THE TRANSFORMATION OF THINGS

Zhuangzi Dreaming of a Butterfly by Lu Zhi (1496–1576), Ming dynasty, mid-16th century Ink on silk, 29.4 x 51.4 cm

THE TRANSFORMATION OF THINGS

by

Jamie Dedes

A Man sleeping … yes!

A Butterfly flitting… yes!

Zhuangzi, dreamer of Butterfly,

ponders what joy there might be

in that tiny Butterfly brain, so small

too small to be perceived by I or eye

Is it dreaming me? he asks

Or, am I dreaming it?

Imagine the Universe engaged,

he thinks to himself, inside that flutter

– thunder, a Cosmic Belly Laugh –  Ho! Ho! –

Then Zhuangzi knows: He is silent

flitting from flower to flower in eternal spring

coming and going, going and coming

This is called the Transformation of Things

·

© poem, 2012 Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved

Photograph courtesy of Gemeinfrei, in the U.S. public domain.

BUDDHIST ART: Animals

Video uploaded to YouTube by  

Extremely high quality Thai Buddha Head  from the Ayuthaya period. More finely cast and more artistically sculpted than most of the pieces created during that time. Loss of the earlobes, but otherwise a truly striking piece. The curator of The Buddha Gallery

One of his students asked Buddha, “Are you the messiah?”

“No,” answered Buddha.

“Then are you a healer?”

“No,” Buddha replied.

“Then are you a teacher?” the student asked.

“No,” Buddha replied.

“Then what are you?” The student was frustrated.

“I am awake,” replied the Buddha

BUDDHIST ART and BUDDHA’S LISTS

Video posted to YouTube by The Buddha Gallery.

The Three Refuges: The Buddha, meaning the historical Buddha or anyone who has achieved enlightenment. The Darma, meaning the teachings of Buddha. The Sanga, meaning the community of practicing Buddhists.

The Four Noble Truths: Suffering, all living beings know suffering. The Cause of Suffering, attachment. Release from Suffering, is possible through he release of attachment. The Path Leading to the End of Suffering (Nirvana), the Noble Eightfold Path.

For more detailed information on the Buddha lists see the Barbara Stone’s The List of Buddha Lists and Wikipedia’sBuddha’s Lists.

May all sentient beings find peace.

UPDATE: Buddhist Global Relief

Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi, American Buddhist Monk, Theravada Tradition

Founder and Chairperson

Buddhist Global Relief

Photo ~ Ken and Visakha Kawasaki under Creative Commons Atribution-Share Alike 3.0 Uported License via Wikipedia

This is just in from the Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi. J.D.

·

BGR Logo
let the lotus
of compassion
enfold the world

Buddhist Global Relief came into being in June 2008, born of the conviction that Buddhists should play a more active role in helping our unseen brothers and sisters around the world emerge from the crushing weight of poverty and social neglect. Inspired by the Buddha’s great compassion, we chose chronic hunger and malnutrition as our special focus. Our programs are intended to help people escape this brutal trap by promoting more sustainable methods of food production and more equitable systems of food distribution. We also sponsor the education of poor children, especially girls, and right livelihood opportunities for poor women, enabling them to earn more to feed their families.

In only three years, we’ve already launched over twenty-five projects in Asia, Africa, Haiti, and the U.S. The most recent include:

  • regular nutritious meals for hungry children in Port-au-Prince, Haiti
  • wells to provide water for poor families in Cambodia
  • training in employable skills for indigent girls in Sri Lanka
  • educational assistance for slum children in Nagpur, India
  • training farmers from Malawi in ecologically sustainable agriculture
  • a community garden and orchard to produce nutritious organic vegetables and herbs in Mqatsheni, South Africa
  • a greenhouse to grow produce for the poor in the Maryland-Pennsylvania region of the U.S.

Today BGR is playing a major role in representing Buddhism on the stage of global giving. Last year, we were even invited to participate in conferences on collaboration in poverty alleviation at the White House and the National Cathedral. These led to several partnerships with Oxfam America on projects in Cambodia and Vietnam. Recently Tricyleand Buddhadharma, two major American Buddhist journals, featured articles about BGR (please see Tricycle’s Feeding the world’s hungry and Buddhadharma’s Buddhist Global Relief articles). We want this Buddhist presence to flourish, visibly representing the compassionate spirit of the Dharma in ways made urgent by the terrible persistence of poverty and malnutrition.

We’re doing our utmost to turn back this tide, but we can’t achieve our goals without help from friends who share our ideals and resonate with our values, good-hearted people like you. Your donations are the key to everything we do: to combating hunger and malnutrition, to educating poor children, to helping those who cannot help themselves. And because we’re an all-volunteer organization, we use the funds we receive prudently, with care and discretion, to ensure that over 90% of every dollar goes directly to finance projects.

As we come to the end of 2011 — the time for selfless giving — please bring forth a heart of generosity for the world’s poor and hungry people, who need a helping hand in order to rise up and stand on their feet. Please give generously. When you give, you become a part of our mission, a partner in our endeavor to express compassion in action. Bear in mind that to give is to receive, to experience the joy of offering others the chance to live with dignity and hope.

May all blessings be with you and your family,

Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi signature

Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi
Founder and Chairperson

Buddhist Global Relief is a 501(c) (3) organization. Gifts are deductible to the full extent allowable under IRS regulations. You can either donate online at the BGR website or send a check to:
Buddhist Global Relief
PO Box 1611
Sparta, New Jersey 07871 USA

If your company has a Matching Gift Program, please enclose the necessary forms as well.

BUDDHIST GLOBAL RELIEF: Walk of Compassion

Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi

Found of Buddhist Global Relief

The gift of food is the gift of life. ~ The Buddha

Buddhist Global Relief 2nd Annual Walk to Feed the Hungry

3.5 mile walk • Saturday, September 10, 2011
9:30 a.m. Check-in • 10:00 a.m. Walk • Rain or Shine!
Riverside Park, W. 83rd St. & Riverside Dr., New York, NY
(Please register by September 1st)

-BHANTE BUDDHARAKKHITA: WALK LEADER
-GUEST SPEAKER: MICHAEL ROEHM, BGR Adviser
-FREE VEGETARIAN PICNIC LUNCH AFTER THE EVENT!

Today we can send men into space, but here on earth chronic hunger and malnutrition still cast their shadows over the heads of far too many people, claiming ten million lives a year, more than half of them children. Though we may never know or see these folks, we should recognize that they are human beings just like ourselves, worthy of our deepest concern. Together we can make a difference, and it doesn’t take much to help them live in dignity and hope! All proceeds from the walk will go to support BGR’s global hunger relief programs. MORE

Photo credit ~ Bhikku Bodhi, American Buddhist monk, taken in 2003 by Ken and Visakha Kawasaki licensed under the Creative Commons Attritution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikipedia.

NEW RETREAT CENTER, S.F. Bay Area

This year is our time of greatest opportunity to renovate our new retreat home and to acquire and protect the adjacent 38-acre private nature preserve.  If we can complete the renovation as planned, we will have a retreat center that operates in the same efficient and welcoming manner that beautifully continues the Dharma culture we have at IMC. Just as we do at IMC, the retreat center will offer retreats freely, with no costs to participants. MORE [Gil Fronsdale, Insight Meditation Center (IMC), Redwood City, CA]

We do not represent or speak for the Insight Meditation Center (Vipassanã Buddhism) in Redwood City, California, U.S.A. However, we did want to be sure that our Bay Area friends and readers know about this new retreat center and  that our readers from around the world know they can link anytime and from anywhere to IMC’s audio dharma where they can listen to discourse and classes by some very dear and wise Buddhist teachers.

We are all greatful for the benefits we have received from this sangha and its teachers, especially Gil Fronsdal and M.B.  J.D.

For more about Gil Fronsdale, the Retreat Center, and current plans:

Video posted to YouTube by  .

Link HERE to make a donation.

Photo credit ~ Insight Meditation Center, Redwood City, CA , all rights reserved.

ONE VIEW OF KARMA AND REBIRTH

STEPHEN BATCHELOR (b. 1953), Buddhist teacher, author, scholar

Author of Buddhism Without Beliefs

Stephen Batchelor is a contemporary Buddhist teacher and writer, best known for his secular or agnostic approach to Buddhism.  Stephen considers Buddhism to be a constantly evolving culture of awakening rather than a religious system based on immutable dogmas and beliefs.  In particular, he regards the doctrines of karma and rebirth to be features of ancient Indian civilisation and not intrinsic to what the Buddha taught.  Buddhism has survived for the past 2,500 years because of its capacity to reinvent itself in accord with the needs of the different Asian societies with which it has creatively interacted throughout its history.  As Buddhism encounters modernity, it enters a vital new phase of its development.  Through his writings, translations and teaching, Stephen engages in a critical exploration of Buddhism’s role in the modern world, which has earned him both condemnation as a heretic and praise as a reformer. MORE [About Stephen Batchelor from his website]

In this video, Stephen Batchelor presents his view of Karma and Rebirth and the reasoning that supports his perspective.

Video posted to YouTube by .

BUDDHIST GOBAL RELIEF

Bhikkhu Bodhi (b. 1944)

Born and raised in New York City, Bhikkhu Bodhi lived as a monk in Sri Lanka for almost twenty-four years, eighteen of them as the editor for the Buddhist Publication Society in Kandy. He now lives at Chuang Yen Monasterynear Carmel, New York. Ven. Bodhi has many important publications to his credit, either as author, translator, or editor, including The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha (Majjhima Nikaya, 1995) and The Connected Discourses of the Buddha (Samyutta Nikaya, 2000). A full translation of the Anguttara Nikaya is nearing completion. In 2008 he founded Buddhist Global Relief, which provides relief from poverty and hunger among impoverished communities worldwide. He was recently appointed to serve on a global task force charged with preparing a framework on interfaith collaboration on poverty alleviation, health, and development.

BUDDHIST GLOBAL RELIEF

by

Jamie Dedes

I was fortunate recently to attend a daylong program exploring traditional and contemporary approaches to Socially Applied Buddhism. The program was lead by Bhikkhu Bodhi, founder of Buddhist Global Relief (BGR), an inter-denominational organization of Buddhists and friends of Buddhism. I like what this organization is doing. My appreciation is not just for the social issues it addresses, which are dear to my heart, but for the way it is implementing its program.

BGR limits its administrative costs. Everyone who works for BGR does so as a volunteer. BGR efficiently partners with international, regional, and religious organizations. Funding and services are not dependent on Buddhist affiliation and BGR does not proselytize. (I have yet to see a Buddhist organization that does.) All religions are respected. Those efforts and organizations that receive funding from BGR are fully vetted to ensure that BGR funds directly serve the people for whom they are intended.

Almost daily I am awed by the enormity of the suffering that assails human beings on every continent, and even more by the hard truth that so much of this suffering springs not from the vicissitudes of impersonal nature but from the fires of greed, hatred, and delusion raging in the human heart. Challenge to Buddhists by Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi

BGR has funded sustainable and emergency food programs and education programs in venues throughout the world including: Afganistan and Pakistan, South Africa, Cambodia, and Vietnam. It is also working here at home, a first world country with shamefully growing hunger issues. BGR’s first and current project here in the States is Garden Harvest‘s Adopt-a-Plot Program,which seeks to find the means to provided our over-stressed emergency food agencies with a way to ensure a reliable supply of quality food. Currently that pilot project is being implemented in Maryland and Pennsylvania. The hope is that it will prove effective and provide a model to be implemented around the country.

If you are looking for an organization to which you might make a donation that will really go to work, I recommend this one as worthy of consideration. Buddhist Global Relief is a 501 (c) (3) organizations and gifts are deductible to the extent allowable in the U.S. under IRS legislation.

Sacred Lotus