can find heaven on Earth' By Sandi Dolbee, Sign On San Diego, January 29, 2004
Visiting Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh says that "Heaven is here and now. Don't look into the distance. The kingdom of God is really available in the here and now."
RONI GALGANO / Union-Tribune Thich Nhat Hanh, one of the world's most popular Buddhist teachers, is spending the winter at Deer Park Monastery in North County.
San Diego, Calif. (USA)-- His head is shaved, his small frame wrapped in the brown robe of his faith. It is late morning, and Thich Nhat Hanh is bathed in a sunlit room talking about heaven.
Heaven, he is saying, is here and now. Don't look into the distance. "The kingdom of God is really available in the here and now."
This is important, because he believes that if you truly understand that you're living in the kingdom of God right now, you'll behave better right now. "If you have the kingdom of God, you'll not have to search for happiness in sex, wealth or fame anymore."
Thich Nhat Hanh (pronounced tick-naught-han) was only 16 when he joined the monkhood in Vietnam. Now he is 77 and one of the most popular Buddhist leaders in the world.
A best-selling, and prolific, author, his most popular books include "Anger," "Creating True Peace" and "Living Buddha, Living Christ," which draws parallels between Buddhism and Christianity. He says his newest book will deal with the subject of power.
He's also a poet, a teacher and a master in Zen Buddhism, blending the Theravada and Mahayana traditions of an Eastern religion that dates back 2,500 years and emphasizes human transcendence over the traditional Western concept of God. He has built a worldwide reputation for his devotion to the pursuit of peace and his adherence to the spiritual practice of mindfulness.
Thich Nhat Hanh was exiled from his native Vietnam decades ago for his anti-war efforts and now spends much of his time at his main monastery, called Plum Village, in southern France. But this winter, he and about 300 monks and nuns from his Unified Buddhist Church have gathered for a long retreat at his Deer Park Monastery in the hills above Escondido.
He arrived earlier this month and plans to leave in April. Between now and the end of March, he will participate in several programs and talks in Southern California – including a special alms round procession Saturday at San Dieguito County Park. Deer Park also is open to the public for days of mindfulness on Wednesdays and Sundays (his Dharma – or teaching – talks are in the mornings in the newly completed meditation hall).
This North County monastery opened almost four years ago, complementing his centers in France and Vermont. He is no stranger to this country. He studied at Princeton and taught at Columbia University. In the 1960s, he worked with Martin Luther King Jr. in protesting the Vietnam War (King nominated him for the Nobel Peace Prize).
On this particular morning at Deer Park, Thay, or teacher, as he is affectionately known by his devotees, is sitting in a small house, talking about mindfulness and happiness, about America's war on terrorism and war against Iraq, and trying to explain just why it is that Buddhism is so popular.
On mindfulness:"Mindfulness is the capacity to live deeply in the moments of your entire life." Whether it's drinking a glass of juice or being with a child, mindfulness means treasuring the present-tense – and not getting caught up in what's going to happen next or in having to chase after other things. Mindfulness sets people free, he says. "There is freedom from worries, anger and forgetfulness. Forgetfulness is the opposite of mindfulness."
On the popularity of Buddhism:"I think, first of all, Buddha is not a God. Buddha is a human being. He has suffered as a human being." The strength of Buddha, he says, is that as a role model "he can offer wisdom, insight and practice." He believes that followers of other religions can use the practices of Buddhism to deepen their own faiths. He does not want to convert people. ("We believe Christians should not be uprooted from their culture," he says as an example. "It's like a tree without roots.") He compares Buddhism to a river; each person can take as much as you want. And there is no single truth, no single way. "Buddhism is inclusive, not exclusive."
On teaching children spiritual practices:It can begin in the womb of the mother. "You don't hear things that are violent, you don't eat things that are violent and your husband should treat you with gentleness," he says. Children have an almost natural affinity for mindfulness. "They can be in the here and now very easy, more than adults." During his talks at Plum Village, he says he'll give a short lesson for the children and then let them go out and play. "They practice in the form of play."
On Americans:Americans are not as accepting as they used to be, he says. And he warns that when Americans reach out to other countries, they need to do it out of compassion, not out of control. He offers the Middle East as an example. Americans should seek ways to foster hope and "help them see a future." Peace, he says, would benefit everyone. "If they have peace, they have trust." And where there is trust, he suggests, there is an absence of fear and violence.
On the U.S. -led war in Iraq:It was a bad idea, he says. "I think the war in Iraq has cost a lot." He favors relying more on the United Nations and thinks America should get more involved with that international body.
On the war on terrorism:In Buddhism, he says, every person is looked upon as a potential Buddha. But the war on terrorism turns that around to regard each person as a potential terrorist. "When a culture goes like that, it goes wrong," he says. This campaign has "created more hate and terrorists."
On post-9/ll:After the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, he believes America would have been better off with dialogue. The key question: Why would anyone hate us enough to do that? "If we are able to listen, they will tell us," he says. If other countries have the wrong impression of the United States, then we should try to explain ourselves to them. "That kind of dialogue," he says, "is much safer."
On happiness:"The art of happiness is to learn how to be there, fully present, to attend to your needs and to attend to the needs of your beloved ones." It's about finding peace and harmony in your own self, and then helping those you love to do likewise. "And if you don't do the first step, it's very difficult to do the second," he says. Happiness is possible. His advice? "Stop running and begin to make steps."
Friday, November 2, 2018 - 19:30 to Monday, November 5, 2018 - 16:00
Even as the years keep increasing, whatever our age and stage, Life Still Matters and we can learn more about how to make the most of the present, meet the challenges of the future and make a positive difference in the world around us.
This live-in life direction and leadership program is for people from diverse backgrounds and cultures, who are aged 35 and over.
We offer a warm welcome to anyone who has a sense of adventure and would like to begin to learn how to be a change-maker in our global community. Come and meet others who share the same desire and want to live a purpose-filled life. It will include panel presentations, workshops, story-sharing, team-building activities, reflective silence, group discussion, video(s) and an entertainment night.
Venue: Armagh, 226 Kooyong Road, Toorak, VIC 3142
Cost: $250 to cover accommodation, meals and the general program
Register by 12 October here.
Smartphone Overuse, Youth Suicide and Buddhism as a Healing Source,
Youth suicide is disturbingly rising. Ashley Welch, in her article “What’s behind the rise in youth suicides?” (2017), gave some insights into the trend. The author mentioned potential causes for this trauma and notably pointed to “the correlation between the rising popularity of smartphones and increased rates of suicide and depression among young people” (para. 17). Although Welch did not offer a clear reason for the correlation, this point raises an awareness of an irony. We, as readers, may wonder, “How can such a wonderful entertaining device cause that terrible thing?” In this paper, I will discuss the roots of this pain, and then suggest Buddhism as a healing source.
Why Aren't We Teaching You Mindfulness?
AnneMarie Rossi, Founder and CEO of BeMindful
Harvard conducted a research study and they tracked more than 1,000 people from birth until age 32 looking for what made someone successful. What common characteristic or trait was seen in a successful individual? It wasn't their race, what language they spoke, what neighborhood they grow up in, or how much money their parents had. It wasn't how well they did on standardized tests or even their IQ. It was self-control; those who were successful, who had good careers, financial stability, loving relationships, and physical health. Those who were successful, were the ones who could focus, pay attention, and regulate their emotions.
The Buddhist community is extremely upset by the inappropriate and disrespectful use of the image of Buddha, The Buddhist community is extremely upset by the inappropriate and disrespectful use of the image of Buddha, in a display at the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) entitled the 'Eternity-Buddha in Nirvana, the Dying Gaul, Farnese Hercules, Night, Day, Sartyr and Bacchante, Funerary Genius, Achilles, Persian Soldier Fighting, Dancing Faun, Crouching Aphrodite, Narcisse Couché, Othryades the Spartan Dying, the Fall of Icarus, A River, Milo of Croton'. It can also be seen at: https://www.ngv.vic.gov.au/explore/collection/work/131149/
Although this display has been in place for some months, we have only just been made aware of its' existence. We are not usually outspoken, but this display desecrates the image of Buddha by placing images of these mythical images on him and in doing so, showing no apparent regard or respect for Him.
Prior to sharing some thoughts on the question, 'According to 2010 statistics, the number of Buddhists around the world is consistently increasing by approximately 5% to 10% per annum. What do you think are the main causes for this increase?', I should mention that I'm often 'open-mindedly skeptical' about such surveys, and the statistics gathered during such surveys. For where does the information come from and how is the information gathered, and for what purpose, and so on and so forth.
To give the briefest conclusion that I can think of to the question- 'Do you think that sectarian diversity affects the stability of Buddhism as a whole?', I would have to say, 'Yes' and 'No'.
My intention here is not to give a definitive answer, but to give readers 'food for thought', to enable each of us to be responsible and maintain pure intentions, to think for ourselves and develop genuine wisdom and compassion.
In the spirit of the Dharma, rather than dwelling on any possible problems, we should mainly focus on solutions to any such problems. With the hope of maintaining the integrity and purity of Buddhism in this world.
Why is Buddhism so diverse ? Andrew Williams, I think we can all agree that the reason for the many diverse traditions and paths within Buddhism is that all sentient beings, in one way or another, are different, both mentally and physically, and therefore each individuals needs are also different.
The Buddha explained that we sentient beings all have different and limited levels of understanding of this or that, and even if we focus on the very same thing, we will perceive it according to our own perspective. From our own limited viewpoint.
We tend to perceive things and others based on our own preconceived ideas and past experiences. It's as if we judge the whole ocean based on the small part of the ocean that we may think we know. The whole sky based on a few clouds.
As this Thursday 9 and Friday 10 November, Ven Chi Kwang Sunim will talk on "Women in Leadership" as part of the Prevention of Violence Against Women Leadership Program, BCV would like to invite you and members of your organisation to attend this important program which runs at two places.
Thursday 9 November 2017@ Hoa Nghiem Temple, 442-448 Springvale Road, Springvale South, VIC 3172
Friday 10 November 2017 @ Coburg Library Meeting Room, Coburg, VIC 3058
Time: 12.30-2.30 pm.
Nguyện đem công đức này, trang nghiêm Phật Tịnh Độ, trên đền bốn ơn nặng, dưới cứu khổ ba đường, nếu có người thấy nghe, đều phát lòng Bồ Đề, hết một báo thân này, sinh qua cõi Cực Lạc.
May the Merit and virtue,accrued from this work, adorn the Buddhas pureland, Repay the four great kindnesses above, andrelieve the suffering of those on the three paths below, may those who see or hear of these efforts generates Bodhi Mind, spend their lives devoted to the Buddha Dharma, the Land of Ultimate Bliss.