The meeting was about 3 hours, and had representatives from most of the major religions in Australia, with indigenous and Hindus being notable exceptions. There was a warm and inclusive feeling at the meeting, and I felt welcomed and encouraged to participate. Chatham House rule applied. Many of the representatives were very professional, in the sense that they are actively employed or formally studying in this area. As such they brought a detailed and informed perspective that I was not able to do.
The focus on the meeting was "strong harms" that people have faced due to their religion. This includes things such as physical violence, terrorist acts, abuse, and the like.
The major religions that suffer this are Islam and Judaism. While it is well known that Islam suffers from bad image—the number of negative articles in Murdoch press is quite shocking—but I did not realize how difficult it is in modern Australia for the Jewish community. Apparently they have to have serious security at events on a regular basis. One person told of when they attended a Jewish event, and their shock when their car was canned for bombs.
Accurate data is hard to come by, and it seems that Australia, unlike US, Canada, and UK, fails to keep any records of religiously-motivated harm. Some data collection is being done by the religious communities themselves, but it is very patchy. Lacking accurate data it is virtually impossible to get government to do anything.
Another area that was identified was lack of training and resources among police. Cops often do not know how to differentiate between religious or ethic/racial incidents, and of course, this is not easy. But with a proliferation of people from different backgrounds, languages, religions, and so on in Oz, it becomes essential to understand what the motivation is for an incident.
Despite the lack of data, there was a strong agreement among participants that Australia was seeing a major rise in religiously-motivated harm. This obviously relates to the rise of the alt-right globally. We did not discuss the role of Australia's current administration in enabling or promoting such views.
One proposal that was broadly supported was setting up an interfaith consultation council at the federal level. APRO has, in fact, proposed this and discussed it a number of years ago, but it has never gained traction. Perhaps this time will be different.
From a Buddhist perspective, I said that we do not experience, to my knowledge, such "serious harms". We do however suffer from many structural forms of discrimination. I mentioned, as an example, our long-term and ongoing efforts to get a more appropriate visa for Buddhist monastics. I expressed the Buddhist community's solidarity with other religious groups, and invited them to contact us whenever they need support. I also mentioned that the Buddhist community feels a strong connection with their countries of origin, and that events in the home countries, such as the Easter Sunday attack in Sri Lanka, are felt deeply and painfully here. The Buddhist community in Australia has been very strong and pro-active in working together on an interfaith basis in response to such problems.
I was honored to take part on behalf of the Buddhist community! Please let me know if there is any other questions. Also, please feel free to use the above and modify it if you wish to share or post, etc.
Buddhist path of liberation is indeed a process of purification of mind. Its preliminary step is found in the training of Sīla, which finds expression through right speech, right actions and right livelihood. The follower mainly to get rid of the mental defilements such as craving, aversion and ignorance practices these three steps of the Noble Eightfold path. It is evident that the wrong speech, wrong actions and wrong livelihood lead to the development of those defilements in the mind. Through the training of conduct (Sīla) most of the rough defilements can be restrained.
I once heard it said of man that the idea is to die young, as late as possible. At age 85, a favorite pastime of George H. W. Bush was firing up his boat, the Fidelity, and opening up the three 300-horsepower engines to fly, joyfully fly across the Atlantic, with the Secret Service boats straining to keep up. At age 90, George H. W. Bush parachuted out of an aircraft and landed on the grounds of St. Ann’s by the Sea in Kennebunkport, Maine, the church where his mom was married and where he worshipped often. Mother liked to say he chose the location just in case the chute didn’t open. In his 90s, he took great delight when his closest pal, James A. Baker, smuggled a bottle of Grey Goose vodka into his hospital room. Apparently it paired well with the steak Baker had delivered from Morton’s.
Within a tree, there is a flower
Within a rock, there is a flame
Dedication for Most Venerable Thich Nhu Dien
on the ceremonial event of his 70th birthday, and 40 year-milestone for Vien Giac Temple to be established in Germany
Bhikhhu Thích Nguyên Tạng
Translated into English by: Dr Tâm Tịnh, Hoa Chí & Hoa Nghiêm
“Within a tree, there’s a flower, within a rock, there’s a flame” is the dharma taught by Zen Master Dao, recalled by Most Venerable Thich Nhu Dien during his dharmic teachings to which I had good fortune to attend in his dharma-propagating journey to the United States of America in 2006 when I acted as an assistant to him.
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.