It's morning time and a little boy with a shaved head and a face shaped like the moon chants a Tibetan prayer. His high-pitched voice echoes inside the Columbia Heights bedroom that his father has transformed into a lavish prayer room. In here, the 4-year-old forsakes his cartoons and toys to study scripture and learn to pray the Buddhist way. Big for his age, he looks bigger still perched on an ornate chair draped in crimson and saffron robes. "Only for lamas," explains his father, Dorje Tsegyal, sitting cross-legged on the floor at his son's feet. Jalue Dorjee, you see, is believed to be no ordinary boy.
Tag Archives | Buddhism
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Buddhist scholar Graeme MacQueen gave a talk that explained why Buddhists should take action to stop war and its causes. Unfortunately, even the most compassionate people in our western society often find justification for doing nothing while suffering grows around them. Many Buddhists are in that frame of mind and they justify their non-action by claiming that their responsibility is soley to avoid violence in themselves. But Professor MacQueen has challenged this stance, recalling Buddhist scripture and revisiting the concept of a bodhisattva.
As Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “There comes a time when silence is betrayal.” Similarly, Professor MacQueen asks in this talk if we have the right to “give away things that don’t belong to us … the earth … species … ecosystems … the futures of our children and other people’s children.” Through silent collaboration, that is what many people are doing today.
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Tibet’s spiritual leader plans to step down as head of the Tibetan government-in-exile, his spokesman said.
The Dalai Lama, 75, has scaled back his duties leading Tibet since 2001, when the Tibetan movement first directly elected a political leader. Since then, his government role has been mainly ceremonial as he travels around the world giving speeches. His spokesman said he would discuss retiring with the next session of parliament in March. Though it might not be too easy to get away; the speaker of Tibet’s parliament said that a retirement requires consideration, since it would mean a sweeping political change.
“Retirement” would mainly mean stepping away from ceremonial duties as head of government, like signing resolutions. The Dalai Lama would still remain an advocate for the Tibetan movement and a Buddhist spiritual leader.
The Dalai Lama, who was born Tenzin Gyatso, is the highest-ranking Buddhist priest and seen as an incarnation of the original Dalai Lama from the 1300s.
Marc Abrahams for the Guardian:
Indian scientists wield sophisticated mathematics to dissect and analyse the traditional meditation chanting sound ‘Om’
Two Indian scientists are wielding sophisticated mathematics to dissect and analyse the traditional meditation chanting sound “Om”. The Om team has published six monographs in academic journals. These plumb certain acoustic subtleties of Om, which these researchers say is “the divine sound”.
Om has many variations. In a study published in the International Journal of Computer Science and Network Security, the researchers explain: “It may be very fast, several cycles per second. Or it may be slower, several seconds for each cycling of [the] Om mantra. Or it might become extremely slow, with the mmmmmm sound continuing in the mind for much longer periods but still pulsing at that slow rate. It is somewhat like one of these vibrations:
Written by Chuan Zhi on the Zen Buddhist Order of Hsu Yun website:
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Neuroscience has recently revolutionized the way we envision the mind and the brain. With functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) we can now literally see the brain working in real time as different parts of the brain “light up” in response to various internal and external stimuli. Researchers now better understand not only how we think about things, but also how we feel about things. Emotions of all kinds — empathy, happiness, melancholy, anger, frustration, joy – are all seen as unique brain activities in particular parts of the brain. Researchers are also finding that people differ, often quite dramatically, in the degree to which these specific parts of the brain are active for specific emotions. Some people have a huge area of the brain devoted, for example, to anger, while others may have more brain development in the empathy area (empathy, we are told, is a direct result of the presence of motor neurons in the brain).
One of the most important calculations of Indian history has been done on the basis of the lifetime of a certain Indian emperor called Ashoka, considered to be one of the greatest emperors of world history. Renowned British Historian HG Wells wrote about Ashoka:
“In the history of the world there have been thousands of kings and emperors who called themselves ‘their highnesses,’ ‘their majesties,’ and ‘their exalted majesties’ and so on. They shone for a brief moment, and as quickly disappeared. But Ashoka shines and shines brightly like a bright star, even unto this day.”
Ashoka was a Buddhist emperor who was responsible for the spread of Buddhism, to distant corners of India and the neighboring countries, by sending large number of Buddhist missionaries to these places. He built thousands of Buddhist stupas and established thousands of Buddhist monasteries all over his empire that stretched from Iran to Bandladesh and from Central Asia (Afghanistan) to South India.… Read the rest