Today I sat with a group of Sri Lancan people, put my hands together, and paid homage to Buddha.
I was privileged to be able to take part in the wonderful ceremony of Vesak, the day Buddhists celebrate Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and passing.
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In the morning a new friend and I stood with the rest of the celebrants around the perimeter of the great hall while children made their way about the room bearing gifts for Buddha. It was a Dana ceremony. Later I enjoyed a wonderful meal and good conversation. In the afternoon Bhikkhu Rahula, who had graciously invited me to the event, gave a Dhamma talk. His words were wise and informative.
I hope I got everything correct. I have much to learn about the cultural aspects of Buddhism.
On Christian common sense…
If you’ll take a look over on the left column you’ll see a blog titled “Selling God.” It was all about First Assembly of God in Lufkin’s car giveaway. Being me, I wrote a letter to the paper. Find the letter here:
(If the links don’t work click the Contact Me link, let me know and I’ll send you a copy.)
Of course, First Assembly being one of the two local Megachurches, there were more than a few people unhappy with my letter. Several letters appeared in the paper countering my unkind words.
Read the rest of this story on the update 042809.
I’ve been reading a magnificent book called What Buddhists Believe. The copy I have was printed by the Texas Buddhist Association*. I’m a bit slow in getting through it, haven’t finished it yet, but on about every page I find stuff that just thrills my soul. What a wonderful world this would be if people would abide by what this book teaches!
Consider these examples:
In the world today, there is sufficient material wealth. There are very advanced individuals, brilliant writers, talented speakers, philosophers, psychologists, scientists, religious advisors, wonderful poets and powerful world leaders. In spite of these intellectuals, there’s no real peace and security in the world today. Something must be lacking. What is lacking is loving-kindness or goodwill amongst mankind. (p165)
Man should learn how to practice selfless love to maintain real peace and his own salvation. Just as suicide kills physically, selfishness kills spiritual progress. Loving-kindness in Buddhism is neither emotional or selfish. It is loving-kindness that radiates through the purified mind after erradicating hatred, jealousy, cruelty, enmity and grudges. (p166)
All my life I’ve had one question on my mind. That question is WHY? Well, there’s actually a few thousand questions that begin with the word, “why?” Why are humans so cruel, so hateful, so rude, so selfish? I grew up in the sixties. The news carried video of dead VC, gave body counts, told about the war in Vietnam. The next story on the news was of some race riot or protest. It was a quiet day around the house when someone wasn’t arguing, mom wasn’t complaining about some illness, or some other crap was going on. Why?
I have to pay a price to be a Buddhist. There’s a price to pay for being Buddhist in East Texas. There’s a price to pay for being Buddhist in America, too. Is it worth it? We shall see.
My daughter has a myspace page. It worries me a little but at least it’s an outlet for her to find friends. Her being on myspace encouraged me to get on there once again and revive my myspace page. I did.
My updated myspace is here: http://www.myspace.com/texas_writer
The past few days I’ve been searching around for Buddhist groups. I found and joined one that lists the “Fourteen Precepts” as given by Venerable Thich Nhat Hanh. Here are two of the precepts:
8. Do not utter words that can create discord and cause the community to break. Make every effort to reconcile and resolve all conflicts, however small.
9. Do not say untruthful things for the sake of personal interest or to impress people. Do not utter words that cause division and hatred. Do not spread news that you do not know to be certain. Do not criticize or condemn things of which you are not sure. Always speak truthfully and constructively. Have the courage to speak out about situations of injustice, even when doing so may threaten your own safety.
Find the complete list here: http://groups.myspace.com/EngagedBuddhism
Notice the underlined portions. Are they not contradictions? I greatly admire the venerable master. I have another quote of his on my myspace page. I would very much like to hear his response to this post.
How is it possible to “speak out about situations of injustice, even when doing so may threaten …safety” and NOT “utter words that can create discord?” How does one “speak truthfully and constructively” and “speak out about injustice?”
“I know what you are against. But what are you for?”
Emile de Becque in the movie “South Pacific”
In the recent post “Walking Away… ” I talked about my choice to leave behind my “former life,” the religion and tradition of my youth. I gave a few glimpses about why. But that post is only half the story. The quote above, one of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite movies, reflects how we too often use negatives to prove our point without ever giving a positive reason.
This post is something I posted on Cowtippers.
— In SacredCowTippers@yahoogroups.com, *~Mystic Blue Rose~* <mystic_blue.rose@…> wrote:
> not every word in the bible is inspired or inerrant. perhaps Paul’s homophobia was manifest in his attitude rather than GOD’s homophobia.
Ted here… looking for a place to weigh in.
I’ve browsed forward to see what everyone else said then came back to jump in at this post.
I start here because I have a real problem with the term “homophobia.” “Phobia” means fear. I am claustrophobic, meaning if someone locked me in a small room it would scare the crap out of me. There are no two football players big enough to get me into an MRI. I am uncomfortable in elevators. On the other hand, while I find the activity of homosexuality unpleasant and gross I am NOT “afraid” of those who practice it nor of the knowledge of what it is.