Articles

Bullying: A New Approach

In almost every school, there are posters and there are assemblies that address a problem that 20% of kids face every day, bullying. Kids who are bullied “are at increased risk for depression, anxiety, sleep difficulties, lower academic achievement, and dropping out of school.” (Pacer.org) It is these effects that make bullying an important issue that should be discussed more. The problem is not that bullying is not being addressed, it is that there is a more efficient way of addressing it. Although a school’s approach to stopping bullying does have its upsides, a psycho-educational approach could be more effective.

What is the current day approach to stopping bullying? It is called the Law-enforcement approach and it paints bullying as a crime which is not always the case. “By holding education institutions legally responsible for the bullying among students, it pressures them to morph into totalitarian police systems, stripping children of their freedom.”(Kalman) A study from The Olweus Bullying Prevention Program showed that the current approach, when implemented for two years, is only 12% effective. McMaster University held a focus group for kids grade five to eight where “students also report problems with negatively worded anti-bullying messages which flatly told them what not to do.”(Vitelli)  Bullying is inevitable but schools are telling kids that they are entitled to a bully-free life which is not reasonable. The current approach endorses a victim-mindset, so why put time and money into a program to stop something inevitable? That is where the government comes into play.

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CREAMY CARROT SOUP

A simple carrot soup which most children enjoy.

Ingredients
2 tablespoons butter
(or half butter, half oil)

1 large onion finely chopped

500g carrots
scrubbed and sliced

4 cups (32 fl oz) vegetable stock
(or water)

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 cup (8 fl oz) milk

Pinch of grated nutmeg

1/cup (4 fl oz) cream or evaporated milk

 Method
In a large, heavy based saucepan, cook the butter, onon and carrots over low heat, tightly covered, for 15-20 minutes.  Stir now and then.  The vegetables must not brown, but this slow cooking brings out the flavours and makes all the difference to the soup.

Add the stock or water, bring to the boil, then simmer for 30 minutes or until the carrots are quite tender.  Cool slightly, then puree in a blender or food processor, return to heat and season to taste.  Stir in milk, nutmeg, cream or evaporated milk and bring almost to the boil.  Serve with crisp, freshly made croutons.

Note:  If liked, rub the croutons lightly with a cut clove of garlic.

Serves:  5-6

 

Positive News

Words by
Gavin Haines

Pollinators and public art: how one Cornish seaside town is creating a buzz

Like many seaside towns in the UK, St Austell has suffered from changing holiday habits (even before the pandemic) and the decline of the fishing industry. A new arts project aims to reverse its fortunes – and that of the bee,

“People used to call St Austell ‘St Awful’ – we’re trying to make that St Awesome instead.”

Artist Alex Murdin is sharing his ambitions for Whitegold, a cultural regeneration programme, which, under the umbrella of the Austell Project, seeks to rejuvenate the seaside town through art.

Like many coastal UK towns, St Austell has suffered from changing holiday habits, and the decline of fishing and industry. Once world-renowned for its china clay pits, which supplied the potters of Stoke-on-Trent, the quarries began to be abandoned last century and the Cornish town fell on hard times.

However, following the success of cultural regeneration projects in other seaside towns, such as Margate, in Kent, St Austell is now looking to art – specifically ceramics – to spur positive change.

But as Murdin said, it’s not just about “plonking a few sculptures around St Austell and hoping that somehow it transforms the place”. Local people have been invited to play a role in the transformation.

Nowhere is the spirit of collective endeavour more evident than at Biddicks Court (main picture, above), where an uninspiring public space has been transformed by a mural made of 11,000 handmade tiles.

The Garden Route rolls out a colourful carpet for visitors arriving in St Austell by car. Image: James Darling

Some 800 local people helped make the giant mural of a Cornish black bee, which, like St Austell itself, has endured through difficult times.

“The Cornish black bee seems to be quite resistant [to colony collapse disorder],” explained Simeon Featherstone of Parasite Ceramics, the ceramics practice that led the project. “It has shown itself to be plucky so it seemed like a good metaphor.”

As well as celebrating pollinators, the Austell Project has also sought to boost their numbers by planting wildflower meadows along the A391 into St Austell. The so-called Garden Route rolls out a colourful carpet for visitors arriving during the summer, and is the first of its kind in Cornwall.

To read the rest of this article log on to positive new lifestyle. at Positive News

The Teachings of the Buddha

                      Lumbini: Photo Yeshe Dorje.

A double-edged question.

The local ruler, called Abhaya, went to Nataputta, a monk who belonged to a community hostile to the Buddha.  Nataputta said to Abhaya: ‘If you were to defeat Gautama, whom they call the Buddha, in public debate, your reputation would be hugely enhanced,’  Abhaya said: ‘How can I defeat Gautama in debate?  His power is too great, and his ability is too vast.’

Nataputta said:  ‘Go to Gautama, and ask him this question:  “Would an enlightened person ever utter words which were disagreeable and unpleasant to others?”   If he replies that an enlightened person would speak in such a way, say to him:  “Then there is no difference between an enlightened  person and an ordinary person;  ordinary people frequently utter words which are disagreeable and unpleasant to others.”  But if he replies that an enlightened person would never speak in such a way, say to him:  “Then you cannot be enlightened; you said that our cousin and enemy Devadutta will suffer for an aeon, and your words made him angry.”‘

Nataputta continued: ‘Thus, when you ask this double-edged question, Gautama will be unable either to spew it out or to swallow it.  It will be as if a piece of barbed iron were stuck in his throat.

Abhaya agreed to this plan; and he immediately went to the Buddha.  He invited him for a meal the following day, with the intention of asking the question afterwards.

Abhayarajakumara Sutta:  Majjhima Nikaya 1.393-395

The Buddha’s principles for speech.

The Buddha came to Abhaya’s palace the following day; and the prince served the Buddha himself, giving him the finest food.  Then after the meal Abhaya asked the Buddha; ‘Would an enlightened person ever utter words which were disagreeable and unpleasant to others?’  The Buddha said, ‘Is not this question double-edged?’  Abhaya exclaimed:  ‘Nataputta and his community are already defeated.’  The Buddha asked: ‘Why do you say that?’  Abhaya told the Buddha that Nataputta had urged him to ask that question, in order to defeat him in debate.

A little boy was lying beside Abhaya, with his head on the ruler’s knee.  The Buddha said:  ‘If that little boy had a stone stuck in his throat, what would you do?’  Abhaya replied: ‘Out of compassion for the boy, I should put my finger down his throat and pull the stone out – even if I drew blood.’

The Buddha said: ‘I never utter falsehood.  If I know something to be true, but nobody would benefit from hearing it, and some would be hurt, I do not utter it.  If I know something to be true, and some would benefit from hearing it, and others would be hurt, I wait for the right time to utter it.  If I know something to be true, but nobody would benefit from hearing it, though some would find it pleasant, I do not utter it.  If I know something to be true, and some would benefit from hearing it, and some would find it pleasant, I utter it.’

Abhayarajakumara Sutta:  Majjhima Nikaya  1.393 – 395

From 366 Readings From Buddhism:  Jaico Publishing House.  Mumbai

 

 

 

 

The Birth of a New World

How can I speak of hope when so many have died? The tragedy is that those who have passed are all the beloved of someone who lives to mourn them. Many innocent lives cut short.

The sun continues to rise. As Francesca Melandri wrote, in A Letter from Italy, “We are witnessing the birth of a new world”. Just what sort of world it is will depend so much on the lessons learned from this and the choices we make – and I mean we the citizens – coming out of it.

Gaia is swinging the pendulum back to the centre. Our beautiful blue planet is a self-regulating organism. This is more than just James Lovelock’s hippy hypothesis. Science has shown it to be true. Our entire evolution depends on her keeping the atmosphere just right for Life. The right amount of oxygen in the air we breathe, the water we drink – life-giving. Filtering the sunlight that plants and algae convert into the food that all animals are dependent on – life-giving. Life has flourished in her mastery of ecochemistry, her juggling of the winds and rains, her influence from the deepest ocean to the frozen tundra.

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Byken Matsukawa

Happiness

Personal stories are always interesting, especially when they are within living memory and their veracity hasn’t been eroded through time.  Below is a series of photographs which tells a story about David Russell’s father, Byken Matsukawa, a Japanese national interned in the UK during the second world war.  The photos are preceded by a short biography of David’s life.

Click on each photo to enlarge.

My background

During the First World War my grandparents had moved to Highgate in North London where they ran a guest house; and when my father arrived from Japan in 1915 he stayed in the guest house, met and married my mother in 1920.

I was born in 1934, the youngest of 5 children.  My father did begin to teach me Japanese during the early 1940’s but this was interrupted after Pearl Harbour when my father was interned  for 18 months.  After his release back to the mainland he did not continue with teaching me Japanese.  I therefore neither speak nor read Japanese.

Just before I commenced my National Service in 1953 I changed my surname by deed poll, together with my brother Albert, from Matsukawa to Russell. My father kept his surname. For the record my father became naturalized in 1949 as a British Citizen and died in 1959.

My mother was born in 1901 in Tunbridge Wells to German speaking  parents.  Her full name (wait for it) was Helen Christine Louise Martha Schrader.  She only ever used the name Helen!

Besides working in England and Scotland, I was also employed in Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon over the period 1961 to 1966 and again in Lebanon between 1968 to 1971. In Iraq I was a lecturer in Electrical and Electronic Engineering at the University of Baghdad – I was there for eight months and witnessed a very bloody revolution and the overthrow of General Quassim to be replaced by a new government under the Baath Party and Sadam Hussein. Between 1961 and 1966 I was a lecturer in Electrical and Electronic Engineering at the prestigious American University of Beirut before returning to the UK. Between late 1968 and May 1971 I went back as a consultant to a Jordanian construction firm with offices in Amaan, Jordan and Beirut, Lebanon and my job was to liaise with NEC of Japan who were the suppliers of the equipment for building a ground satellite communication system in Amaan, Jordan. I was also involved in visiting many countries in the Middle East including Iraq, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates for the company who were seeking other contracts.

Within the UK my early employment was with Cable & Wireless Ltd .  I was seconded to the old GPO Research Station at Dollis Hill, London, working on the design of a new Transatlantic Cable system CANTAT 2 which was installed between Oban and Newfoundland.  I was in Oban to witness the opening in 1960.

I then moved to Decca Radar where I was involved with the design of a new computerised radar system to be used in Air Traffic Control. After returning to the UK in 1971 I taught at both Middlesex University and Plymouth University before taking up my post in Scotland in 1976 as HM Inspector of Schools (Further and Higher Education ) where I had responsibility as a national specialist for all courses in Electrical and Electronic Engineering.

I am now retired and live in Edinburgh with my wife, Lena.

**************************************************

My Father

Family members within Jyo-en-Ji Temple

My father (Byken or Bai-ken Matsukawa was born in 1890 in the Jyo-en-ji Temple in Hirakata (located half way between Osaka and Kyoto) to the then Chief Priest of the Temple (Bai-jun Matsukawa).  The temple was established in 1495 and has been in the family since that time.  My father had an elder brother (Bai-en) who died at the age of 22 in 1902.  By tradition the eldest son of the Chief Priest would automatically follow in the steps of his father and become Chief Priest.  He wrestled with his own conscience for many years before finally deciding against staying in Japan and decided to leave for the UK in 1915 at the age of 25.  He had already left the temple and had studied science, had excellent knowledge of the English language and worked and developed a short-hand system within the Imperial Diet.

 

Byken Matsukawa editor of the Nichiei Shinshi.

He arrived in England by ship in 1915.  He established the first Japanese News Agency in the UK called Eastern Press which had its offices in Chancery Lane, London very close to Fleet Street.  Through this Agency he was able to receive news from Japan and deliver it to the Japanese community in the UK.  One of his early tasks was to attend and report on the Treaty of Versailles at the end of World War 1.  In 1925 he became the editor of the Nichi-Ei-Shinshi newspaper which continued right up to 1939.  In 1936 he began to teach Japanese language and literature at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS).  My father had a great command of the English language and through his passionate interest in the sciences he did a great deal of translation of scientific works from Japanese to English both for the UK government and top blue chip commercial firms in the UK.  It is true to say that he became probably the best known translator of Japanese scientific literature in the UK in the later years of his life.

 

A photograph of my father teaching Army, RAF and Naval Officers who were involved in interrogating Japanese prisoners of war.

My father still had Japanese citizenship at the outbreak of World War 2 and Pearl Harbour and he was interned at the Isle of Man for 18 months between 1941 and 1943. During his internment the UK Government continued to call on his services as a translator, something with which he was happy to oblige.  On his release he returned to duties at SOAS as part of a special training course for UK armed services officers who interrogated Japanese prisoners of war and translated captured Japanese documents.  My father was finally naturalised as a British citizen in 1949

 The Matsukawa family circa 1937

 

 

 

My father continued his work at SOAS until 1955 when he retired, but continued his translation work right up to his death in 1959 when he succumbed to leukaemia.

 

 

A poem my father wrote. Tanka poetry refers to a Japanese 31-syllable poem, traditionally written as a single, unbroken line. The word “tanka” translates to “short song.” Similar to haiku poetry, tanka poems have specific syllable requirements. They also use many literary devices, including personificationmetaphors, and similes to allow ample visualization.  The poem was written only a few days before my father died as a Thank You for the kindness shown to him as a foreigner.

My father playing the violin circa 1905-10

My father and unknown boy.

Postcard from my father to my grandmother circa 1915.

Prayer of Samantabhadra

Bodhicharya Winter Teaching 2020 – LIVE Teaching

Prayer of Samantabhadra (Kunzang Mönlam)


14th – 21st December 2020

Daily at 2:30pm (GMT/UTC)


Rinpoche has very kindly accepted our request to give a teaching on the ‘Prayer of Samantabhadra (Kunzang Mönlam)’.

This direct and important text is not only an aspiration prayer, but also a very profound teaching and an introduction to the Dzogchen approach. The popular and well-known prayer is especially recommended to be recited during special times like earthquakes, eclipses and solstices, utilising such times as an opportunity for liberation.

The eight day Winter Teaching will start on Monday 14th December on a solar eclipse, and end on Winter solstice on Monday 21st, when we will recite the prayer together.

During this week of teachings Rinpoche will go through the text and also provide us some background and perspective. There will be one session each day at 2.30 pm UTC (GMT). The sessions will be on Zoom and the recordings will become available for registered participants.

The root text is available in different translations in English and other languages, for instance, here at Lotsawa House.

The Winter Teaching is open for all and given freely.

Without Bodhichitta even the highest teachings will not benefit us and can even harm us. Rinpoche often recommends that we study the Bodhicharyavatara. This famous Mahayana text by Shantideva on the Bodhisattva’s way of life and the Six Paramitas is taught by Rinpoche as an ongoing course here in the Ringu Tulku Teachings Archive.

Study and Practice of the Bodhicharyavatara will lay a good foundation for those who wish to participate in the Winter Teaching.


Please visit the Archive to Register and find out more.

THE UNIVERSAL WAY OF AVALOKITESVAR BODHISATTVA

AVALOKITESVAR SHRINE
A Place to Pray to and Meditate on the Grace and Great Compassion of Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva 

The Universal Way of Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva- A

Public Domain   Translation of Chapter 25 of the Lotus Sutra

Preface

The Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva Chapter of the Lotus Sutra is perhaps one of the most efficacious Dharma Doors ever spoken by the Buddha. Regular recitation of this Sutra can dispel all disasters and help the cultivator build a strong foundational affinity with Avalokitesvara, a Bodhisattva able to uproot all types of suffering, no matter how severe or how strange, be it physical, spiritual and or psychological. Anyone who is able to build a foundation with Avalokitesvara (by reciting his Name or this Sutra) shall be forever remembered by the Bodhisattva, who will respond by granting all wishes (be they spoken or secret) and eliminating all of the cultivator’s misfortunes, flaws, problems and obstacles— either covertly or openly.

Thus, the purpose of this translation is to serve as a easily recited and understood edition of the Avalokitesvara Chapter for all to use in their daily practice. A public domain text to be freely printed and shared without any restriction.
Brian Chung,
March 2020

The Universal Way of Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva

The Bodhisattva of Boundless Will arose from his seat, bared his right shoulder, turned towards the Buddha with joined palms and asked: “World Honored One, we yearn to know why the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, He Who Hears and Heeds the Sounds of the World, is titled thus?”
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MUSHROOMS – च्याउ

Ingredients
1 cup of mushrooms
4 teaspoons mustard or vegetable oil
1 medium onion
2 garlic cloves
2.5 cm piece of ginger
1/2 teaspoon chili (optional)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seed
salt to taste

Process
Wash the mushrooms 2 or 3 times.  Break into small pieces by hand.  Mix turmeric rubbing with the hands and allow to stand for at least 10 minutes.  

Heat the oil and fry the fenugreek seeds till they jump and become brown.  Add the mushrooms after squeezing out the turmeric.  Add salt and fry again.  Add the ground spices and some water so as to let it become a paste.  Cook with a little more quantity of water if needed.

Serve hot and dry.

 Joys of Nepalese Cooking:  Indra Majapuria

SPINACH PAKODA पालक पाकोडा

Ingredients
2 cups of the leaves of spinach

1 cup of gram flour (besan)
2 green chillis chopped or 1/2 teaspoon chilli powder (optional)
1 large onion finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
pinch of asafoetida (hing)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup of water or as required
Oil for deep frying

Process
Wash and clean the spinach leaves well.  Cut thickly or use they are.  Mix all the ingredients in gram flour and beat well.  It will become a thick paste.  Mix the spinach leaves.  Beat again.  Add more water if needed.

Heat the oil in frying pan until smoke starts to come.  To make the pakoda crispy, mix a tablespoon of the heated oil in the gram flour.  Fry small balls in the oil until they become light brown.  Adjust the heat accordingly.

Serve hot with a tomato and chili sauce.

Serves
3-4 persons.

IN SEARCH OF MEDICINE, BEYOND CLOUDS

In NATURAL MEDICINE by Kate Roddick

I felt on top of the world, with my letter of introduction to the Dalai Lama, in my pocket, close to my heart, we tickeled tocked, tickeled tocked, into the train station at Patankot. The mist had fallen onto the paddy fields, and plains left to right of the old sleeper train, in the misty morning and my heart seemed to be gently pounding to the anticipation of just getting out onto the platform. I had shared a four tier bunk carriage with two nuns and a very large Indian lady whom was coming up from Old Delhi to take the mountain air and by pure chance to also visit a Tibetan Doctor.

After a little bartering with the mini bus driver, the four of us alighted with a lot of luggage as I had with me two trunks , which I had brought all the way over from Nepal. One trunk was my kitchen things, the other personal items. We were on our way up the two hour drive to Dharamsala, Northern India, in Himachal Pradesh. Dharamsala is a small hill station known as Little Tibet and the home and residence of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama.

 

I was to get used to this route in the years to come, but this was the first time I had gone over the Sutlej bridge, and it was by habit, that my travel companions told me, that one was to take tea and puris in the little tea house just after the river before we climb the foothills towards the Kangra Valley. The fields around the farmsteads were bright yellow mustard and the wheat fields a beautiful comparison of green. Ahead was the powerful beauty of the Dhauladhar range, snow peaked splashed by the morning sun. We were getting close to our destination, and everyone started to show signs of excitement. The nuns chatting at half a dozen- reminiscing stories of His Holiness’s annual teachings this time last year. As we approached Lower Dharamsala we passed the Tibet College of Tibetan Medicine, the Menzi Khang. And my heart missed a beat with the anticipation of learning there.

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HONEY MORE EFFECTIVE THAN OVER THE COUNTER MEDICINES…

Image: Alexander Mils

The following extract concerning the increased use of antibiotics for the treatment of colds and associated ailments is from the magazine Positive News.

Honey could offer more effective treatment for some respiratory infections than prescription medicines, according to a study

The pharmaceutical industry has developed a host of treatments for sore throats, blocked noses and coughs, but a study suggests snuffling patients could get more relief from honey than antibiotics and over-the-counter medicines.

Physicians from Oxford University’s Medical School and Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences analysed existing data to evaluate the effectiveness of honey in treating illnesses that affect the nose, sinuses, pharynx or larynx.

Such maladies are referred to as upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs), and include laryngitis and tonsillitis, as well as common colds.

Words by
Gavin Haines
The full article can be read at Honey more effective

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GRATITUDE FOR THE PLANTS

The more I work with the plants, the more I become eternally grateful for what they give to us. They have an uncanny knack of being in exactly the right place and the right time when you need them. It’s hardly surprising that the Cherokee’s have this Creation belief:

“Each tree, shrub and herb, down even to the grasses, agreed to furnish a remedy for some one of the diseases named, and each said: “I shall appear to help man when he calls upon me in his need”.”

This could not be more true. As I get older, and hopefully a little wiser, I am learning to trust the plants implicitly. The depth of healing they can bring to a patient is often phenomenal and I am often full of awe. As I am becoming, in Stephen Buhner’s words “vegetalista” they appear, as if summoned on a whisper or a prayer in our lives, quietly but insistently making themselves obvious in subtle yet insistent silence.

It’s hard to explain this, certainly scientifically, without sounding bonkers. I spend a huge amount of time reading and researching, and yet I find that it is meditation that provides the clarity. When the plants present themselves they sometimes surprise me. I’ll say “Oh, it’s you!” and on reflection “Oh of course!!” as I realise the why.

Recently the forgotten herbs have started to make their presence felt. Humble weeds and meadow plants whose use has been lost to the passage of time. With climate change and overcrowding diseases are changing. My research area is Lyme disease. The tick bourne bacteria Borrelia, Bartonella, Babesia, Rickettsia, Erlichia, the viruses and molds. As the number of people infected becomes clearer, now that there is more ‘official’ recognition (a NICE pathway and 11 WHO medical categories for it), the plants appear too. A new John Hopkins lab study demonstrates the bactericidal power in vitro of Cryptolepis, black walnut, Japanese knotweed and co., herbs that Stephen Buhner and Julie McIntyre have been working with in over a decade of pioneering work with Lyme. The experience and trust coming before the laboratory proof provides vindication.

So Marsh Woundwort who found me four years ago is, I find, the closest thing I’ve known to an ‘anti-anaphylactic’ herb, quick acting and powerful in allergies and flares. In cases of Lyme and lupus flares and in chronic gut reactions I have watched her calm skin, gut, kidneys and tissues.

Now Mouse-Ear Hawkweed is calling. Before WWII he was a specific for brucellosis. A disease that mainly cattle had, that could be transmitted to humans, caused by the Brucella bacteria. Well it turns out now that Brucella and Bartonella are siblings on the tree of life. Well who’d have thought?

In Scotland, Japanese knotweed is an invasive species with a ‘bad boy’ reputation. A lot of resource goes into spraying poisons to kill it. Yet if people would take the time to dig it and dry it, I would buy every single rhizome. It is a herb par excellence for Lyme, killing Borrelia and alleviating the crippling joint pain that goes with it.

This morning, as I write, the sun is gently coming up on a new day. The meadow outside my window is in full bloom with hogweed, loosestrife, dock, nettle – a jumble of plants each one with a gift. As the countryside around me is slowly concreted over in the name of development, I watch their habitat disappear. And yet it is the weeds, determined to keep popping up – whatever obstacles we humans unthinkingly place in their path – that offer us healing now. And I am humbly grateful for their presence in our lives.

I recently read one of Stephen Harris Buhner’s essays and would like to include this quote that resonated:

“Plants are also highly responsive to the needs of their community. As I go into in depth in my book The Lost Language of Plants they sense when any member of their ecosystem is ill and begin producing the needed compounds. If other plants are ill, they send those compounds through mycelial networks to reach the plants who need them. If it is any of the multitude of animals in the region, they send out chemical cues through their stomata, letting those animals (who are far more attuned to their body wisdom than we are) know the location of the medicines they need.”

The full essay can be read at https://www.stephenharrodbuhner.com/articles/

I recently read one of Stephen Harris Buhner’s essays and would like to include this quote that resonated:

“Plants are also highly responsive to the needs of their community. As I go into in depth in my book The Lost Language of Plants they sense when any member of their ecosystem is ill and begin producing the needed compounds. If other plants are ill, they send those compounds through mycelial networks to reach the plants who need them. If it is any of the multitude of animals in the region, they send out chemical cues through their stomata, letting those animals (who are far more attuned to their body wisdom than we are) know the location of the medicines they need.”

The full essay can be read at https://www.stephenharrodbuhner.com/articles/

HOW WE CAN HELP A DYING ANIMAL

Dear Friends,
Many of us have pets, work with animals and care about their end of life. We asked the following two questions:

1. How can we help a dying animal?
2. How can we help an animal that has died?

These two questions have been answered by Ringu Tulku, and Lama Tenkyab from Mindrolling monastery:

Ringu Tulku’s response:
« Generally there’s nothing separate, you don’t need to make any separation or any difference for what you do when you do when a human being dies or an animal dies from a Buddhist point of view.
So you can do anything or everything you do for a human being.
Also you can recite the names of Buddhas. Recite any mantras like Amitabha, vajrasattva, Chenrezig, Tara.
All these kind of mantras you can say.
You can also give blessed medicine to the animal before it dies or whatever you can do. »

Lama Tenkyab’s response :
« I think there’s no difference when you do puja for dog, creature, animal even the human being. These are all the same. There’s no particular practice/prayer for the dog, creature, animal, insect.
When you do prayers it’s the same for every being.
Even a small insect has consciousness,there’s no difference, only the body. Some have big bodies, some have small bodies.
Otherwise all creatures, animals, everyone needs happiness, nobody wants to suffer
There’s no particular prayer/puja for dog, creature, small insect, human being as everyone has Buddha nature. That’s what I’m thinking:-) (chuckles).»

Khenpo Rangdol’s response:
“The first question is: How can we help a dying animal.
If you know some prayers like Chenrezig, Tara, Amitabha etc you can chant these.
If you don’t know these prayers then you can just make wishes.
You can make lots of wishes like, ‘May this animal die very peacefully, without having big problems, and big difficulties.’
So making wishing prayers is very important.
If you are a Buddhist devotee you can put a little bit of these precious, blessed pills in the animal’s mouth to connect with the dharma. This is because the animal doesn’t know anything about the dharma. Wish for them to have a good rebirth in the next life as a human being or other being.
Make lots of prayers for this and share, and care, and love this dying animal.

The second question is, how to help an animal once it has died.
OK, and what practice do we do? So when the animal has already died, it’s good to recite the prayer ‘The King of Prayers’, an aspiration prayer which is one of the most powerful texts. Not only this prayer, but also Buddha Amitabha’s Pureland, Chenrezig prayers etc.
There are a number of wishing prayers as well as your own.
It would be good to offer some butter lamps, either in front of the dead animal, or at your home. Also anywhere, it doesn’t matter.
If you have some good connections with monks and nuns you can request them to say prayers for your lovely dead animal. That would be very useful.
At the same time you can make your own wishing prayers, offer butterlamps (tea lights/candles).
This is a practice that can be done.”

First published in Living and Dying in Peace.

See The Question of Euthanasia in Animals.

Black Friday

When you realize it’s black Friday

You are at home doing homework and your pencil snaps so you go to sharpen it but your electric sharpener is broken and  the next day is BLACK FRIDAY!!!!waiting and watching the commercials  and for once excited for the violence to start.Checking the clock every 5 minutes and you purposely get there a day early so you don’t miss a chance to fill your garage with products you won’t even use, but why not miss the chance of super cheap items.At Costco in the dark by the door with lots of people in line behind you just trying to get a flat inch TV for half the price .BOOM!!!! You check your watch and it’s 7:00  the time that costco opens and  you are  soooo close you can almost feel it and later when you are so close to a new samsung printer, but the women next to you  rolls over your foot with a shopping cart and you drop to the floor.You see a light  and you realize it’s the end but you gain enough courage to get back up and grab the last TV.Then you go get the bag of tomatoes and then get a new pair  of socks,water bottles and a new bed frame,but the time you get to the cash you pay the $50 but the cashier does not give you you change .Your are trying to rush out of there because you promised  yourself  to get to sephora by  8:00.Finally you say KEEP THE CHANGE so you get to sephora and go home.Your sitting on the couch just before bed and  you can’t stop obsessing over the new bed sheets you got for $5.You know your gonna have to wait another 365 days till next black Friday but it’s worth it.

Written when Mia Evans was 11

Interested in art, music, math, writing, science and environmental issues. Mia also loves playing on her ice hockey team and aspires to one day be a doctor.  Attends school in Toronto.  This was the result of a school project.

The Buddha and the Scientist

The physical reality is changing constantly every moment.  This is what the Buddha realized by examining himself.  With his strongly concentrated mind, he penetrated deeply into his own nature and found that the entire material structure is composed of minute subatomic particles which are continuously arising and vanishing.  In the snapping of a finger or the blinking of an eye, he said, each one of these particles arises and passes away many trillions of times.

“Unbelievable,” anyone will think who observes only the apparent reality of the body, which seems so solid, so permanent.  I used to suppose that the phrase “many trillions of times” might be an idiomatic expression not t be taken literally.  However, modern science has confirmed this statement.

Several years ago, an American scientist received the Nobel Prize in physics.  For a long time he had studied and conducted experiments to learn about the subatomic particles of which the physical universe is composed.  It was already known that these particles arise and pass away with great rapidity, over and over again.  Now this scientist decided to develop an instrument that would be able to count how many times a particle arises and passes away in one second.  He very rightly called the instrument that he invented a bubble chamber, and he found that in one second a sub-atomic particle arises and vanishes 10 to the power of 22 times.

The truth that this scientist discovered is the same as that which the Buddha found, but what a great difference between  them!  Some of my American students who had taken courses in India later returned to their country, and they visited this scientist.  They reported tome that despite the fact that he has discovered this reality, he is still an ordinary person with the usual stock of misery that all ordinary people have!  He is not totally liberated from suffering.

No, that scientist has not become an enlightened person, not been freed from all suffering, because he has not experienced truth directly.  What he has learned is still only intellectual wisdom.  He believes this truth because he has faith in the instrument which he has invented, but he has not experienced the truth for himself.

I have nothing against this man nor against modern science.  However, one must not be a scientist only of the world outside.  Like the Buddha, one should also be a scientist of the world within, in order to experience truth directly.  Personal realization of truth will automatically change the habit pattern of the mind so that one starts to live according to the truth.  Every action becomes directed toward one’s own good and the good of others.  If this inner experience is missing, science is liable to be misused for destructive ends.  But if we become scientists of the reality within, we shall make proper use of science for the happiness of all.

From Vipassana Meditation by William Hart, (HarperSanFrancisco. 1987.)  Narrated by SN Goenka