kwan Yin, Amitabha, and Maha Sthamaprapta. "What do you mean sincerely?" I whispered. Don't test, don't joke, don't do it for amusement. I asked my question: "What can I do to make [it] happen?" Then I asked, "Now what?" Reach in this glass jar, pull a ball which will give you a number, then go to these little drawers to locate a numbered scroll. I unravelled the scroll but could not read the Chinese characters. "What does it say?" This is very auspicious, very lucky, you have very good karma!

"How can you be sure?" These characters are a scale of likelihood -- high, middling, or low. Within each is a ranking -- high, middling, or low. Yours is high-highest! It is sure to happen, and it will come to pass because of your good karma. "But what can I do to make it happen?" Make what happen? "Make my wish come true?" Whatever your aspiration, it will surely happen. "Wait right here," I asked the psychic. Then I walked over to another woman in another room. "What does this say?" She read the same thing, only adding that whether it regarded marriage, career, or money, this was as good a sign as one could hope for. "But what do I need to do?" It will happen due to your good karma. "Past or present?" Both. Hmm.

Luck or Karma?
Dr. R.L. Soni, Bhikkhu Khantipalo, "Life's Highest Blessings" (Maha Mangala Sutta)
A deva ("shining one") asks the Buddha for illumination on the subject of luck

Ven. Sivali (
In ancient Indian society at the time of the Buddha (as now), people were addicted to superstitions about omens of good and bad luck, divided on their nature and implications. So it was natural that someone asked the Buddha.
His words of wisdom were already an immense success not only with ordinary people but with those in positions of power and those of great learning.
The views expressed by the Enlightened One in the Maha Mangala Sutra are a masterpiece of practical wisdom. This discourse was recited at the First Buddhist Council by Ven. Ananda, the attendant and cousin of the Buddha who had memorized the Buddha's discourses.
It is a charter in outline of responsibility, social obligations, purification of virtue, and spiritual cultivation. Within a dozen stanzas are included profound counsels and golden rules, which point the way of life's journey to reach perfect harmony, love, peace, and security. One favorite stanza on karma reads, "Acts of giving, wholesome living,/Relatives and kin supporting,/Actions blameless pursuing:/This is the highest blessing!" More

Beautiful Travel Photos?

My Chi Chi Sticks Tell Me So (video)

CC Liu, Seven, Wisdom Quarterly; Wiki edits 1, 2; Sheila Simkin (

Compassionate Kwan Yin (Vaniaragageles)
Kau Chim is a fortune telling practice that originated in ancient China. A person asking a question requests an answer through divination using a sacred oracle lot.
The practice is often performed in Buddhist and Taoist temples in front of an altar of shared deified bodhisattvas (savior aspirants). Kau Chim are often referred to as Chim Tong ("Request a Sticks" made of 78 red-colored bamboo slats with mysterious characters with a number and 78 corresponding written oracle outcomes) or Chinese Fortune Sticks by Westerners. In the United States a version has been sold since 1915 under the name Chi Chi Sticks. They are also known as "The Oracle of Kwan Yin" in Mahayana Buddhist tradition.

Fortune Telling
Seven is lucky, so very lucky.
Chinese fortune telling, better known as suan ming (算命, literally "fate calculating") has utilized many divination techniques through various dynastic periods. Many methods are still practiced in mainland China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. Some of these have moved into Korean, Japanese, and Vietnamese cultures under other names. For example Saju in Korea is the same as the Chinese four pillar method.
The oldest accounts about the practice of divination describe it as a measure for "solving doubts." For example, an "examination of doubts" 稽疑 is conceived as part of the "Great Plan," 洪範).
Kwan Yin Bodhisattva
Two well known methods of divination included 卜 (on tortoise shells) and shì 筮 (on stalks of the milfoil plant, shī 蓍). Those methods were sanctioned as royal practices since the Shang and Zhou Dynasties. Divination of the xiang 相 type (by "appearance" of human body parts, animals, etc.), however, was sometimes criticized as Xunzi, "against divination." Apparently, it was part of medical and veterinary practices and necessary in match-making and marketing choices. A number of divination techniques also developed around astronomical observations and burial practices (e.g., Feng shui and Guan Lu).

Adventures in real life

Chi Chi Sticks, Hong Kong (Ted Chan/wiki)
(Sheila Simpkin)  A large Taoist temple sits one block east of Qingjing Mosque. Shriveled women beggars stand in front prodding one strong bony finger into the arms of passersby, poking away while asking for money. I abhor being poked. It frightens, and it hurts. They never bother the men. I take the Way of the Tao (i.e., path of least resistance) practically running into the temple. I am instructed in the proper way to pray, select Chi Chi Sticks to divine my fortune by a woman who "reads" them, then walk outside where men are sitting on small stools waiting for customers to tell their fortunes. It was altogether fun even if we did not like our fortunes. More poking, more prodding, and more running. Whatever happened to the soothsayers of old with their, "You will have a long life and be very wealthy"?
Alan Watts: Taoism
British-born California Zen Buddhist teacher Alan Watts on Asian Philosophies and the Tao

KOAN: Zuigan's Permanent Principle

Wisdom Quarterly; Roshi Jeff Albrizze,, Case 75, The Book of Equanimity
PasaDharma's free meditation and koan study group, Thursdays (Wisdom Quarterly)

Even though you try to call it thus, it quickly changes.
At the place where knowledge fails to reach, it should not be talked about.
Here: Is there something to penetrate?

Zuigan asked Ganto, "What is the original, permanent principle?"
Ganto replied, “Moving.”
Zuigan asked, “How about when it moves?"
Ganto said, "You don’t see the original, permanent principle.”
Zuigan was flabbergasted.
Ganto remarked, "When you agree, you are not liberated from the senses and their dust.
When you don’t agree, you sink into life and death forever."

Perfect jewel without flaw, a great gemstone needs no polish.
Where the person of the Way is praiseworthy, she has no sharp edges.
When the path of agreement is forgotten, senses and dust are empty,
Liberated body without dependence. Alive and frisky!

Tibetan Tantra, Mantra, Forgiveness (video)

Pat Macpherson, Ashley Wells, Wisdom Quarterly; Gyalwa Rinpoche (Aug. 25, 2013)

The first day of the 14th Dalai Lama's three-day teaching on Tsongkhapa's Concise Treatises on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment and an overview of Tantra from Tsongkhapa's Stages of the Path of Mantrayana at the request of a group of Korean Buddhists at the main Tibetan temple in Dharamsala, India from August 25-27, 2013. In Tibetan followed by English translation.

The Power of Forgiveness
The Dalai Lama on forgiveness, University of Limerick, Ireland, 2011

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The March on Washington! (video)

WARNING: Extremely moving! MLK said, "I Have a Dream" (see full speech)
The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. planned and participated in the historic 1963 "March on Washington" to promote peace (opposing the US/MIC's widespread secret bombing of Buddhist Cambodia, Laos, and the very public and wanton destruction of Buddhist Vietnam). Dr. King was a great promoter of Vietnamese Zen Buddhist monk and fellow peace activist Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh (Thay). Racism in America and widespread economic disparity, which kept large swaths of the population in "slave" conditions, could be tolerated by the Powers That Be at the time. But the one thing they could not tolerate was a direct assault on the military-industrial complex (the corporate and governmental interests that very profitably promote war and destruction as a means of enriching themselves and maintaining social control). Dr. King saw this and could not be silent on the matter:

"The greatest purveyor of violence: My [US] government, and I cannot be silent." 
Malcolm X quietly supported the growing peace movement opposing segregation, racism, and economic inequality. He, however, was willing to examine other options -- the Islamification of the black community, direct resistance, black nationalism, and taking what communities were being deprived of due to race. He is often cast as promoting the opposite of Dr. King's peace model based on Gandhi and Jesus Christ (who is said to have come not to bring peace but a sword, Matt. 10:34). The saying, "By any means necessary" is repeatedly quoted like a battle cry -- as if it meant violence were the only way. All means included nonviolent resistance, active dissent, civil disobedience, self-defense, peaceful demonstrations, rallies, marches, finding allies in other oppressed parts of the world and the country (among other groups), and more. He did not believe that the Powers That Be were simply going to hand over equal rights and opportunities out of kindness and generosity. So much was at stake that no option was off the table. So to think that Malcolm X was all angry and violent, whereas Dr. King was all love and peace is a great misreading of history. But this is the simplistic tale we are told.

Peaceful means
Peace Pagoda, Ladakh, Himalayas (creative_pixels)
Malcolm X makes it clear that he has bigger plans for ending racism and oppression than what Rev. King has been heard promoting. Whether promoting pure peace or "all means necessary," the American government assassinated them just the same. But who made a bigger public impression?
Whose name is remembered and lauded as a sustainable movement? If we fight violent-power with violent-power, the more violently-powerful win, and we continue to live oppressed by violence. 
If we resist with peace, after a time, peace wins out, and we now live blessed by peace. The choice is always ours -- and it is not an easy choice when being prodded by violent police and racist institutions.

"It is time now for you and me to stop running away from the wolf right into the hands of the fox looking for some kind of help."
- Malcolm X
MLK, Thay, Browne (
(MalcolmXfiles)  "Recently when I was blessed to make a religious pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca where I met many people from all over the world, plus spent many weeks in Africa trying to broaden my own scope and get more of an open mind to look at the problem as it actually is, one of the things that I realized -- and I realized this even before going over there -- was that our African brothers have gained their independence faster than you and I here in America have.
"They've also gained recognition and respect as human beings much faster than you and I. Just ten years ago on the African continent, our people were colonized.
"They were suffering all forms of colonization, oppression, exploitation, degradation, humiliation, discrimination, and every other kind of -ation. And in a short time, they have gained more independence, more recognition, more respect as human beings than you and I have.
"And you and I live in a country which is supposed to be the citadel of education, freedom, justice, democracy, and all of those other pretty-sounding words.
"So it was our intention to try and find out what it was our African brothers were doing to get results, so that you and I could study what they had done and perhaps gain from that study or benefit from their experiences."

Do police and soldiers fight or defend the corrupt offices of power?

Man searches for 2,600-year-old Buddha spirit

Wisdom Quarterly; Sanjay Sharma (Times of India); The Buddhist Forum UPDATED
Buddhist heritage sites are found throughout greater India, from modern Iran to Bangladesh
Lone man searches for 2,600-year-old Buddha spirit in north Indian ruins
CHANDIGARH, India - A rural Hindu boy found peace sitting in Buddhist ruins around historically important Yamunanagar, his hometown, when he felt low pursuing his engineering degree from Kurukshetra University.

Siddhartha Gauri, 35, just like the historical Buddha Siddhartha Gautama, found hope thinking of reviving dilapidated structures around his town.

The Buddha traveled throughout the north interacting with Brahmins and others, which later influenced the development of Hinduism (formalized as a "religion" by Adi Shankara).
Prince Siddhartha, who became the Buddha at 35, was on a spiritual quest that started when he first noticed or was deeply struck by the uncommon sight of death, disease, and old age in his charmed life. The Buddha found answers to his quest 2,600 years ago on this very day [May 17, 2011, the full-moon day of the Indian month of Vesak].

While collecting pictures of such sites, an idea occurred to Siddhartha Gauri -- making a documentary to capture the plight of the historically important sites. It took three years but he succeeded in making a 22 minute documentary: "Dhammashetra -- The Lost Land of Buddha."

As he started researching on the ruins, he found too many of them across the country, mostly in Haryana.
Gauri was, however, shocked to know that nothing much was happening in terms of conserving Buddhism's heritage, which is so important for world peace, tourism, as well as the diplomatic and economic ties of India with the rest of the world, particularly China and Japan and neighboring Buddhist countries.
Despite his film being shown on Doordarshan International, he launched a website to attract the attention of the world towards the plight of Buddhism's heritage in India.
The Buddhism that developed in ancient India spread to ancient Greece before moving to China and north Asia, leaving behind imprints of Mahayana that went on to influence Christianity and Western ideals like democracy and parliamentary processes.

The website is attracting 100,000 visitors a month, mostly from America and Russia, both of which have significant Buddhist populations (indigenous and new adherents).
His efforts to draw the attention of the Indian government brought him disappointment as nothing tangible has happened on the ground.
Gauri, however, started getting recognition from the international community. In April, he had a meeting with Magsaysay Award winner Sri Lankan Gandhian Dr. A.T. Ariyaratne to save the Buddhist heritage of North India.
The "Buddhist circuit" in ancient Magadha, Northern India
Barely managing so far by borrowing funds from family and friends, the Yamunanagar City youth is planning to visit Buddhist countries to drum up support for his cause. the first international screening of his film was held in Sri Lanka in April. He was invited to the island nation's celebrations of the 2,600th anniversary of the Buddha's enlightenment (Buddha Jayanthi).
"My name and my work on stupas [alabaster Buddhist burial mounds that serve as sacred reliquaries] have almost made me a Buddhist in the eyes of the world despite retaining my Hindu belief close to my heart," Gauri told The Times of India.
Gauri has already written letters to all 700 MPs to preserve India's Buddhist heritage in their areas. And he has sent 21,000 signatures to India's president for saving stupas.
Whether there is a controversy on Chaneti Stupa being spoiled during conservation work or villagers demanding the return of the Ashokan pillar from Delhi back to Topra village, Gauri is on the forefront.
Talking to The Times of India, Gauri said one of the biggest challenges for his campaign came when he found out that the Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir has a large number of Kushan period remains. It was from here that Buddhism went to Bamiyan in Afghanistan [where the Buddha may have grown up, the real Kapilavastu, the capital of the Kingdom of the Shakyas].
But one courageous Kashmiri Muslim, Siraj-ud-din Salam, of the Kashmir Humanity Foundation has stood by him. Together they launched a signature campaign in Kashmir to save the Buddha.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Indian celebrations at BAPS, California

Dhr. Seven, Amber Larson, Radha Dev, Wisdom Quarterly; (donate)
Enchanting Krishna, Radha, sacred cow and other beings (

The final touches are still being put on the massive complex to promote the "eternal truth" or sanatan dharma of the Indus River Valley Civilization and modern India (BAPS).
CHINO HILLS - The most splendid and massive Hindu mandir (temple shrine) is being completed in California. In faraway San Bernardino county, just east of Los Angeles, a marvlous Indian shrine is having the final touches put on it.
Bringing India to America (BAPS)
BAPS Chino Hills, a religious complex dedicated to Sri Swami Narayan, is expansive. Its main shrine is a marvel along the 71 freeway with its automated-fountain lotus flower reflecting pool. But the interior is nevertheless wholly unexpected -- carved marble (or white soapstone) full of figurines in the Hindu pantheon form an overwhelming cathedral (pictured below). The entire circular ceiling is covered in devas (light beings) and gods, avatars and demigods, heroes and goddesses. There is a second lesser ceiling (pictured above bathed in blue light) rising above intricately carved pillars. If one arrives midweek, one can see imported artisans from India laboring in the sun to carve out each image on the exterior. There is even a rare image of Great Brahma, the supremo, and incarnations of Vishnu and Shiva, and more goddesses than one ever sees nowadays.

The stunning figures in the main shrine
Krishna (Kṛṣṇa) and Radha (Shakti), the all-attractive Christ-figure in modern Hinduism and his beloved consort, are the center of upcoming celebrations known as Krishna Janmashtami (कृष्ण जन्माष्टमी) this weekend.
Incarnations in US: Govindas and Radha
It is an annual commemoration of the birth of the Hindu deity Krishna, the eighth avatar (earthly incarnation) of Vishnu. The Buddha is also said to be an avatar of Vishnu, the part of the Vedic trinity responsible for preserving the world, where Brahma is perceived as its creator and Shiva its destroyer.
The festival is celebrated on the eighth day (Ashtami) of the Krishna Paksha (dark fortnight, inasmuch as krish denotes dark or black, giving rise to his depiction as a blue visitor from space/heaven) of the month of Bhadrapada (August-September) on the Hindu calendar.
Kirtan: Govindas and Radha return to mother India (BYS)
Rasa lila, dramatic plays or enactments of the life of Krishna, are a special feature in various regions of India, re-creating the flirtatious aspects of Krishna's youthful days as a cowherd or gopi alongside the cow maids.

If one never visits India, a trip to Chino Hills is well advised (BAPS)
The Dahi Handi celebrate this god's playful and mischievous side, as teams of young men form human towers to reach a high-hanging pot of butter and break it. This tradition is a major event in Tamil Nadu, southernmost India. This god, by extension, is conceived as part and parcel of God, who takes on many manifestations. Hinduism is not really polytheistic -- in spite of all evidence to the contrary -- because it is really only this one "God" playing a game (lila) of ignorant and illusion in an eternity of safety and security. The ultimate divinity, however, is impersonal Brahman (GOD or godhead), the endless play of energy behind all illusory manifestations.

The unbelievably beautiful mandir ceiling-pantheon (BAPS)

Is all well? Is there no need for actual liberation (nirvana) because we are, as Hindus and Mahayanists insist, already free and clear of disappointment/suffering (dukkha)? The historical Buddha would certainly not say so, but he does not get much say. He was long ago replaced by an infinite number of other more cooperative buddhas, gods, bodhisattvas, avatars, and mahasattvas. Like Issa (Jesus Christ) who came much later, the Buddha was a rebel. And Brahminical Indian culture and its priestly caste could no more tolerate him than the Jews, Philistines, and Pharisees could the upstart from Nazareth returning from India to begin his ministry.
  • Janmashtami Festival, Sunday, Sept. 1, 2013
  • 15100 Fairfield Ranch, Chino Hills, CA 91709
  • FREE all day (909) 614-5000