Tea House

Daily Perspectives and Stories on Buddhist Trends

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No Tomorrow

Inspired by the Maranassati Sutta

The moment she was born Gemma knew she was about to die. By all accounts she was unlike any other child: she never got excited about Christmas and she never got upset when she was grounded. In fact her brother tells me she didn’t even bat an eyelid when her parents announced they were getting separated. It seemed Gemma had always just gone along with anything that was thrown her way, in the knowledge that she would only need to endure it for a few moments longer. And in her own way, she had breezed through life.

She had been the opposite to her brother Stuart, an excitable, feisty little boy. It was unfair really. Stuart had always cared, really badly. He cared when he found out there was no such thing as Father Christmas, and he cared when his parents were separated. And above anything else, Stuart cared that Gemma was always about to die.

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Flying Mindfully by Air France

We had been flying to Madrid from Hong Kong with a layover in Paris’s Charles de Gaulle Airport. The purpose of our journey was to attend the conference “1st World Encounter Teresian Mysticism and Interreligious Dialogue: Theravada Buddhism and Teresian Mysticism – Meditation and Contemplation Pathways to Peace,” which was held from 27–30 July at the International Centre of Teresian and Sanjuanist Studies of the University of Mysticism in Avila, Spain.

As with many other airlines, Air France seats have a TV screen attached to the back of all seats, and I was browsing through the program for some in-flight entertainment. Although as a monastic, searching for entertainment might go against my conventional spiritual practice, this habit of searching for movies and songs helped me to relax, apart from meditating.

But this time I was astonished to see a clip that invited us to discover the benefits of mindfulness meditation practice via the mind app program. The program consists of twelve guided mindfulness meditations – six for children and six for adults – with corresponding videos for concentration and serenity onboard long-haul flights.

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Infinite Consort

From Flickr

Nothing will remain
It will be brief
Still I want you inside
The minutes I serve you
In the water mirror
I offer you
Endless Mandalas
Until the meeting of the suns
I touch the unreal
It makes me smile
And sigh
The stream goes by
I weave my fingers into yours
One Last Time
Today I’ll be reminiscing about you
And as the consort of infinity
I shall rise

Master Huijing’s Dharma Words about Benefits in Amitabha-recitation

From Scientific American Blog

The Buddha’s Name contains Amitabha’s great compassion, great vow power, and great meritorious virtues. This Name is alive and active, as it has the Buddha’s eyes, ears, and conscience. So, when we recite his Name, Amitabha Buddha can hear it immediately and, in response, appears to protect us, to clear all our karmic obstructions, and to increase our merits and virtues.

The Story of the Doctor

I’m going to tell a story. It’s a story that has been floating around in my head for years, perhaps decades. I don’t know where it came from. It’s likely I once heard a teacher tell it. Or maybe I read it somewhere. I’m sure I have also embellished it a bit over the years. If anyone recognizes the story, please let me know.

It goes like this. Long ago, in a far-off land, there was a doctor. He was a very skillful doctor. He was able to precisely diagnose the medical problems of everyone who consulted him and to give them prescriptions for medications that were extremely effective in curing them. His fame spread far and wide.

But not everyone who went to see him was cured.

Some people gratefully received their prescriptions, went home and copied them out in their best handwriting on to the most expensive paper. They then pasted them on a wall next to a picture of the doctor. Each morning and evening they would burn incense and bow three times in front of the prescriptions and the picture of the doctor. And whenever they were feeling particularly unwell, they would recite their prescription, sometimes up to one hundred times. But strangely they were never cured. In fact, their sicknesses slowly got worse.

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Identity in “In the Mood for Love” and “2046”

Chow Mo-wan in “In the Mood for Love”

When work on the film 2046 began before 2004, Hong Kong film star Tony Leung lobbied hard for director Wong Kar-wai to let him grow a mustache. This was because his character, Chow Mo-wan, was totally different to how he was in 2046‘s prequel In the Mood for Love: whereas Chow in Mood was a gentlemanly journalist, 2046‘s Chow was an emotionally hollow hack writing erotic tales and obsessed with the room number “2046,” which serves as the recurring motif of memories concerning his neighbor’s wife, Su Li-zhen (Maggie Cheung). Leung simply could not recognize the identity of 2046‘s Chow as the same Chow of Mood. Leung needed some visual distinction that would help him concentrate on acting a character he had played to near-perfection before, but whose script he couldn’t meaningfully read as belonging to the same man.

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Finding yourself and others through art

Jack Massey, Moonlight

“If you could say it in words, there would be no reason to paint,” said the American artist Edward Hopper. Here, Hopper emphasizes the importance of painting as a language. Art has a power to free humankind but who is it freeing? The context of the works not only remains in the audience’s hearts, but also is rooted in human culture and history. Therefore, art has to be about the artist and the world around him—herself or himself and others.

In the Diamond Sutra, the Buddha said to Subhuti: “If, Subhuti, a Bodhisattva holds onto the idea that a self, a person, a living being, a lifespan exists, that person is not an authentic bodhisattva.”

The Buddha teaches us not to dwell on our perception of things, because there is no reality as we might perceive it. When conditions change, the situation will change with it. If an artist holds on to an egotistic mind, he or she cannot break past the barrier of a strong sense of self. Without this wisdom they cannot see that we are the other person and the other person is ourselves.

Jack Massey, lotter

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Who’s Qualified to Teach the Children?

From Master Jingzong Facebook; English translation by Foying, edited by Jingnian

Are we qualified to educate a child, simply because we are adults? Are those who have teachers’ credentials competent enough to teach youngsters? Are more knowledgeable people capable of teaching kids?

Aren’t children more innocent, honest and joyful than we are? Are they not more capable of facing life with a smile?

So what is it we are supposed to impart to them? Knowledge is useful but is it more important than life itself? If there is know-how that degrades life instead of dignifying it, is it appropriate to instill it in our children’s minds?

My understanding of childhood education is that the young should be provided with good care and all the necessaries for living and developing fully. They must be safe and allowed to grow freely in accordance with their dispositions and characteristics.

While appropriately sharing knowledge, we should observe and appreciate our children who often become our teachers in life. By refining these truths with adult rationality, we can all grow in love together.

Milarepa’s Exhibition 2017

From Paola Di Maio

Bodhgaya is a special place of power, in particular when it fills with the energy generated by practices and blessings.

Earlier this year, during the Kalachakra 2017, walking from the hotel to the Kalachakra grounds, a leaflet on a market stall caught my attention.

It advertised an exhibition being held at the Mahayana Hotel, on the road to the main temple, entitled “Milarepa” 1 Jan to 20 Feb 2017, with an entrance fee of 150 rupees.

An exhibition about Jetsun himself, a first of its kind.

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The Middle Way in Love

Guru Rinpoche

The doctrine of the Middle Way (Skt. madhyama-pratipad, Tib. ume lam) is one of the fundamental teachings of Buddhism. According to Theravada Buddhism, the term “Middle Way” is used for the first time in Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta, which is perceived as the first teaching that Buddha Shakyamuni delivered after his awakening. In this text the Buddha explains the Noble Eightfold Path as a middle way of moderation between the extremes.

In Mahayana Buddhism the Middle Way refers to the understanding of the emptiness (Skt. shunyata, Tib. tong pa nyid) that transcends the extremes of existence and non-existence. The Middle Way School of philosophy, known as Madhyamaka, was founded by the 2nd century Buddhist teacher Nagarjuna and represents the idea that all phenomena are empty by nature: at the conventional level, they do exist, but ultimately they are empty of inherent existence.

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