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Archive for the ‘Buddhism’ Category

Not simply adapting Buddha for suburbia

Posted: October 1, 2014 at 7:52 am


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In the US, capitalists seem to be looting Buddhism, making off with its meditation mindfulness techniques and ignoring spiritual teachings such loving kindness. But how is mindfulness unfolding in South Africa?

Upmarket lifestyle shops sell statues of Buddha by the thousand while some of Wall Streets most successful traders claim that meditation helps them to focus thus enabling them to make more money.

The Buddhist concept of mindfulness is also growing in popularity in Western medicine, as more studies show the benefits of meditation and yoga on reducing anxiety and depression.

Earlier this year, Time magazine devoted a cover story to the mindful revolution, while Bloomberg featured a story headlined To make a killing on Wall Street, start meditating.

Mindfulness, simply put, encourages people to be aware of what is happening in the present moment without judgment, often through meditation based on breathing.

Scientific studies now prove what Buddhist monks have long felt: that the effects of meditation can be measured in the brain, particularly in the prefrontal cortex that regulates emotions.

But it is hard not to be cynical about what looks like capitalist looting of an ancient Eastern spirituality, taking meditation and applying it for material benefit while ignoring the Buddhist values of compassion, tolerance and the pursuit of wisdom.

Neuroscientist Dr Cliff Saron, from the University of California at Davis, has been studying mindfulness since the 1970s.

Disturbed by the recent popularity of mindfulness with hedge-fund traders, Saron says sardonically that the way it has gained traction might be a retraction.

But his painstaking efforts have added to growing scientific proof of the positive effects of meditation.

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Not simply adapting Buddha for suburbia

Written by simmons

October 1st, 2014 at 7:52 am

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Buddhism (religion) — Encyclopedia Britannica

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Buddhism,religion and philosophy that developed from the teachings of the Buddha (Sanskrit: awakened one), a teacher who lived in northern India between the mid-6th and the mid-4th centuries bce (before the Common Era or Christian era). Spreading from India to Central and Southeast Asia, China, Korea, and Japan, Buddhism has played a central role in the spiritual, cultural, and social life of Asia, and during the 20th century it spread to the West.

Ancient Buddhist scripture and doctrine developed in several closely related literary languages of ancient India, especially in Pali and Sanskrit. In this article Pali and Sanskrit words that have gained currency in English are treated as English words and are rendered in the form in which they appear in English-language dictionaries. Exceptions occur in special circumstancesas, for example, in the case of the Sanskrit term dharma (Pali: dhamma), which has meanings that are not usually associated with the English dharma. Pali forms are given in the sections on the core teachings of early Buddhism that are reconstructed primarily from Pali texts and in sections that deal with Buddhist traditions in which the primary sacred language is Pali. Sanskrit forms are given ... (200 of 42,944 words)

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Buddhism (religion) -- Encyclopedia Britannica

Written by simmons

October 1st, 2014 at 7:52 am

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Banning books in prison spurs lawsuit: Playboy OK, but books on Buddhism and sailing rejected

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Since he was sent to prison in 2012, Michael Hanson has relied on Buddhism to give him strength and prepare for life on the outside.

Hanson participates in weekly meetings with volunteers from Aryaloka, a Buddhist center in Newmarket that runs an outreach program for inmates. He meditates with a group on Saturdays and reads the religious texts he can access behind bars. ... Subscribe or log in to read more

Since he was sent to prison in 2012, Michael Hanson has relied on Buddhism to give him strength and prepare for life on the outside.

Hanson participates in weekly meetings with volunteers from Aryaloka, a Buddhist center in Newmarket that runs an outreach program for inmates. He meditates with a group on Saturdays and reads the religious texts he can access behind bars.

Hanson stays in touch with the tenets of his faith. But as a practitioner of Shaolin Chan, a strain of Buddhism that flourished centuries ago at the Shaolin monastery in China, Hanson hasnt found anything within the walls of the New Hampshire State Prison for Men that speaks directly to his beliefs.

The study of Buddhism, or any spiritual practice, is important in rehabilitating a person, he said, and so the time that Im spending in prison, Im trying to use it wisely to become a different person a better person and its difficult for me to do that without having that part of my spirituality.

Hanson was jailed at the Rockingham County House of Corrections in 2011 after he pleaded guilty to trying to access child pornography. A probation violation the next year sent Hanson back to jail this time to the state prison in Concord.

During Hansons first stint behind bars, a book that outlined the philosophy of Shaolin Buddhism was a source of comfort. And although Hanson was allowed to read the book in the Rockingham County jail, he was barred this year from getting a copy in state prison. Officials determined information about martial arts contained within the book, The Shaolin Grandmasters Text, posed a security risk.

Sometimes painted with a broad brush, Buddhism and its many disciplines can be as varied as the denominations of Christianity. Shaolin Chan centers around the idea of nonattachment, but unlike some other Buddhist practices, Shaolin focuses heavily on martial arts. For Shaolin disciples, kung fu functions as a form of meditation through action.

Hanson maintains that the Grandmasters Text is fundamentally a religious work with only cursory information about martial arts. Without it, Hanson says he has no way to study Shaolin philosophy. He is suing the prison to gain access to the book, alleging the prisons Literary Review Committee violated his constitutional rights.

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Banning books in prison spurs lawsuit: Playboy OK, but books on Buddhism and sailing rejected

Written by simmons

October 1st, 2014 at 7:52 am

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Buddhists hard-liners from Myanmar, Sri Lanka formalize agreement to protect religion

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Published September 30, 2014

Myanmars radical Buddhist monk Ashin Wirathu attends a media briefing in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014. Wirathu, known for his anti-Muslim campaign, has formalized an agreement with a like-minded Sri Lankan Bodu Bala Sena or Buddhist Power Force to work together to protect Buddhism which he says is challenged worldwide. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)(The Associated Press)

Myanmars radical Buddhist monk Ashin Wirathu, center, exchanges copies of a three-point agreement with the officials of Sri Lanka's Bodu Bala Sena or Buddhist Power Force during a media briefing in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014. Wirathu, known for his anti-Muslim campaign, has formalized an agreement with a like-minded Sri Lankan group to work together to protect Buddhism which he says is challenged worldwide. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)(The Associated Press)

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka A Myanmar Buddhist monk and a Sri Lankan ultranationalist both known for campaigning against Muslims have formally signed an agreement to work together to protect Buddhism.

Ashin Wirathu leads the fundamentalist 969 movement that has been accused of instigating deadly violence against minority Muslims in Myanmar. He was a special invitee Sunday at a rally of Bodu Bala Sena, or Buddhist Power Force, which claims minority Muslims are trying to take over Sri Lanka by having more children, marrying Buddhist women and taking over businesses.

Wirathu signed the agreement with Bodu Bala Sena in Colombo on Tuesday after saying at the rally they would join forces. The groups said their agreement involves networking and building the capacity to stabilize Buddhism. They promised to release the contents of the agreement soon.

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Buddhists hard-liners from Myanmar, Sri Lanka formalize agreement to protect religion

Written by simmons

October 1st, 2014 at 7:52 am

Posted in Buddhism


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