Saturday, 12 July 2014

Jihad Escalation in Thailand: Jihadists target and murder Buddhist nursing students in Thailand






 From ATLAS SHRUGS

"The devout Muslims are in a Ramadan frenzy in Thailand and they are targeting the most gentle, the most innocent human beings – Buddhist nursing students.

Our man on the ground in Thailand, Chai, writes:

"So much for the peace of Ramadan in Southern Thailand.

“the two women were randomly selected because they were defenceless and also because they were clearly non-Muslims as they were not wearing scarves.”

  Muslims are now targeting Buddhist nursing students from the Yala Hospital. They gunned down two young women nursing students in broad daylight at the local market. Buddhist or not, had they been wearing Muslim scarves on their heads, they would probably still be alive.

  I don’t know why this should be a surprise to anyone though as Muslims have been murdering pretty young Buddhist teachers for years in Thailand’s South.

  The response from the Thai government so far?

  All Buddhist nursing students have been removed from the Yala Hospital and are now working in Bangkok. Only Muslim nursing students will be allowed at Yala Hospital.

And so the Islamization of Thailand’s Southern provinces marches on in exactly the same manner as Islamization works in other countries. Non-Muslims must comply with Muslim rules and dress codes during Ramadan or they will be penalized, beaten or murdered.

In this  the powerful video you can hear the local mosque in the background calling people to prayer. (at the very end of the video)

I’m sure Allah is pleased."

- Chai

See more at: http://pamelageller.com/2014/07/jihad-escalation-thailand-jihadists-target-murder-buddhist-nursing-students-thailand.html


    Insurgents now taking aim at ‘soft targets’ The Nation July 11, 2014
    

Yala Hospital tightens its security, staff instructed to only leave premises when absolutely necessary 
    Despite boosting its security measures, Yala’s Yupparaj Hospital could not escape an insurgent attack when two of its trainee nurses were gunned down in the middle of a crowded market across the street on Wednesday.

    Prasit Meksuwan, chief of the Civic Council in Southernmost Provinces, deplored the attack as he cited the analysis by security officials as saying the two gunmen were likely lying in wait for anybody who could be considered a Buddhist to leave the hospital.

    Unfortunately, the two young women – Sutheera Phetjan, 29, and Kulradee Phetmak, 21 – ended up being the targets. Their families are now being provided with counselling and other assistance.

    Meanwhile, Prasit urged Buddhists to avoid travelling alone or visiting markets, which he said were difficult to secure as there were far too many people and protection was often lighter.

    Security sources say that these two women were randomly chosen for the attack because they weren’t wearing headscarves. Also, they were possibly chosen as “soft targets” by a new breed of insurgents, who were possibly seeking to avenge the arrest of an ustad or Islamic teacher on Monday.

    Separately, Dr Sawas Aphiwijjaneewong, chief of the public health provincial office, said the hospital has issued new regulations instructing members of staff to only leave the hospital premises if they have to run important errands. They have also been warned to not go out alone or after dark.  “However, the shooting happened in broad daylight in a market that was packed with people. This is beyond expectation,” he pointed out.

    Director of the Sirindhorn Public Health College in Yala, which had assigned 11 students to undergo apprenticeship at Yupparaj Hospital, said normally food was provided to students and members of staff inside the hospital and that security was tight for all hospital personnel.  She added that the two women were randomly selected because they were defenceless and also because they were clearly non-Muslims as they were not wearing scarves.

    The remaining nine students have been moved to other hospitals outside the three strife-torn provinces in the South.

    Kanthima Aldri-us, a senior nurse who oversaw the 11 trainees, said hospital staff and students were only allowed to go to the convenience store across the road for their own safety, but an ad-hoc market was set up on the day of the tragedy right next to the store.

    “It happened within just 10 minutes, after the two victims left the hospital for the market,” she added.



Jihad against Buddhism





Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams reveals how Buddhism helps him pray



By John Bingham in The Telegraph 

“...Over the years increasing exposure to and engagement with the Buddhist world in particular has made me aware of practices not unlike the ‘Jesus Prayer’ and introduced me to disciplines that further enforce the stillness and physical focus that the prayer entails,” he explained

“Walking meditation, pacing very slowly and coordinating each step with an out-breath, is something I have found increasingly important as a preparation for a longer time of silence.

“So: the regular ritual to begin the day when I’m in the house is a matter of an early rise and a brief walking meditation or sometimes a few slow prostrations, before squatting for 30 or 40 minutes (a low stool to support the thighs and reduce the weight on the lower legs) with the 'Jesus Prayer': repeating (usually silently) the words as I breathe out, leaving a moment between repetitions to notice the beating of the heart, which will slow down steadily over the period.”

Far from it being like a “magical invocation”, he explained that the routine helps him detach himself from “distracted, wandering images and thoughts”, picturing the human body as like a 'cave' through which breath passes.

“If you want to speak theologically about it, it’s a time when you are aware of your body as simply a place where life happens and where, therefore, God ‘happens’: a life lived in you,” he added.

He went on to explain that those who perform such rituals regularly could reach "advanced states" and become aware of an "unbroken inner light"...full article


Lord Williams shows a much better understanding of Buddhism than Catholic theologians, but then the Anglican Church always was much more latitudinarian and intellectually competent than Catholicism. 

Friday, 27 June 2014

Jihadist destroys Buddhist statues in Tokyo










From the Gateway Pundit by Joe Hoft   

Sudden Jihad Syndrome Japan

"A Saudi graduate student vandalized and destroyed several ancient Buddhas that were designated as important Japanese cultural symbols in downtown Tokyo. One of the statues was 300 years old.

The incident happened around midnight.


The man said he carried out a similar attack at another temple."

NHK reported:

"A Saudi Arabian man has been arrested for vandalizing Buddhist statues at a temple in downtown Tokyo.

Police say they received an emergency call about a foreigner behaved violently at the Sensoji Temple in Asakusa, Taito Ward at around midnight on Wednesday.

They say officers who rushed to the scene found 4 Buddhist statues lying broken on the ground.

Police say they questioned a 31-year-old Saudi Arabian graduate school student nearby, and the man admitted that he had destroyed the statues.

The vandalism involved 3 stone statues measuring 60 to 100 centimeters tall and a 200-centimeter tall bronze one that was made about 300 years ago."            Full article and video 



Destroying Jahiliyya


SJS or Jahiliyya bashing?


Actually, this probably isn't 'Sudden Jihad Syndrome'  as it is commonly understood, but seems to be  premeditated (the jihadist had already vandalised a previous temple), and was most likely motivated by the Islamic religious requirement to destroy Jahiliyya - the symbols and artwork of pre-Islamic civilisations.            


This form of Jihadism is therefore more closely related to the demolition of the Buddhas of Bamiyan, and on a smaller scale, the destruction of the Buddhist Heritage of the Maldives.

What makes this attack unusual is that it seems to be the first time that destruction of Buddhist Jahiliyya has been carried out in Dar al-Harb, it is more usually done to vestiges of Buddhist civilisation remaining in Dar al-Islam.

It seems that the Islamists are getting bolder and more militant in their global jihad against Buddhism and Buddhists.  Museums and other organisations possessing Buddhist artwork may need to review their security, especially in areas with a large population of jihadists.



See also
Buddhism and Jihad




Thursday, 26 June 2014

Cambodia's Buddhist heritage deteriorates as casinos take over




From The Pnom Penh Post by Ezra Kyrill Erker  

"Surrounded by casino developments, the iconic Buddhist Institute in Phnom Penh faces the prospect of relocation or even closure as the modern world starts to close in

One bookshop by the remaining entrance remains open, its religious, cultural, reference and historical texts undisturbed, collecting chalky construction dust.

The library chambers inside the octagonal building are also open but empty; the students who used to come in their dozens every day have vanished. A handful of staff and friends of the institute sit around the grounds, beneath the Khmer-style three-tiered roof, discussing politics or their picks for the World Cup. Sometimes they have to pause until the clatter of drilling subsides.

With the Buddhist Institute surrounded on three sides by casino construction, visitors are almost non-existent. Across the street loom the cranes of the TSCLK Integrated Complex, still in its early stages but part of the future 1,000-hotel-room Naga 2 casino annex. There are concerns that the developments will swamp the institute and force it to relocate or close.

To the left, digging machinery removes mounds of earth for a subterranean walkway that will connect the new complex to NagaWorld, the existing 24-storey casino and entertainment complex that rises behind the institute. To the right on institute land is the beginning of steel framework for an electricity sub-station, designed to power the new buildings. A nearby tourist park will also follow.

The facilities will cater to the growing demand for high-end tourism, especially among Vietnamese and Chinese visitors facing gaming restrictions at home.

“This is a holy place,” says a middle-aged man, who asked not to be named. “There are so many records and religious history, donated by kings and dignitaries. This is one of the most important places for our culture.”

He worries about the absence of visitors, the dwindling land and damage to the building, but says there is no mechanism available to them for making complaints. The Ministry of Culture and Religion, he says, has done nothing to protect the institute.

Parts of the wall and main gate intended to protect the institute from incursions were torn down last month with the consent of the ministry, leading to a protest march led by monks on May 29. The ministry denied accusations by the monks that the land for the electricity substation had been leased or sold to the casino. Ministry spokesman Seng Somony said the construction was necessary to promote development in Cambodia, and that the boundary wall would be rebuilt after Naga 2’s completion.

Somony also said that the ministry itself might abandon its home on Preah Sihanouk Quay and move to a seven- or eight-storey building on institute land. The ministry this week could not be reached to answer questions on the matter.

Considered the world’s key research centre for Khmer studies, the institute is involved in the preservation, scanning and cataloguing of ancient Khmer manuscripts, as well as publication, research and international workshops. Founded with French support in 1930 by King Monivong, the institute became a centre for the preservation and development of Cambodian national culture, and was the country’s first major publisher.

The institute’s journal, Kambuja Soriya, which is still being published, brought classical literature, religious works and folk tales. The country’s first Khmer newspaper, Nagara Vatta, was co-founded by institute librarian and nationalist Son Ngoc Than, who would later become prime minister. Other publications include the 110-volume Tripitaka translated from Pali, collections of Khmer legends and the first Khmer dictionary, which is still being updated and used, with an app for mobile phones. The current cream-coloured building opened in May 1998 on its one-hectare site.

“The land belongs to Buddhism,” said But Buntenh, founder of the Independent Monk Network for Social Justice. “Someone can’t just give it away without the consent of the sangha. King Norodom Sihanouk gave this land to the institute, and the Ministry of Cult and Religion must stop giving land away to companies....”    Read it all

Why are Christians Turning to Buddhism?





Six examples, by Jay McDaniel at Buddha's Teaching

"A small but growing number Christians in the West are turning to Buddhism for spiritual guidance. Many are reading books about Buddhism, and some are also meditating, participating in Buddhist retreats, and studying under Buddhist teachers. They are drawn to Buddhism’s emphasis on “being present” in the present moment; to its recognition of the interconnectedness of all things; to its emphasis on non-violence; to its appreciation of a world beyond words, and to its provision of practical means — namely meditation — for growing in one’s capacities for wise and compassionate living in daily life. As they learn from Buddhism, they do not abandon Christianity. Their hope is that Buddhism can help them become better Christians. They are Christians influenced by Buddhism..."  Read it all 

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Can Buddhism Cure Mental Illness?





By Rev Sumitta in Applied Buddhism 

"I am so overjoyed at the growing interest in Buddhism. As a practice, it has been proven over the past 2,600 years that the Buddha truly understood the nature of the world and his enlightened teachings have been the path for countless others to understand the nature of dukkha (discontentment) and how to reduce or eliminate that dukkha in our lives in order to be fully engaged with the world around us. Nevertheless, lately I have seen a marked increase in conversations of people who seek Buddhism to be a panacea solution for mental illness and this sometimes troubles me because it shows a misunderstanding of Buddhism and mental health.

While I am a Buddhist minister, I am also a licensed social worker with a specialty in mental health and drug and alcohol treatment. If you have thought of practicing Buddhism and you (or your friend) suffer from a mental health condition, I highly encourage you to read this article and understand more clearly what Buddhism can and cannot do for you..."  Read it all 

New Indian Prime Minister will promote India’s rich Buddhist heritage to attract tourists and scholars and enhance India’s standing in the world

Prime Minister Narendra Modi



From Lankaweb by Senaka Weeraratna 

India's new leader, Narendra Modi, 'though committed to the cause of Hinduism (Sanatana Dharma) is also a great admirer of Buddhism and very much conscious of the great contribution Buddhism has made in elevating the moral and spiritual stature of India through out the world, and its huge potential to influence humanity and global thinking in a positive direction.'

Read the full article 

Friday, 23 May 2014

Jihadists kill meditating Buddhists in Sri Lanka

The call for global jihad against Buddhists is unfortunately being taken up in Sri Lanka

From Jihadwatch

Jihadists kill meditating Buddhists in Sri Lanka

Muslims kill meditating Buddhists in Sri Lanka


May 23, 2014 at 9:21am Buddhists, Sri Lanka 4 Comments
"I do not know the people behind International Unity for Freedom & Equality, but I can see on their blog that they are friends with people I trust completely.
Transcription: “Other areas I have watched with this organization is Sri Lanka, where we have the Buddhist communities. They basically had monks killed while praying in their shrines, because they politely asked the Muslim community to not build a mosque next to their holy shrines.”


See also  Islam will Dominate - The Islamic Threat to Buddhism

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Australian Muslim leader cleared of 'race hate' for praying for slaughter of Buddhists





More on the growing global jihad against Buddhists from the Herald Sun

"National News - Adelaide-based Shiekh Sharif Hussein free to preach race hate
 

by TORY SHEPHERD & ANDREW HOUGH


"POLICE say they will not act against a radical preacher who publicly prayed for the slaughter of Hindus and Buddhists, leaving him free to spread his messages of hatred.

A sermon videotaped in South Australia last year also showed Sheikh Sharif Hussein accusing Australian troops, whom he called “crusader pigs”, of helping to rape tens of thousands of women in Iraq, but SA police say he has broken no laws.

This has prompted outspoken SA conservative senator Cory Bernardi to demand changes to race-hate laws, or the way they are enforced.

He says the police decision proves that Australian freedoms are “being used against us” and claims that any similar attack on the sheik’s fundamentalist Muslim ideologies would be met with outrage.

Buddhists and Hindus have expressed shock at the police decision and say the sheik will lash out again.

According to a translation of the Arabic video, published by the US-based Middle East Media Research Institute, the sheikh publicly prayed: “Oh Allah, count the Buddhists and the Hindus one by one. Oh Allah, count them and kill them to the very last one”.

A police investigation was launched after The Advertiser last year revealed details of one lecture recording, believed to have been delivered, in part, at the Islamic Da’wah Centre of SA, in Torrensville.

In the video clip, posted online in August last year by the research institute, the preacher also attacked Jews, former prime minister John Howard and US President Barack Obama, speaking in Arabic.

Senator Bernardi said the fact Sheikh Hussein had not been prosecuted showed that Australia’s freedoms were “being used against us to further a dangerous cause”.

“I can only imagine the political and legal repercussions if similar statements were made about adherents to Mr Hussein’s ideology,” he said.

“Frankly, the Australian public have had enough of the double standards that seem to apply to people like Sharif Hussein. They appear free to spread their poison, while those who challenge their world view are condemned as bigots or racists.”

A South Australia Police spokesman said the matter had been investigated and that “in this instance, no criminal offending occurred and no charges (were) laid. No further comment will be made on this matter.”

The controversial Senator Bernardi has previously come under fire for his views on banning the burqa and what he calls the “totalitarian” ideology of Islam, as well for as his views on abortion and “traditional families”.

His comments come as debate rages over free speech. The Government wants to repeal part of the Racial Discrimination Act that makes it illegal to insult, offend or humiliate people based on their race. It says protections against racial vilification would still be strong enough.

Senator Bernardi said that if South Australian vilification laws, or the way they were enforced, did not stop Sheikh Hussein, they need to change.

“We are now faced with a challenge for law makers and law enforcers alike,” he said.

“If our anti-vilification laws can’t or won’t be upheld against someone who encourages the killing of those who don’t subscribe to a particular religious and political system, I can only conclude things need to change.”

State Attorney-General John Rau pointed to the Government’s policy on the Racial Discrimination Act.

“Presumably Mr Bernardi is outraged that (federal Attorney-General) Mr Brandis proposes to water down relevant federal laws further,” Mr Rau said.

Sheik Hussein, who in the video singled out Mr Howard and Mr Obama, had preached at the Islamic Da’wah Centre of SA and was previously connected to the Marion mosque in Park Holme.

He has previously been under surveillance by the Australian Security and Intelligence Organisation and the Australian Federal Police.

In 2007, the Federal Government blocked $250,000 in funding from Saudi Arabia for the Park Holme mosque, amid “security concerns”.

It is not known if Sheik Hussein has preached in SA since the video went public last year. His friends have claimed the video was heavily edited and misrepresented him, while he has declined to comment.

“I have told you many times before I don’t want to do any interviews,” he told The Advertiser. The Islamic Society of SA has condemned his comments in the past but declined to comment when approached by The Advertiser.

Australian Buddhist Councils Federation president Kim Hollow was flabbergasted that Sheikh Hussein could “get away with” his comments.

“It is disappointing … because they would have had to look at the video,” he said.

“I personally thought it was abhorrent. How someone could get away with it is beyond me. Chances are he will lash out again, I would be surprised if he doesn’t.

“It just beggars belief. It is just horrible to have people make these sorts of statements in this day and age. It is just ridiculous. Words escape me.”

Mr Hollow has previously said that Tunisian-born Mr Hussein should be deported."

 
I disagree with Senator Bernardi and Kim Hollow.  Sheik Hussein should not be prosecuted because...

1. Buddhism is NOT a race.

Whatever the Skeik was preaching, it wasn't 'race hate'.
There are grave dangers to freedom of speech in racializing religion, which mostly work to the jihadists' advantage, as this article describes, with "the possibility of people being sent to prison for up to seven years for saying such things as "the Koran is full of violence and aggression". We are talking about a law which seems intent on freeing Islam from all criticism, as has been the case in parts of the Muslim world for up to 1,400 years'.


2. Praying for violence is not necessarily the same as inciting violence.
Sheik Hussein didn't actually tell Australian Muslims to go out and attack Buddhists, he just prayed for Allah to do it, so no direct incitement to violence was involved.  Invoking a mythical bronze age warlord to slaughter the unbelievers is as likely to produce any real effects as requesting the tooth fairy to smite the infidels with caries, gum boils, and root canal inflammation. 


3. Freedom of expression means freedom to express abhorrent views.
People should not be prevented or discouraged from preaching the basic doctrines of their religion, even (especially?) if those doctrines are murderous.

It's better we should know what the jihadists are thinking and plotting by having it out in the open, rather than behind the closed doors of mosques and madrassahs.


Perhaps if the citizens of the democracies had been more aware of the Nazis' true intentions (published in Mein Kampf as early as 1926), they might have stopped them earlier, with the saving of millions of lives.

Just as Mein Kampf views Jews as 'Untermenschen',  the Koran regards Buddhists as 'idolators' and 'mushrikun', who must be exterminated (Surah 9, ayah 5). So the Sheik is merely expressing the orthodox teachings of his religion



Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Media ignores anti-Buddhist genocide





From Jihadwatch

“More than 5,000 people have been killed in Thailand’s three southernmost provinces since an Islamic insurgency flared in 2004″ — but how much do you hear about it in the mainstream media? Hardly at all. And that’s understandable, since in Thailand the victims are Buddhists. If the victims were Muslims, then there would be an international outcry, UN resolutions, and calls from Barack Obama and his minions to stop the sectarian violence. But Islamic jihadists murdering non-Muslims? Pah! Who cares? What are you, some kind of Islamophobe?"

See  Islam will dominate


Saturday, 5 April 2014

Jihad in Thailand: Buddhist women mutilated and burned.



Following on from the previous post, here's further evidence of the escalation of the global jihad against Buddhists, as reported by Jihad Watch:

"The recent burning and beheading of female victims in Thailand’s southern Muslim provinces marks a renewed campaign of terror by insurgent groups, according to a Human Rights Watch statement released today.

At least three Thai Buddhist women have been killed and mutilated by insurgents since February, according to HRW.

“Southern insurgents are killing Buddhist women and spreading terror by beheading and burning their bodies,” Brad Adams, Asia director at HRW, said in the statement."

UPDATE

"Thailand: Jihadists murder one, wound 24 with wave of bombings

"...Suspected Muslim insurgents in southern Thailand launched a wave of attacks Sunday that killed one person and wounded 24 others.

The violence took place in the city of Yala, where at least four explosions were reported, said police Col. Prayong Khotsakha.

The most serious of the assaults was a car bomb that detonated in front [of] a furniture store, triggering a blaze that burned nearby homes and caused numerous casualties, he said.

Other explosions were reported in the city. One bomb was hidden on a motorcycle, and another blew up an ATM.

More than 5,000 people have been killed in Thailand’s three southernmost provinces since an Islamic insurgency erupted in 2004..."



Similar attacks are also taking place in Burma

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Buddhist monks prepare to defend themselves against jihad





http://www.jihadwatch.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Hangzhou-Lingyin-Temple-courtyard-Sebastien-Bertrand.jpg


From Jihad Watch:

"One certainty: if these monks ever did have to defend themselves against a jihad attack, the international media would portray their defense as Buddhist violence against Muslims, and the global “human rights community” would issue indignant condemnations of the brutalization of Muslims. The fact that these monks never would have been training in this way were it not for jihad violence will only appear around the 43rd paragraph of the story, if at all.

“Chinese Monks Get Martial to Defend Against Terrorism,” by Dexter Roberts for Bloomberg Businessweek, April 3:

As fears of domestic terrorism grow in China, some monks are getting martial.

At the 1,700-year-old Lingyin Temple in Hangzhou, a 45-member team (including 20 monks and all 25 security guards) has been organized to combat possible terror attacks, according to the official China Daily. “The monks prayed to Buddha during the day and trained at night. Only those aged 20 to 40 with an agile body and quick reactions can join the team,” the newspaper reported, noting that some members of the antiterror team are military veterans.

The Lingyin Temple, built in 326 and famous for its beautiful mountain scenery, receives 10,000 visitors a day, so “it was deemed necessary to set up such a team to prepare for possible terrorist attacks,” explained the English-language paper.

The decision to set up the team follows the brutal attack March 1 in the Kunming Train Station, in which 29 people were killed and another 143 injured. “The temple also stockpiled shields and batons at several locations, and its security guards will carry batons and pepper spray at all times,” the paper said."


See Jihadists plotting more attacks on Buddhists 

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Bible belt school persecutes Buddhist child.


Edukayshun in Looziana

From The Daily News 

"For one sixth-grader, it’s no fun being Buddhist in the Bible Belt.

A Louisiana couple is claiming faculty and students at Negreet High School bullied their Buddhist son so badly that he became physically sick every morning before going to class.

Sharon and Scott Lane are suing the Sabine Parish School board for religious harassment and for routinely pushing Christian beliefs onto its students.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in Shreveport on Wednesday.

"Public schools should be welcoming places for students of all backgrounds," said Marjorie Esman, executive director of the ACLU of Louisiana. "No child should be harassed and made to feel like an outsider in his own classroom, and students should not have to endure school officials constantly imposing their religious beliefs on them while they are trying to learn."

The Lanes’ son, identified as C.C. on court papers, is a lifelong Buddhist of Thai descent. The child’s religion was reportedly ridiculed in class by science teacher Rita Roark.

The teacher added this fill-in-the-blank question to a science test: “ "ISN'T IT AMAZING WHAT THE _____________ HAS MADE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

C.C. didn’t know that the answer Roark wanted was “Lord.” On the next test, C.C. filled in blank with “Lord Buddha” and the teacher marked it wrong.

While the teacher was handing the grades back to the class, one student said out loud that “people are stupid if they think God is not real." Instead of gently finding a middle ground, Roark reportedly said, "Yes! That is right! I had a student miss that on his test."

The teacher also reportedly taught the children that God created the Earth 6,000 years ago and that evolution was an “impossible” and “stupid theory made up by stupid people who don’t want to believe in God.” She told her class that the Bible was "100% true" and that Buddhism is “stupid.”

When the parents complained to Superintendent Sara Ebarb, the school official told them that "this is the Bible Belt" and suggested they change their son's faith..."



More here




Related articles

Creationism: Crisis for Christianity = Opportunity for Buddhism

Evangelical Christianity versus Buddhism in Thailand

IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH! For the good of your religion, think less



Friday, 10 January 2014

Imbolc (Candlemas) and the Pagan Path to Buddhism



February 2nd is Imbolc, Christianized as Candlemas

Here's an updated version of a post from a couple of years ago on the upcoming Pagan festival of Imbolc (Candlemas), dedicated to the feminine spirituality of Brigid, with a discussion of its transcultural convergence with Buddhism:


The Growth of Paganism

In the past, most new Buddhists in the West have come to the Dharma from a Judeo-Christian, or secularized Judeo-Christian background.   But there now seems to be an increasing number of younger people coming into Buddhism via Paganism, often melding pagan festivals, rituals and art-forms with Buddhist philosophy.   The Buddhist celebration of the enlightened feminine (especially Tara) is particularly popular.


The rapid modern growth of paganism is part of the 'Spiritual but not Religious' movement, where young people are trying to escape the bleak mechanistic materialist worldview of scientism, but can find no spirituality in the samsaric religions, which are increasingly dominated by hatred, bigotry, extremism and idiocy.   

This process of disintegration is a vicious downward spiral. As the formerly mainstream religions decline, so they become vulnerable to being taken over by cliques of extremists, which makes them even less appealing to liberal-minded youth. Paganism, with its ancient numinous festivals and evocative symbolism, offers an escape from the soulless, stressed-out, dehumanised, over-regulated and proceduralised existence which is modern urban life.

Paganism particularly venerates the feminine aspects of spirituality. In contrast, there is little or no place for the divine feminine in standard Abrahamic monotheism.  


However, paganism lacks the philosophical background needed to challenge materialism, and this may be why many pagans are eventually drawn to Buddhist teachings.



 
Candlemas Pagan Origins

Christianization

When Christianity came to the Celtic lands, it took over many of the Pagan festivals and Christianized them. This was far more acceptable to the people than banning them, as the Puritans were to do to all pagan-origin festivals many centuries later.

Its always easier for new religions to work with the existing culture than against it, a policy also pursued by Buddhism in its spread throughout Asia.




Festival of Lights


Buddhist interpretations
Now that Buddhism is establishing itself in Western Europe, there is a movement to reinterpret some of these numinous Pagan festivals from a Buddhist perspective.

The FWBO has a program of honoring the Five female Buddhas, on the day and time of the year associated with each of them. The cycle begins with the Summer Solstice and female Buddha Mamaki.




The Turning of the Year

The Autumn Equinox, is a ceremony dedicated to Pandaravasini, the female Buddha of the Western direction associated with dusk and the wisdom of uniqueness.


Light of Wisdom in the Dusk

Later in the year it is the turn of Samayatara, the female Buddha of the Northern direction associated with midnight and the wisdom of action (Halloween/Samhain); and Akasadhatesvari, the female Buddha at the centre of the Mandala beyond time and space. She is associated with the ineffable wisdom of the Transcendental. Her ceremony takes place at the time of the Winter Solstice.






 


Candlemas - Festival of Offering Lights to the Goddess
The next festival is Candlemas, also known as Imbolc, which in pagan times was an offering of Lights to the Goddess in the aspect of Brigit or Bride. This ancient festival takes place on February 2nd and marks the mid point of winter, half way between the winter solstice (shortest day) and the spring equinox.







Brigid as Christian Saint and Pagan Goddess

 


Of course the idea of a Goddess was anathema to the patriarchal, misogynistic ancient church, and Brigid, who was too popular to get rid of, was demoted from Goddess to Saint. The idea of honoring the feminine was turned on its head, and the festival became the Purification of the Virgin, to remind women of their ritual uncleanness.



Brigit as Celtic Trinity

 

However, if we return to the original pagan intention, we can see that Candlemas, although now almost abandoned by the Christian churches, has potential for adaptation by Buddhists.

Buddhists honor many female Buddhas, for example Tara and Guan Yin, and the lighting of a candle or an oil lamp represents the light of wisdom illuminating the darkness of ignorance.





Light offerings to Tara


With lights brightly shining
Abolishing this gloom
I adore the Enlightened One,
The Light of the three worlds.

- Wiki





 

Offerings of lights are said to have many beneficial effects.

And so Candlemas, already resonant with ancient evocative associations with divine light, is easily adaptable to Buddhist practice.







 

Western holidays from a Buddhist perspective.
On this blog I have also suggested how Halloween, Christmas, Summer Solstice and New Year can be given Buddhist interpretations.



No danger of 'mixing'
Such adoptions of pagan festivals do not involve 'mixing' of the dharma with other doctrines, because there is no impact on the philosophical foundations of Buddhism such as the Four Seals. Nor is there any impact on the form of practice. The celebration of these occasions is simply performing Buddhist rituals in the context of Celtic cultural traditions.

Buddhism is not itself a culture. It is transcultural - valid for all sentient beings, in all places, at all times. 





Spiritual But Not Religious
If Buddhism wishes to attract young people, it needs to engage more with the 'Spiritual but not Religious' zeitgeist, of which paganism, the New Age movement and the various feminine spiritualities are manifestations.





Light of the World



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Celtic and Buddhist symbolism - triskelions, triskeles

Buddhist Halloween

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Monday, 30 December 2013

Purifying the Past with Vajrasattva, the New Year Buddha

The night before

followed by...


...the morning after



NEVER AGAIN!
That's what many of us say on the first of January - and it isn't just about the after effects of New Year's Eve.

Never, ever, again!


New Year is the traditional time for kicking old harmful habits, and resolving to stop causing further hurt to ourselves and others.


A fresh start

Purification

The Vajrasattva visualisation and meditation gives us a fresh start by purifying harmful, negative tendencies and states of mind.

The practice consists of visualising Buddha Vajrasattva (small - about 6 inches tall - not full-sized like a human) above the crown of our heads. He doesn't come from anywhere in particular, he just appears. We believe he is there but don't need detailed visualisations.

Vajrasattva purification relies upon the four opponent powers, which are...

1) Reliance
2) Regret
3) Opponent force
4) Promise

Vajrasattva is the Buddha of Purification.


Reliance
Reliance helps pacify and weaken negative karma, it involves going for refuge and developing a mind of boddhichitta .

Any negative actions we have committed in the past were either towards objects of refuge, or towards sentient beings.

Negative actions against objects of refuge are purified by going for refuge. We go for refuge to Vajrasattva, regarding him as the synthesis of all objects of refuge.

Negative actions against sentient beings are purified by developing bodhicitta. We think of all living beings as precious and dedicate ourselves to their welfare, and to abandoning causing them suffering. We may wish to visualise that we are surrounded by all living beings and they are also purifying by relying on Vajrasattva.


Caring for all living beings

Regret
We develop a sincere regret for all the harmful actions that we have performed against sentient beings. Regret is not the same as guilt. Guilt is a negative state of mind that increases confusion and self-hatred. It leads nowhere and functions only to weaken our will.

Regret, on the other hand, is an admission of our mistakes coupled with a positive intention to learn from them by not repeating them. In other words, we are performing a tantric transmutation by transforming our negative history into our future spiritual path.


Opponent force
The mantra is the opponent force that purifies the actual negativities. We can mentally or audibly recite the long or short mantras. When we are reciting we are requesting Vajrasattva to purify us.

We visualise a moon cushion at Vajrasattva's heart on which is the white letter HUM. Standing around this are the letters of the mantra. From the mantra white light rays and white nectar pour down and purify us from top to bottom, pushing out negativities. All dirty substances leave by lower orifices.

Negative karma leaves as dirty liquid. Mental and physical sicknesses leave as pus, blood, worms and other creepy-crawlies.

Then we feel completely clean, our body is just pure white light.

If we have a particular problem, we visualise that problem being expelled.


Promise
The fourth opponent power is the power of promise to gradually abandon harmful actions. We can't purify without making a promise to refrain. Promise purifies the tendency to repeat bad habits which harm ourselves and others. Promise plants the seeds of new tendencies which destroy old tendencies.

At this point we make a realistic promise to avoid negative actions. We don't make promises we can't keep, but make a determination to overcome all negative actions eventually.


Dedication
Finally, Vajrasattva dissolves into us, and our body, speech and mind become inseparable from Vajrasattva.

We then dedicate the merit we have accumulated by practising the Vajrasattva purification to the happiness of all sentient beings.



12 steps
Although we may joke about the after-effects of New Year's Parties, for some people alcohol is a year-long nightmare. The Alcoholics Anonymous 12 step program requires alcoholics to acknowledge they are helpless against their addiction until they go for refuge to a Higher Power.

For Buddhists, Vajrasattva is such a Higher Power who can help to break addicitions to alcohol, drugs, food etc




Wishing all sentient beings



RELATED ARTICLE:

Vajrasattva Mantra Song and Video

Buddhist Christmas

Buddhist Candlemas

Buddhist Halloween

Seasonal Festivals


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