Equalising Doctor Who & The Daleks with Buddha’s Wisdom (pt 1)

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The Doctor suffering from Dalek aversion

Equanimity

Equanimity a balanced mind free from strong attachment and aversion, based on the ignorance of not knowing how things are.
This blissfully peaceful mind unfortunately doesn’t come naturally. It takes practice to see our way through deluded minds like attachment and aversion, which are distinctly lacking in happiness or peace. These states of mind are based on the ignorance of not knowing the truth of how thing really are. They cause us to grasp at some people and things, and reject others, causing all manner of problems.

Equanimity on the other hand, is a feel-good mind. It comes from holding others with a gentle, tender regard (Geshe Chekhawa). As we practice this, it naturally develops into what Shantideva describes as seeing “all beings equally with the eye of compassion.

That’s rather than the angry mind viewing others with the wish to vaporise them. That doesn’t solve anything. It doesn’t matter how many planets the Daleks destroy, or how many people they re-format – it’ll never make them happy.

¸   . •   *   ¨

As Shantideva says, “selfish desires are a bottomless pit.”

Equalising the Doctor and the Daleks

The understanding that we all want to be happy and free from suffering, leads to understanding the equality of self and others – that there really is no difference between any of us – we all want to be happy and free from suffering. Even the Daleks and the Doctor – they’re just going about it the wrong way. As long as they remain alien to each other, there’s little hope.

I love the Doctor to bits. He’s been one of my heroes since I was a kid. But this is his 11th regeneration, and he’s still suffering in similar ways to us humans on earth. How many remembered lifetimes does it take to work out that brilliant as he is, his methods just don’t work? Each time he saves the Universe, or just the Earth from annihilation from one heinous threat, another one comes along. There has to be another way, doesn’t there?
The problems just keep on coming.

You don’t have to be a fan of the Doctor to know he’s got history with the the Daleks . They’ve got generations of enmity between them.
It’s understandable really – The Daleks are “a powerful race bent on universal conquest and domination, utterly without pity, compassion or remorse.” (Wikipedia) And the Doctor caused the mutual genocide of both the Daleks, as well as his own race of Time-Lords.
Doesn’t seem like much there’s much room for finding common ground there.

But this is science fiction, set in space!
There’s lots of room for improvement in space.

The potential for these peaceful, powerful minds is found in Asylum of the Daleks.
(nb. ** 1st episode SPOILERS. I’ve not got a T.V, so I’m only just catching up with the new series myself)

Briefly, having been kidnapped by the Daleks and forced to help them; the Doctor and his companions are helped to navigate through the Dalek asylum by a ‘slightly sexy genius’ called Oswin. She’s immediately likeable, pretty, brave and perky. She’s trapped in a shipwrecked cabin and surrounded by Daleks. She’s only got a dictaphone and the Daleks’ hive mind that she’s hacked into for company.
Not best.
As Oswin says, she’s “keen to move on.

cult_dr_who_jenna_oswin_1

The Doctor and Rory feel affinity for Owin and don’t want her to suffer. These are the loving minds loving minds of compassion that Buddhism promotes, and the ones that will bring us peace and happiness. They’re the ones to work on.
Definitely preferable to vaporising people.

Continued in Equalising Doctor Who & The Daleks with Buddha’s Wisdom (pt 2)
Meditations on
Equanimity  from Daily Lamrim on Equalising Self and Others and Equanimity
Asylum of the Daleks ep 1, series 7 on BBC1 iPlayer
(so it’s good for the UK until 6th Oct, not sure about anywhere else)
Shantideva quotes from Meaningful to Behold, by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso
 

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Beauty is to be Found in the Moment

Beauty is to be found in the moment

nothing else exists

ڿڰۣ(̆̃̃

ڿڰۣ ڿڰۣ

(̆̃̃ڿڰۣ

Use this present moment energy to come alive

in each moment

Click on images to make biG
Credits:
flowers photo via beantz on tumblr, with text by David Thomas
Thich Nhat Hanh quote via babydoll1976 on Tumblr

For David, thanks for your inspiring words and ways.
RiP September 2013

Kadam Bridget in Bristol UK!!

Free Public Talk with Kadam Bridget Heyes at Colston Hall

 The teachings of Buddha show how to find pure happiness through developing deep peace within our own mind. In the text ‘Modern Buddhism’ Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso has presented these teachings in a way that makes it easy for modern people to gain experience of the profound path to inner peace.
(Free download on right.)

Ancient Wisdom in a Modern World

“Through reading and practicing the instructions given in this book, people can solve their daily problems and maintain a happy mind all the time.”
Geshe Kelsang
So that these benefits can pervade the whole world, Geshe Kelsang wishes to give this eBook freely to everyone.

 The instructions given in this book are scientific methods for improving our human nature and qualities through developing the capacity of our mind.

 .• *

The speaker will be Kadam Bridget Heyes. She is a strong and dedicated disciple of Geshe Kelsang Gyatso and is the UK Spiritual Director of the New Kadampa Tradition (NKT) and Resident Teacher at Nagarjuna Centre in Northants. Bridget will explain how Modern Buddhism is inspiring for those seeking solutions to the problems of their everyday life, as well as for encouraging
practitioners of all faiths to deepen their understanding and practice of the spiritual path.

* •.

Details:
Tues 23rd October    7~8pm (please arrive early)
Colston Hall,  Bristol, BS1 5AR

David Thomas on Buddhism and Looking Death Straight in the Eye (part 2)

Buddhism helped me replace the fear of death
with 
peaceful acceptance

via Bristol Evening Post

 

Death is the ultimate human fear

– one we generally put to the back of our minds until we are forced to face it, but confronting our own death is probably the most difficult psychological hurdle we will ever face.
For 52-year-old Dave Thomas, who is terminally ill, his own mortality is a fear he has grappled with thanks to his powerful belief in his Buddhist faith and by using the meditation techniques he has developed over two decades as a practising Buddhist.

.• *

 ​
  • * •.

“This dying lark isn’t nearly as awful as it’s cracked up to be,” the former Fleet Street journalist tells me, flashing a warm smile, as we meet at the Buddhist meditation centre he has attended for the past four years – the Amitabha Buddhist Centre in Gloucester Road. Amitabha is a residential and teaching centre,  housing lay and ordained Buddhists; including Dave’s meditation tutor Kelsang Chönden.  Chönden bristles with kindness as he comes out of the room in his full monastic habit to arrange the coffee.

A Bishopston landmark for the past 20 years, the centre, now based in an old vicarage, has trained more than 5,000 Bristolians in the ancient Buddhist art of meditation.

Amitabha Buddhist Centre

For Dave, the calming aspects of meditation came into their own after being told he had only a short time to live.
“I was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis back in 2010,” Dave explains. “I had found myself getting increasingly breathless, and had no idea what was causing it. But the consultant at the BRI explained the condition to me – essentially the air sacs within my lungs are increasingly failing to transfer the oxygen from the air to my bloodstream. Sadly it is terminal without a lung transplant.

“That was a couple of years ago now, and as things currently stand the doctors believe I may have just a couple of months to live. Being told you are dying is an extraordinary experience. Suddenly you are facing the big one. It’s an awful lot to get your head around.
But the meditation has helped me enormously – both in terms of having already developed an accepting frame of mind, but also practically, in terms of helping my breathing as it increasingly fails.”

Dave uses a mobile oxygen canister, which pumps oxygen into his nose to assist his breathing, but when he meditates he doesn’t need to wear it.
“It’s not a psychological effect,” he explains. “I regularly visit Southmead Hospital to have the oxygen levels in my blood tested, and the consultants there have been able to actively see that the oxygen levels in my blood are improved when I am meditating.”

“Dying isn’t all bad”

–  he says. “From the moment someone tells you you’re dying, you see the world very differently. You value everything so much, it’s actually quite wonderful.
I was recently walking in some woods near my home, and it struck me that the last time I was there I was jogging through in a track suit.
This time I was shuffling through, struggling for breath, but because I was walking so slowly I was able to pay attention to things I wouldn’t previously have noticed – individual trees and flowers. The beautiful detail.”

Dave says he was “the typical old-school Fleet Street hack” when he first discovered Buddhism, while working on the Sunday People at the height of the Maxwell era in the 1980s.
“I had a wonderful time, doing a job I loved, and with a beautiful family, but I was conscious that for some reason, at the back of my mind, I was not contented. I didn’t feel complete happiness.

“I decided to give meditation a try – but I was a cynical journalist, and didn’t really expect to get anything from it. After about five sessions, I was all ready to pack it in. But then I had a big story fall down, and I found myself accepting the disappointment in a way that I would never previously have been able to – previously it would have at least ruined my week.”

Chönden and David

Meditation was changing my mindset – calming me

“I realised that slowly, subtly, the meditation was changing my mindset – calming me. So I carried on with my meditation sessions, and over time, together with the Buddhist teachings that have come with it, it has had a profound effect on me and my ability to find peaceful acceptance when bad things happen.

“At first I was ribbed mercilessly by my newsroom colleagues about it,” he says. “But slowly they too could see the powerful effect it had on me, and increasingly they became genuinely interested – some even took it up themselves.”

Dave moved to Bristol in the 1990s as one of the founders of news agency South West News Service, and later founded another media business, Medavia, but was forced to retire a couple of years ago as his health deteriorated. He has now reached an extraordinary level of acceptance as he faces the end of his life.

I thought I was hours from death,
but what is left is pure peaceful acceptance

“I have been admitted to an intensive care unit twice in the past few months, and on both occasions I thought I was hours from death.

“So I’ve been very lucky to have had two dry runs – so I know that through using compassionate meditation, that is, meditating on the sorrows of the people around me in the intensive care unit, I was able to focus my mind entirely away from any fear about my own death, and what is left is pure peaceful acceptance.

“What concerns me much more is the suffering I know it will bring to my family and close friends when I die.

“After my diagnosis each one of my children separately offered me one of their lungs, which was heartbreaking – it showed so much love, but concerned me that they were unprepared for my leaving them, even though I have been able to come to terms with my own mortality.”

Meditation takes away the fear of death

“I know I will feel sorrow about leaving behind my family and friends and all that I have worked towards in my life, but I also know that through meditation I will be able to take away the fear of death. Once you take that away, there really is nothing left to fear. Acceptance is tremendously liberating.

“In one way I’m actually sort of excited about the challenge I will soon face. The next time I am in an intensive care unit, it will no doubt be the big one. I am excited to be facing the final challenge of this life – to put into practice all that I’ve learnt through meditation over these past 20 years.”

Dave smiles that warm smile once more. He glances briefly at the enormous figure of the Buddha that dominates the room, and briefly at his meditation mentor, Kelsang Chönden. There is so much peace in his eyes, it is impossible to feel sad. I shake his hand, and he returns to his meditations.

* •.  

Source
Upper images and text taken from the Bristol Evening Post, Weds 19th Sep ’12
(edited to make it more accurate and blog friendly)

See also David on Buddhism and Looking Death Straight in the Eye (part 1)
and Beauty is to be Found in the Moment  – images.

 Kadam Bridget Heyes is giving a free public talk on Modern Buddhism, at the Colston Hall, Tues 23rd Oct. Knowing the power of Buddhism to heal our minds, and society today, David’s paid for 10,000 card flyers to advertise it.
For more details, visit Amitabha Buddhist Centre, or see Kadam Bridget in Bristol!!  here.

 

 
Please share this! let others know, use the share buttons below  
Send prayers and loving energy to David

David Thomas on Buddhism and Looking Death Straight in the Eye (part 1)

David needs a new lung!

 “I stopped breathing for awhile.
But it’s OK, I started again.”

It’s difficult to believe David’s talking about himself here ~ he’s looking at you with that cheeky grin… is he joking?
Sadly no, with a fraction of normal lung capacity, breathing has become increasingly problematic for David.
But listening to him is a humbling and positive experience.
He’s a genuinely decent person, and my discussion partner in scripture class.
I’ll truly miss him if he doesn’t get a new lung soon.

 .¸☽

David Thomas

¸   . • 

David has pulmonary fibrosis

“Which means my lungs are packing up.
I’m increasingly unable to process oxygen.”
He’s got this nifty little rucksack for carrying a mini oxygen tank, which he uses on trips out. Like a travel bag which gives him that much needed air to breathe.
“My only hope of survival is a lung transplant.
But shortage of donors means that 3 people die each day waiting for a donor. 
The NHS Organ Donor Register needs more people to sign up.
Most people are into it, but…”
David feels this is terribly sad.
“It causes huge unnecessary suffering of patients and their  family.”
David’s outlook is scientifically quite bleak. He was diagnosed 21 months ago.
“I lasted longer than expected, but it’s an unpredictable condition. I’ll be happy to last another few months.”

If it was me we were talking about, it’d have to be from under the duvet where I was hiding. But David’s surprisingly positive and cheerful.
I ask him why.

“We normally live our lives against a background of fear. So many things in our lives frighten us. People avoid thinking about death, but a lucky few of us are forced to face and acknowledge it. The conclusion you have to come to is “is that it?!
Our big unspoken fear – the bogeyman – just vanishes.”

* •.  

See also David on Buddhism and Looking Death Straight in the Eye (part 2)  –
Interview with the Bristol Evening Post, looks at how Dharma has enabled David to be that brave.
Also Beauty is to be Found in the Moment  – images.

Bio
David Thomas was a national newspaper editor and journalist. He’s now a semi retired director of a media company.
Married with 3 kids and a fat chocolate labrador.
Organ Donation
Click here for more details on the  NHS Organ Donor Register
Or you can just sign online here.
Please share this! let others know, use the share buttons below ⤵ 
Send prayers and loving energy to David

“Lightness is Healthiness” Transforming ‘Reality’ with Duldzin’s Help

new shrine for the Dorje Shugden
5 Lineages

 now in situ and lookin’ good!

“Lightness is Healthiness” Max by Duldzin’s new shrine

Is it really possible to be happy?

“It is my deep conviction, personal knowledge and experience that real happiness is possible; it is born out of a deep and continuous commitment to one’s own personal growth and spiritual path.
Find your path of healing and transformation and create the life of your dreams. You can do it. “
Weinberg, A Lightness of Being

Dorje Shugden is our Dharma Protector

Duldzin’s an emanation of the Wisdom Buddha Manjushri.
He protects our spiritual path by averting outer and inner obstacles to our practice, and  promoting necessary conditions for our spiritual development.

“Although physically they may find themselves alone, inwardly those who put their trust in him will never be apart from a powerful ally and a wise and compassionate guide.”
Heart Jewel, Geshe Kelsang

Dorje’s sat on his Snow Lion, who symbolises fearlessness. For me that means the strength and determination necessary for really engaging in the spiritual path, which is protection in itself. Relying on Dorje Shugdän helps us develop that fearlessness.

Being a Buddha, Dorje manifests people and situations according to our needs and wishes. He can do this, because his spiritual power arises from compassion, which is supremely powerful.

Also, our ‘reality’ is “merely a dance of fleeting appearances projected by our minds” Luna Kadampa Reality is no more real or substantial than last night’s dream. Of course it appears to be real ~ but then while you’re in them, so do dreams.

This makes transformation, co-creation and generally improving our lives very do-able. The only thing that’s really weighing us down are our self imposed obstacles and limiting beliefs. And their nature is illusory, making them as easy to overcome as waking up from a nightmare.
Especially with Duldzin’s help 🙂

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Photo by Jas, at Amitabha Buddhist Centre

Einstein via Genius in the Making

 

Co-Creation, Creatures and Compassion ~ Images

Each day we all create a future for ourselves and others

~ make it a good one

pe☮ce

Click on image to make biG
Images via Mel on FB;
Spider Monkey by L.Newell via Photo Botos.
Thanks!

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