A Buddhist Peacemaker
Born in Vietnam in 1926, Thich Nhat Hanh has been a peacemaker since his ordination as a Buddhist monk at the age of 16. During the Vietnam War, he helped villagers who were suffering as a result of bombing. He opposed his government’s policies and as a consequence was exiled from his country. He later settled in France. He is a pioneer of Engaged Buddhism, which argues that if Buddhists are to achieve true inner peace, they must work on changing the structures of society that influence people’s mental states and behaviour. Inner and outer change go hand in hand.
Thich Nhat Hanh has combined traditional meditative practices with non-violent protest, emphasising how meditation can help to dissolve anger, which is a primary cause of conflict. On one occasion, he was organising the rescue of hundreds of Vietnamese refugees using boats from Singapore. When the police found out his plan they ordered him out of the country and did not permit the boats to leave.

He wrote, ‘What could we do in such a situation? We had to breathe deeply and consciously. Otherwise we might panic, or fight with the police, or do something to express our anger at their lack of humanity.’

Source: Religion, Philosophy and Ethics at Haberdashers’ Abraham Darby


Dr Kai Syng Tan is an artist,  curator, researcher, and consultant who lectures at Manchester Metropolitan University.  She is known for her interdisciplinary/intercultural approach to making interventions in the world around her.

She was diagnosed with ADHD in 2015 and since then has become an advocate for the notion of neurodiversity.

She initiated a major arts/science collaboration to explore ‘mind wandering’
and co-founded the Neurodiversity in/And Creative Research Network.

Jane Clark talked to her in Manchester via Zoom.

Click here for the article.



October 12th 2021 , 4.30ish pm

Dusk, a tub full of freshly picked Autumn raspberries, a warm moody sky, and you appear out of nowhere!

You must have jumped the 8’ high fence, as there you are, to the left of me, the fence on my right, on the top path. Our eyes meet; I am transfixed. I do not want to miss a moment.

You break the stare first; on a mission, you are distracted by something stirring amongst the sage bushes; the sideways movement of your head is almost comical, like a cat at play…perhaps you are playing?

I stand stock still; you respond by feeling at ease, sniff the air, and search amongst the foliage for morsels to eat. You descend into the patch of Chioggia beetroot. Now I can see the full length of your body, your majestic bottle-brush tail balancing your every move.

I know where you are going, and feel pleased that today I have facilitated this feast for you. A newly uncovered patch of compost, from my compost bin, succulent with worms, is your draw. You head that way, as I expect. I dare to turn my body to look, and catch a glimpse of you busying yourself digging down into the rich dark treasure.

November 19th 2021

I have come up here especially to see you! An unfavourable day in the biodynamic calendar, and with no urgency to pick any vegetables, I know I can give you my full purpose…I just want to see you!

It is an auspicious day, a full moon, with a partial eclipse in the Southern Hemisphere; warm, still with no wind, with a temperature of 13 degrees and a cloud streaked sky. It’s about 4.30pm.

I scan the field, but, do you know, you always surprise me? I don’t think I would have caught sight of you had you not moved swiftly through the dead grass (which, by the way, is the same colour as your coat in the fading light)

You do that thing of bounding across the plot, and then turning to give me that full-faced, orange and white stare of yours. There is a gauze fence between us, and we hold each other’s gaze for a few precious minutes. This time, I break the ‘fixed look’, but not before I whisper a few loving words your way, so I hope you catch my drift. I want to let you go, so that you can continue to forage.

Maybe, next time, I’ll have the courage to sing to you?

I’ll have to find a suitable fox-themed song … one that does not involve hunters and hounds!

December 31st 2021, 4pm

My yearning for you never ceases.

I always arrive here, up at the allotment, hopeful that I will see you, or, at least, see evidence of your presence. Two days ago your footprints on bare soil betrayed your existence; this week a fellow allotmenteer saw you early morning!

I know that winter must be a tough time for you, food may be scarce, but who am I to say this? Rats and pigeons are plentiful; worms are driven to the surface by this incessant rain! Perhaps I am wrong to assume that you are struggling? It is unseasonably warm too, at 14 degrees! We have not got the harsh winters of yesteryear, although that may be still to come.

I am heartened by the fact that you are still around, that you can manage to cross busy roads and survive the rigours of this crowded modern life. It is such a joy to be able to write about you.

It is dusk. I am sharing my intentions with friends, and explaining my resolve on this providential Eve. We exchange salutations, best wishes and hopes, building excitement by the promise of a New Year, happy to leave behind the shocking sadness of events from the past.

The pink sky throws a giant counterpane over the vast field, tucking it in, and keeping it safe for tomorrow and a New Year. I turn to lock my shed, and notice that the old boots placed by my hut, next to the Japonica, are no longer a pair! One wizened woody rosemary branch, which I quirkily place inside a boot, has been playfully tossed aside!

One boot remains visible; where is the other? For me, this is the sign I have been waiting for! ‘Foxy’! You have been doing what foxes do!!

You have (I imagine) picked up the gnarled and twisted stick, played with it, and then discarded it, in favour of the sumptuous leather-smelling boot. You then have carried or dragged it (is quite heavy, especially when wet) to another part of my plot!

I declare my excited response to Sam, and he is immediately drawn into the search for the missing boot. Sam finds something, and says, “Is this what you are looking for?” There it is! … discarded, on what I determine is a regular foxy route through my Autumn fruiting raspberry patch.


I’m glad you feel safe here, to have fun and to play, that you follow your natural inquisitiveness and sniff out interesting objects that take your fancy, in this small space of mine. It makes me smile and gives me both thrill and comfort to know that you are still here.

Now, my year is complete.

Ianthe Pickles
Lives in Liverpool
Worked for 37 years as a full-time Primary and later Secondary/Special School teacher and college tutor.
“Writing (especially poetry) was often a release during emotional and turbulent times in the 1980s working in an area of severe deprivation and unemployment in Liverpool. 
When life gets out of control, writing can often help it make sense.”




Julian Grype, Co-Director: Management

We’re sitting in a little room at the end of a row of units used as accommodation for the volunteers and residents of New Life Thailand. This room is commonly used for counselling, life-coaching and therapy. Julien sits across the table looking calm despite his busy schedule as a meditation teacher and co-director of New Life.

The centre is near Chiang Rai, a busy city in the north of Thailand.  New Life is a project which provides a recovery programme for people who are suffering problems related to substance abuse and addiction, relationship issues and stress. Accommodation is available to people from all walks of life and from many different countries. There is a truly international feel to the place. Julien is from Belgium and the accountant, Rika, is Japanese.



Rika the accountant

Julien says, There are fifty-six rooms, some of which are double.  Two to four people can sleep in a double room.  

Six of these rooms are double rooms and the other fifty are single.  He explains that the centre is going to continue expanding by building smaller rooms which will be in the forest to afford more privacy to those who want it…for solitary meditation practice.

In the beginning there were mainly addiction problems, Julien tells me.  Mostly drugs, secondly alcohol, sometimes maybe sex on the internet; but as we moved along, more and more people came for depression issues, burn-out issues, anxiety, anger-management issues, and now in the last month we see more and more people who are into drink or drugs.  They’re not really addicts.  They’re not really depressed either.  They just feel that their life isn’t going anywhere.  Maybe they’re not happy anymore; maybe they’re burned out; maybe not satisfied with low self-esteem; maybe what they’re doing is not working for them and they want a solution to their problems.

Julien thinks that the application of some of the Buddhist values may be able to help certain people introducing some of the tools that they use to work on themselves.  He says that in the last month more people came simply for self-improvement.

There are nine staff members on the team including a cook, four people doing life-coaching and various auxiliary staff such as gardeners.  Julien says, Four people run the programme and I do more of the management and financial issues, construction and the gardening:  Kruu Kade, she does more of the programme.  She’s the Programme Director.  Thomas and Sabrina do life-coaching.  We don’t really have a business plan: it just kind of grew organically.

Julien is adamant that the process of running the centre is brought about by everybody contributing to the development of the centre.  Everybody has a say, he insists.

Kruu Kade. Programme Director

Everyone who works here has had their part of suffering: me, I was an addict for a long time.  Julien mentions several other people who have come with problems.  The traditional treatment options did not work, he says, and we found a way out of our suffering through mindfulness practice, each in our own way. I was a monk for a long time…the monastery where I lived was a working monastery…just to provide fruit for the community, construction, building homes for monks, social work as well.  I learnt through that.  The Founder of the project, Johan Hansen, is a businessman completely convinced that mindfulness, which he experienced in Thamkrabok Monastery, would be a very useful healing tool and he wants to offer this to people all over the world.  He has projects all over the world so he travels most of the time, Julien says.

Tom Van Den Beemd.  Life Coach

The viability of the centre has to do with certain choices that have to be made.  For all the people who work here it’s important to keep this programme as affordable as possible.  In the beginning we wanted to keep it free – to give everybody a chance to come here because lots of people…don’t have that many resources.  So, if you really want to keep the fee low like it is now, then you have to rely on donations and on the generosity of the people who believe in our project.  So that’s what we do now. Part of our income comes from the fees that we charge the volunteers, the guests and the residents: a part of it comes from donations. Julien says he uses mindfulness in everything he does and that after doing different kinds of rehabs he found that they didn’t work at all and that mindfulness had a transformational power and strength to deal with the destructive habits that had formed.  He goes on to say that mindfulness gave him the capacity not to be clogged up in our thoughts, in our feelings, not let ourselves be like a slave by desires and our cravings.  He found that mindfulness was a powerful tool and that sitting meditation didn’t suit everybody, that different methods like tai chi were more suitable for certain types of people.

Sabrina Zimmerman. Life Coach


A large part of the centre’s income goes to buy food for the people:  but Julien hopes that there will be some development in agriculture to the extent that they will be able to feed themselves in the future and save money.  At the moment the centre has been breaking even since the beginning of the year.

Around the centre, one can hear Julien conversing in fluent Thai, either speaking to people or on the phone.  He says that working in the kitchen for the monks and nuns at Thamkrabok Monastery helped him to pick up the language, working with Thai women who didn’t speak any English, allowing him informally to learn to read and write Thai script.

When asked where he sees himself in the future, Julien says, I love this place; 

I love this place so much.  Every morning I wake up and I walk up here at 5.30, how do I feel? – I feel like the happiest man in the world, just to be able to walk to this foundation and work here…I see people change, I see people grow.  I don’t have any other projects planned.  I can see myself helping someone out, so I can see myself staying here.  Right now, I’m so happy here.

As a guest, I was able to observe that everyone at the centre is kind and understanding towards each other.  There is a certain loving ambience that is quite catching.  I leave the centre with fond memories of the staff, the green fields, the wildlife, the ecologically mindful way in which this young project has taken root over the past two-years, and especially the restful period afforded the traveller looking for a place to find security and understanding.

The Meditation Hall.

Location: Rai, Phu Sang, Phayao 56110, Thailand

Labels: Chang Rai Julien Grype Kruu Kade New Life New LifeThailand Sabrina Zimmerman Thailand Tom Van Den Beemd





Bodhicharya Caribbean

About the local monk

My photo

Rinchen came to the Caribbean from England when he was 22 and lived in the Leewards during the ’70s and ’80s working in the islands – and living the life of a lay Buddhist. At the end of the ’80s he went to a zen monastery to train as a monk and teacher and was asked to start up a temple in Scotland in 1998. He returned to the West Indies to teach in 2002 and in 2009 in Bodhgaya was very fortunate to join Rinpoche’s lineage becoming one of his monks. He is currently back in the Caribbean teaching in Trinidad and Tobago as well as Antigua and Montserrat.

A Musical Ramble

Music has been always been important in my life. One of my earliest memories is, as a child, hearing Johnnie Rae singing “Cry”. The lyrics meant nothing but the melody stuck in my head. I would sing along with it but a three-year-old trying to copy the song must have looked and sounded a bit odd.

This would be around 1951, before the advent of pop music as we know it and long before “Rock”. Later, aged about seven, I listened avidly to Radio Luxemburg on 208 meters, medium wave as it was the only station at that time that played “Pop”

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Tribute to Jack Niland with Love

Danza Duende Network

This is how I remember my meeting with Jack Niland.

The whole story is a fairy tail and as such, it took place in quite difficult circumstances for both of us. But first we need to roll up in time, because the story starts in 1977.

I was 16 years old and I was living in the streets of Paris. Not exactly sleeping in the streets because with my crazy and violent boyfriend, we were “buskers”, singing, dancing and playing guitar in the metro for our livelihood. We made each day just enough to pay for a cheap hotel room and for food. I used to be a professional dancer before that when I was 13 years old in a Russian dance company; but at some point, I left home with that bad guy much older than me.

One day, in our aimless wandering around the streets of Paris, I bought a book among many different pocket editions in promotion for only 1 franc on the table of a book shop. That choice changed my life forever: It was Cutting through spiritual materialism by Chogyam Trungpa.

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The Practical Buddhist: Coming Home

Summer Days on the Allotment

Photo: Yeshe Dorje

“…Just had one of those cuppa teas I didn’t want to end!”… A past statement by a friend echoed in my mind as I quenched my thirst. The temperature has gone up by ten degrees since seven o’clock this morning. Every movement seems an effort, it’s hot, it’s humid, it’s June. I’ve seen three butterflies, a comma, a large (or small) cabbage white and a Red Admiral (or was it a Peacock… too fleeting, too sweltry, for a second opinion?). The second cup of tea is waiting for me as I write this. This humidity brings on an unquenchable thirst. I’m sitting in the shade of a climbing Solanum, busy with bumblebees; the grass below strewn with purple petals. The white clover in the grass path smells divine; the pigeons seem to pick about amongst it, but I’m not sure what they are actually eating!

It’s the sort of weather which makes your skin itch…sweat, insects, pollen, pollution, who could put a finger on it? It’s a sign of ‘good growing weather’ anyway, when the soil yields its softer, tenderer growth. The rogue, self-seeded opium poppies, some pale mauve, some red, seem to flourish in this heat; the rosemary appears to have grown another four inches in as many days. The aroma of the crushed, spiky leaves lessens the weight of this sickly sultriness.

The pond irises, purple, and yellow flag are setting seed; foxgloves are swaying elegantly, in a timeless way, amongst the foliage. Sweet peas are heady with their enticing scent, and the “Special Anniversary” dark pink rose has over fifteen buds of burgeoning promised glory. Mostly, in my days here, on the allotment, I’ve learnt that, to view the whole experience of growing flowers, fruit and vegetables, you have to open up all your senses to get the optimum benefit of being here. It is not enough, for me, to merely sow seeds and reap the harvest. As a gardener, you have to be aware of a multiplicity of rewards, to be sure of overriding any ‘failures’. If you can imagine each activity as a kind of ‘sensory immersion’, the positives outweigh the negatives.

This late afternoon, I am going to uncover and pick the red and white currants. It will take some time. How is it that the berries remain cool and clammy as you pick them when the ambient temperature is so much higher? I am in fruit heaven; the white currants are showing their peachy coloured seeds through translucent skin, and the strings of most exquisite pearly red currants outshine any jewels. As well as being time-consuming and back breaking, this job is not without its anxieties. What if I accidentally knocked the bowls of berries into the bare soil? I have to put that thought right out of my mind! There are countless endorsements for this activity and I can be creative in preventing these problems. As I unfold the ‘kneeling stool’, a dear friend has given me, and securely nestle the bowls, where they can’t spill their contents, I confidently focus on the task in hand and the bowls soon begin to fill. Time passes, my own thoughts and surrounding sensory delights keeping me company.

Above me in the pear tree, a blackbird warbles its celebratory song. There is a degree of symbiosis here; surely he will pick up some tasty morsels after I have finished here, this evening? He is keeping me entertained during my endeavours and reassuring me that I have a rich diversity of life all around me, here, in my special place of buzzard skies. I glance up at the other fruit trees, the welcome shade now advancing. The pigeons have already eaten most of my magnificent Morello cherries, even before they are ripe! I have to cover my broccoli and peas against these birds. ‘Foxy’ is not doing his job fast enough!

What was I saying?…

Now, late evening, a rattle of at least ten magpies begins, a warning exchange, back and forth, from one side of the allotment field to the other, a predatory mammal is on the prowl. Is it the short-haired Oriental cat from the neighbouring road, or …?

The magpie commotion increases, they rattle, squawk and high-pitched squeal, flying up and grouping together and perching on fences and trees, as  birds begin ‘mobbing’ an area across the field towards Jack’s plot. I see the tail end of a fox disappear into some bushes. Excited to get a better glimpse, I rise from my fruit-picking job, and get on to the grassy verge. I turn a corner onto the big main path and scan the length of its possible route…nothing… but then… an almighty pandemonium takes me by surprise! Coming from the opposite direction, this time, now, nearer my plot, magpies beginning again, squawking, and squealing, fussing and minding something else’s business, but this time more urgent, building, crying, yawping, more intensely and with a climax to a persistent screech! I shudder, but not from cold, you understand?

Not wanting to find a bloodied corpse, I wait. I give sufficient time for a predator to retreat and escape. A fleeting moment, and I look across towards Rob’s plot and see that splendid, perfect, picture-book, white and orange face, alert, head erect, eyes directed towards me from inside the fruit cage…Wow! Such beauty, such power, such horror! Murder…taking place within metres of my space…such mixed feelings… Earlier, having tried, hopelessly, to free a pigeon from its enclosed food paradise, by leaving the door open, and now, minutes later after being sidetracked from my job, I venture towards the pen, finding nothing but a flurry of feathers.  I had done my best, but how do you entice a wild bird away from its free pickings? I had left a branch of red currants outside the cage, so that it might ‘just walk out’, but why would the bird have cause to leave a bountiful cage full of fruit? Oh, dear!

I want to share this experience … sadness, guilt, acceptance, the sheer drama of it all… with a fellow gardener, but now, at after nine o’clock at night, I am here alone. Closing the door of the fruit cage, I return to my plot, finishing my task and packing up my things, ready to go home, recent events raw and alive in my brain, jostling for recognition. How do you wind down for the evening after such consternation? Senses alert, adrenaline pumping and craving a friend’s comforting voice, I resign myself to ‘just dealing with it’… it is the way of Nature, after all!

As I leave, carrying my two large bowls of red and white hard-earned treasure, I glance down between the compost bin and the runner beans. There, angelic, magical and defiant, sits a jaunty collection of grey-brown bonneted toadstools, cosy in their company.

Ianthe Pickles
Lives in Liverpool
Worked for 37 years as a full-time Primary and later Secondary/Special School teacher and college tutor.
“Writing (especially poetry) was often a release during emotional and turbulent times in the 1980s working in an area of severe deprivation and unemployment in Liverpool. 
When life gets out of control, writing can often help it make sense.”

Mindful Heroes – stories of journeys that changed lives


Mindfulness is well recognised as an effective way to deal with the challenges of modern life. So many people have experienced for themselves the power of allowing things to get better by not making them worse. But hopefully the story doesn’t end there. Might the mindfulness journey also prove to be an expression of a deeper imperative that compels us to search for meaning and purpose?

The book “Mindful Heroes – stories of journeys that changed lives” makes the connection between the Hero’s Journey and the inner journeys of people who study and practice mindfulness. Chapters in the book are based on the post graduate research projects from the MSc in Mindfulness Studies at the University of Aberdeen. The authors set out on the path of mindfulness and went on a journey that would change their world. These 26 men and women from 10 countries creatively applied mindfulness to a variety of settings across Education, Health, Business, Sport, Creative Arts and Community work. Having experienced for themselves the benefits of mindful awareness, compassion and insight, they wanted to share what they had discovered with others. Continue reading

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.” ( 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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A simple carrot soup which most children enjoy.

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

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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