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Simmering Hope

Hope is the expectation that something outside of ourselves, something or someone external, is going to come to our rescue and we will live happily ever after. – Dr. Robert Anthony

Archive for the ‘Buddhism’ Category

Feb 1, 2008

The mantra of compassion

Yesterday I mentioned my thoughts regarding how to deal with high blood pressure and my desire to get back to something dear to me: meditation.
Today I decided to move a step ahead and the pieces of the puzzle fell down in the right way.
I came across some YouTube videos that impressed me very much.

This is one of them:

The mantra of Compassion is sung by Dechen Shak-Dagsay

I visited her site and I read about her family leaving Tibet in 1959 due to Chinese ocupation. One of the many similar stories.
Still, it’s impressive the way Tibetans managed to spread their religion without fighting anybody, without killing in the name of their belief.
More and more Westerners seem to be interested in Buddhism and maybe someday, the compassion would rule the world.
Maybe people would have enough brain and spiritual understanding to embrace Buddhism rather than contributing with millions of dollars to freak shows/cults like Scientology.

Jan 6, 2008

The Eyes of the Buddha

For some time I have wanted to talk about a movie I have really liked: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter and… Spring .
I remember how mesmerized I was by the movie and how many symbols I did not understand.
There are only a few dialogs in the movie but you are still captivated by the story of the young monk trying to learn the life’s lessons.
I highly recommend the movie to anybody who is capable of enjoying ‘art movies’ with deep messages. If you are looking for special effects and spectacular stunts, you are not going to find them here.
If, instead, you are looking to take a glimpse into Buddhism, please buy it.

Knowing that I won’t be capable of explaining the symbols by myself, I was looking for some info on the net. I came across a forum and I registered there.
Courtesy of one of the members, I now present you:
The Eyes of the Buddha
bodhnatheyes.jpg
The Eyes of the Buddha (The Wisdom Eyes) are found on every Buddhist shrines (Stupas) in Nepal.
Between the Buddha’s eyes there is a curly symbol, looking like a question mark. Actually this is the Nepali character for number 1, symbolizing the unity of all things. Above this symbol, is the third eye, symbolizing the all-seeing vision of the Buddha and the spiritual awakening.

The image is based on a hand-painted scroll that came into his possession.
I really like this guy’s point of view, very close to mine:
” That being said, I now return to my own peculiar melange of philosophical seculo-humanist-buddho-vedantan-judeo-christio-freethinko-skeptico-mystico-lacto-vegetario-unitarianism 🙂 (Being cautious about organized religion, I have opted for the vastly disorganized variety! 🙂

I could not have summarized it better myself.

Dec 26, 2007

A Spiritual Journey through Tibet

I was watching a documentary on the Tibetan Book of the Dead. At some point you could see the interior of a room, where a few Tibetan monks started the ritual following the death of a young Tibetan. The room did not have windows, only openings in the stoned wall. But the openings were covered by very small curtains.

As always, I was overwhelmed by the austerity of the Tibetan life, and again I promised myself that one day I will go there. Maybe I am not spiritual enough for this type of journey but I am pretty sure that I would have a life transforming experience.

What do you feel watching this picture?
tibet-young-and-old.jpg
Photo courtesy of Konstantin

First glimpse brought me a huge emotional pain; my soul hurt. I could almost hear the eerie sound of the wind. The wind that burnt the faces of the old and young Tibetans for centuries.

The most popular image people would refer to while thinking of Tibet, beside the Chomolangma naturally, it’s the artifact found on top of Jokhang (The House of Lord) Temple.
Deers are a direct reference to the Buddha’s first teaching in the Deer Park, Sarnath, also called Dharmachakra Parivartan. The suggestion is that his presence was so peaceful that even the animals came to listen.
In the Tibetan tradition, a monastery which holds the Kangyur and Tengyur collections of texts would have this symbol of deers on both sides of the Dharma-wheel on the roof.
tibet-roof-jokhang-temple-500.jpg

The Jokhang Temple is the most celebrated temple in Tibet. Because the temple is not controlled by any sect of the Tibetan Buddhism, it attracts followers of all the sects, along with the followers of Bon Po, Tibet’s indigenous religion.
The Temple houses the most sacred artifact of the Buddhism: the statue of Jowo Sakyamuni or Gautama Buddha, the founder of the Buddhism.
tn_tibet-jawobuddha.jpg
The statue is 1.5 meters tall, cast from precious metals and decorated with jewels and it represents Sakyamuni when he was twelve-year old.

The Tibetans continue to be violently repressed by the Chinese. Hundreds of Tibetan monks are still imprisoned, vast areas of the country, which are off limits to foreign visitors or journalists, are stripped of natural resources and most monasteries in desperate need of reconstruction are left without any financial support by the Chinese government.
Some monasteries, part of the tourist circuit, have been more or less given reconstruction assistance.
Not Tashilhunpo.
But Tibetan pilgrims still visit this ancient holy site to access the spiritual presence and to pray for the spirit- health of the monastery, spirit to be said to return only after the departure of the Chinese.
The ritual asks to follow clockwise the sacred path, outside the walls.
pilgrimcircuit.jpg
Photo courtesy of Konstantin

Tashilhunpo remains one of the poorer monasteries, but one that is still trying to look after the physical, mental and spiritual well-being of all the monks, throughout their lives.

I found this very interesting site, that promises a meaningful trip to Tibet.


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