Make the Perfect New Year’s Resolution Based on an Awareness of Death

…Continued from HAPPY NEW YEAR! Buddhist Meditation on Death

Excerpt from Amitabha Centre publicity:

Death Med GKG text

As the New Year Begins ~
Make the Perfect Resolution 

Gen Chönden’s advice to “Follow the path of peaceful, positive minds” sounds like the perfect New Year’s resolution.
But for this to work we have to want that change.

⌛    ✞    ⌚

But really, do any New Year’s resolutions last longer than a week? It’s not that folk don’t want to stop procrastinating, exercise more, or to learn how to meditate.
It just doesn’t seem to happen.

My take on that is that if you’ve got time to breathe, you’ve got time to meditate. But I’m a fine one to talk, I’m a terrible procrastinator.

New Year’s Day: Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual.” Mark Twain

More

Next Post

Compassion and Wisdom Lighten Anger

 ☆ * •. ¸Even just a glimmer of wisdom and compassion in a mind darkened by anger can lighten it.

Re-blogged as an epilogue to the Equalising Doctor Who & the Daleks series ~
bringing the sci-fi analogy down to earth.   ☽ .•      

  .   * •. ¸          /_\  .• *
                      |'|             ._____
               ___    |'|          |  |....|  .---_|
       _    .-'|"'-..-|'|      .--'|  ||'""| _|"'""|
    .-'|  _.|""|""''||   '-__  |'""|  |''''||''""''|
    |"'| |.... |'"""||      |  |""'|  |""''||""'""'|
 ___|' '-'     '    ""      '-_'   '-.'    '`      |____

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
ASCII art by J.G.Stark + Jas

 

Kadampa Life

I have been in New York City for the last ten days, on the occasion of attending the city Temple opening for Kadampa Meditation Center NYC and the North Eastern Dharma Celebration in upstate New York.

The new Buddhist Temple in Chelsea is a three-dimensional peace-space, refuge from the busy streets and lives outside. An enormous

Buddha Shakyamuni seems to float in mid-sky, surrounded by the most ethereal looking statues I have yet seen in the New Kadampa Tradition. I loved seeing a blissful Great Mother Prajnaparamita next to a knowing, smiling Tara. There are a lot of women in this city, and a lot who attend the Buddhist center, and it seems timely and inspiring to have these female enlightened beings in pride of place, perfect role models both.

I love being in New York City. It keeps me on my toes. New York is full of intelligent, creative…

View original post 1,182 more words

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

August and September at Amitabha Buddhist Centre, Bristol UK

Autumn Highlights at ABC

Just back from Saturday scripture class (Foundation Programme),
and doing the flowers on the shrine for tomorrow’s ‘The True Nature of Things‘ course.

I should be kicking back and watching some crap TV.
But I don’t have a TV, and I didn’t sleep much last night ~ so I’m wired!
You know ~
 that kind of hyper-active kids get, when what they actually really need to be doing is going to bed;
but staying up is just so much more f u n .
(I’d be cranky if disturbed as well)
LoL

Thing is, I’m fired-up with positive energy, and inspired to let the world know what our little Buddhist Centre is up to this next couple of months.

:~( All apologies to my South American followers – you don’t get Assange – unless we can smuggle him out to safety. And this is probably a bit far to come.
Not that you’d want to. It’s raining heavily, windy and cold.)

But anyway…

For More Details see …
Amitabha’s events pages


Local News ~Amitabha Buddhist Centre, Autumn / Winter 2012 


Wishfulfilling Jewel shot by Jas
Celebrations card by Dave TJ

Click on images to make biG

Sit in Peace Medmob Bristol

Meditation Flashmob Images & Reviews –

College Green in Bristol, Sat 28th July

 ~ I couldn’t resist taking this, it was such a blissful scene

Vya Freeman:
So grateful to be part of such intention. The collective, still, peaceful radiant energy that naturally resides in us all….emanating outward from within. Very beautiful, and would be wonderful if our coming together could be more often ♥
♥ Loved it! Lovely and sunny too!! 

Lilly Illuminating Starfly:
Was lovely to be a part of something so beautiful. Thank u ♥

Shivani Sarah Fox:
loved sharing the peace on such a gorgeous sunny afternoon with such beautiful people  x

Michi Weave:
thanks everyone.
beautiful 30 minutes that could have lasted even longer  x

Kitsune
An excellent day!

Jas Baku:
Such a good vibe ~ thanks all
❤ + ☮ = 
˚͜˚

Master Matthew Greenwood
Gratitude for a beautiful gathering, beautiful beings, all blessed with beautiful sunshine…. may all beings in the world be happy and at peace.

 

Amy Self:
…There I sat, thirty minutes of contemplation and breath. A sense of others in my parameter, a sense of safety and goodness longed for. The mind, free to meander through the thoughts that have been challenging it of late.
Encouraged, elevated and energized. A fresh start. A desire to meditate and make time for this amazing space in mind, body and soul.
Thank you, to all who made it possible.
Blessed be.

 

 

(Images via Sit in Peace participants ~
Jas Baku, Athena Faith Arcayan, Master Matthew Greenwood.
Click on them to make biG)

The brilliant write-up by Shivani Fox, from BCFM radio, on her blog about ‘loving living well.’ sums the experience up nicely.

And links (underlined) to our own run -up to the Sit in Peace:
Bristol’s 2nd Sit in Peace Meditation Flashmob
Meditation ~ Inspiring Images to Sit in Peace
Return to the Safe Island of Mindfulness ~ Meditation Flashmob Videos, Verse & Images
Sit in Mindful Peace

See how completely, brilliantly, meaningful the last flashmob was:
photos of Sit in Peace Meditation Flashmob on College Green, Bristol
Inspired by Tich Nhat Hanh “sit together in silence, generating the energy of peace, solidity, and freedom”
~ hundreds of like-minded people across the UK, sitting for a better world.

 

 

 

 

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