Thursday, June 12, 2014

Buddhist SPORTS: "brainball" at Sera (video)
Dhr. Seven and Amber Larson, Wisdom Quarterly; KL.Lau (wiki); TricycleMag (video)

The Fix Is In (Brian Tuohy)
The pitch (field) was crackling. Everyone was suited up. Game books in hand, teams formed, star players and cheerleaders, then it was game on.
Take that! No, you take that! Click and clack, fripp and frap, with vorpal sword (vajra) in hand. Now you've gotten yourself in a bind you'll never be able to get out of! Here's my retort; now you're trapped! Bam, take that right back! Lama on lama and the rinpoche can referee.

Sacred thunder bolt: Vajra
Here is a poetic play-by-play of an idealized match for The Phörpa (Cup):
One, two! One, two! And through and through,
The vajra hand goes snicker-snack!
He left him slumped, and with his head held high,
He went galumphing back.
- Lewis Carroll's imagination
Diagram of the pitch (mandala) for a match (debate) in the head space of reality.
The debate is on. Bam (hand clap)! Try to get yourself out of that one! (KL.Lau)
Debating Buddhist scriptures - Tibet's Sera Monastery 西藏色拉寺 
They'll get it when they meditate (KL.Lau)
Sera Monastery (gompa or Himalayan lamasery) is one of the great three Gelukpa sect university monasteries in Tibet. It is located 1.25 miles (2 km) north of the capital, Lhasa. The other two are Ganden and Drepung.
Sophistry? The only way to debate is to study, question, and contemplate (KL.Lau)
Gamble? Larceny Games
The origin of the name "Sera" is attributed to the fact that the site of the monastery was once surrounded by wild roses (Tibetan se ra) in bloom. The original Sera was located in Lhasa about 3 miles (5 kms) north of the Jokang and is responsible for some 19 hermitages, including four nunneries, all located in the foothills north of Lhasa.

Sera Monastery is a complex of structures with a Great Assembly Hall and three colleges, founded in 1419 by Jamchen Chojey of the Sakya Yeshe of Zel Gungtang (1355-1435), a disciple of Tsongkhapa.

During the 1959 revolt in Lhasa, Sera suffered severe damage, its colleges destroyed, and hundreds of Buddhist monks killed. After the Dalai Lama escaped and found asylum in India, many of the Sera monks who survived the Chinese invasion moved to Bylakuppe in Mysore, India.

When Iron Bird Flies (Ayya Khema)
After initial tribulations, they established a parallel Sera with Sera Me and Sera Je colleges and a Great Assembly Hall similar to the original monastic complex with help from the Indian government. There are now more than 3,000 monks living in India's Sera, and the community has spread its missionary activities to several other countries by establishing Dharma centers propagating knowledge of Bon shamanism and  Buddhism known as Himalayan Vajrayana, Indian Tantra, Chinese Esoteric Buddhism, and Lamaism. [This is what was bound to happen "when the iron bird flies," according to Tibetan lore.]
Ven. Trijang, Dalai Lama's tutor, Sera Mey
The Sera in Tibet and its counterpart in Mysore, India are noted for their dramatic and very animated "monastic debates." This stylized form of intellectual combat is meant to enhance learning and reflection on the Dharma, the teachings of the Buddha and elaborated, Hindu-synthesized Buddhist philosophy (aka Mahayana). Sera developed over the centuries as a renowned place of scholarly learning, training hundreds of scholars, many of whom have attained fame in Buddhist countries.
After the match everyone gathers for a group photo at Sera Me Tratsang College  "stadium"

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