Sunday, November 02, 2008

NEWS & PEACE TO AND FROM MY BUDDHIST FRIENDS FROM KEN & VISAKHA IN SRI LANKA & INDIA

My American Buddhist friends sent me this wonderful and important update on their activities in Burma, Sri Lanka and India. I want to share it with you.

Dear Friends

We haven't written in a long time, except to send updates to donors to various projects. It isn't that there hasn't been material suitable for a new report; lots has happened, but we have been busy tidying up loose ends.

Now that the book is actually being formatted by the publisher, we can turn our attention to other things. We've been cautioned repeatedly that things move slowly in Sri Lanka, but that might be a great understatement. Unfortunately, An Anthology of Jataka Tales of the Buddha won't be launched on the world before early next year. It seems that printers are all busy printing calendars for the new year and can't be bothered with books. To say that businesses here don't hustle is the greatest understatement. Sometimes we have to beg a shop to get something we need and to take our money. Maybe that’s how they hope to stave off the world depression that is looming?

Speaking of economic depressions and recessions causing mental depression, we hope that all friends and acquaintances are keeping their roofs over their heads and those heads above water in these difficult times. We also hope that all American friends, wherever they may find themselves, took the time and trouble to register and vote! Important? You had better believe it. If it goes wrong, we can just kiss our world goodbye. Hyperbole? Not a bit of it. If the election goes the wrong way,there will be a perfect storm of destruction: endless, spiraling wars, economic meltdowns, rising waters, human rights replaced by the might of unmanned drones, an apocalypse of Revelationary proportion This may be our last chance.

If you need to get away, consider Sri Lanka. The third world has a lot to teach us about living simply, eating locally, and getting by. Friends have dubbed it “Sri-hab”, and you’re very welcome to try it. Our house has a guestroom with attached bath. The fishpond is beautiful, with lots of exotic foliage and spider webs (“Mosquito Control”). We have added a kitten (for pest control and kitty therapy!) Her name is Nezumi, which means “gray” in Japanese. (We haven't told her that it also means “mouse”!) Our regular three-wheeler driver Ashoka brought her to us a few weeks ago. She was pretty scrawny, wormy, and covered with fleas, but we have gotten everything under control. The first time Lily and Ashoka took her to the vets (while we were teaching a class in Peradeniya) to find out about vaccinations and spaying, poor Nezumi was intimidated by all the big dogs. We got a carrying basket (Actually, it’s a blue picnic basket, but it works fine.), and the second visit was much calmer. Now she has had all her shots, and they have been recorded in a “Pet Passport.” All her treatment has been free! Living with socialized medicine is a very good thing!

Another day, another project! Years ago in Japan we played a simple board game with our students, with general knowledge questions. For the last three years, we have been toying with the idea of adapting this game for use with our classes of monks and novices both here and in India. A few months ago, we got serious. It’s been a lot of work: developing a prototype, testing it, revising it, testing it again, revising it again, having various bhikkhus certify the information, fine-tuning it, formatting it, and proofreading it countless times. Nevertheless, Buddhist Knowledge Quest is ready to go to the printer.

The printer brings up an interesting story. Back in the ‘80s when we were in Japan, Mr. Ezaki, a priest who was teaching at Seifu and at whose temple we held meetings of Students of the Lotus, and Venerable Sumangala, a Sri Lankan monk studying in Japan, met at one of our meetings and struck up a relationship. Together with several other Jodo priests, they founded the Nippon Educational and Cultural Association. Through this organization, many Japanese sponsored poor Sri Lankan children who had lost one or both parents to continue their education through high school. For several years, we sponsored a pair of twins, Ganga and Ranga. Even after they graduated, we continued correspondence, and we have met them several times since we came to Sri Lanka. They are both married. Ganga has a good position in one of the garment factories in the Special Economic Zone. Ranga's husband, Duminda, has his own printing company. When we first met, he offered to print the case covers and booklet for DVD of Strive On With Diligence. We were so pleased with the work he did that we are happy to send this job his way.

In Buddhist Knowledge Quest players move in a circle around a beautiful Wheel of Life. The questions are grouped into four levels. Level One is basic and easy, but by Level Four, the questions are extremely challenging. We will be marketing the game not only here in Sri Lanka, but worldwide. We expect that it will become popular both with families and with all temple Sunday schools teaching in English. Everyone we have played it with has found it great fun.

Last week, we went to Colombo and renewed our residence visas. We are legal for one more year. We certainly feel happily settled in here in Kandy, but we are distressed at seeing our retirement nest egg shrivel up to next to nothing. Of course, we know that we are not alone in that, and our hearts go out to all who have had to go back to work or to scrimp in order to manage mortgages and to buy medicine.

This week, the Sri Lankan government unpegged the rupee from the dollar, which amounts to a devaluation. In that most of our money is still in dollars, that may be good for us. It should also be good for Sri Lanka’s exports, but it means that all imports, which are considerable, will increase in price, which will send an already high inflation rate even higher. With tourists staying away because of the civil war raging in north, the Sri Lankan economy is in very bad shape. We don't need to have the pool at the Queen’s Hotel all to ourselves all of the time; we like to share!

Now that Halloween is over in the US, Thanksgiving seems but a moment away. Then, it’s Christmas and the end of the year. Already, we are making plans for two intensive courses next year. At the end of January, we will be conducting a ten-day course in Kandy for about fifty monks, mostly Burmese from Colombo. Of course, mid-March to mid-April we will be in Kolkata for the Fourth Annual Buddhist Intensive English Course at Bodhisukha Monastery. Any volunteers to help teach either of these?

Again, we apologize for being out of touch for such a long time! Please write and let us know how you’re doing. We'll be better correspondents after November 4th!

In closing, we would like to invite everyone to join in a ceremony for peace. Bea Castro, a Native-American friend in Michigan, is planning a traditional Pipe Ceremony in accordance with Native-American religious tradition to pray for family, for friends, and for all the peoples of the world. She is also calling for divine intervention in the state of affairs that has gripped the world with fear and apprehension that peace and sanity may be restored to the US and the whole world. The ceremony will begin at 9:00 PM, (EST) Monday, November 3, 2008. Simultaneously, let us all radiate Loving-kindness (Metta) throughout the universe in the ten directions. Loving-kindness can disarm anger and hatred, calm fears, and protect those in need of protection. Below is one version of Meditation on Loving-kindness.

With metta,
Visakha and Ken

Meditation on Loving-kindness

May my mind be filled with the thought of loving-kindness.
May I be generous.
May I be gentle.
May I be relaxed.
May I be happy and peaceful.
May I be healthy.
May my heart become soft.
May my words be pleasing to others.
May I be a source of peace and happiness.
May I be free from fear, tension, anxiety, worry, and restlessness.

May the minds of my teachers be filled with the thought of loving-kindness.
May they be generous.
May they be gentle.
May they be relaxed.
May they be happy and peaceful.
May they be healthy.
May their hearts become soft.
May their words be pleasing to others.
May they be free from fear, tension, anxiety, worry, and restlessness.

May the minds of my parents and dear ones be filled with the thought of loving-kindness.
May they be generous.
May they be gentle.
May they be relaxed.
May they be happy and peaceful.
May they be healthy.
May their hearts become soft.
May their words be pleasing to others.
May they be free from fear, tension, anxiety, worry, and restlessness.

May the minds of all strangers be filled with the thought of loving-kindness.
May they be generous.
May they be gentle.
May they be relaxed.
May they be happy and peaceful.
May they be healthy.
May their hearts become soft.
May their words be pleasing to others.
May they be free from fear, tension, anxiety, worry, and restlessness.

May the minds of all unfriendly persons be filled with the thought of loving-kindness.
May they be generous.
May they be gentle.
May they be relaxed.
May they be happy and peaceful.
May they be healthy.
May their hearts become soft.
May their words be pleasing to others.
May they be free from fear, tension, anxiety, worry, and restlessness.

May the minds of all living beings be filled with the thought of loving-kindness.
May they be generous.
May they be gentle.
May they be relaxed.
May they be happy and peaceful.
May they be healthy.
May their hearts become soft.
May their words be pleasing to others.
May they be free from fear, tension, anxiety, worry, and restlessness.

May my mind be free of greed, anger, aversion, hatred, jealousy, and fear.
May the thought of loving-kindness embrace me and envelope me.
May every cell, every drop of blood, every atom, and every molecule of my entire body and mind be charged with the thought of friendliness.
May my body be relaxed.
May my mind be relaxed.
May my body and mind be filled with the thought of loving-kindness.
May the peace and tranquillity of loving-kindness pervade my entire body and mind.

May the minds of everyone in this room be free from greed, anger, hatred, jealousy, and fear.
May these thoughts of loving-kindness embrace them and envelope them.
May the peace and tranquillity of loving-kindness pervade their entire bodies and minds.

May the minds of everyone in this building be free from greed, . . .

May the minds of everyone in this street be free from greed, . . .

May the minds of everyone in this city be free from greed, . . .

May the minds of everyone in this region be free from greed, . . .

May the minds of everyone in this nation be free from greed, . . .

May the minds of everyone on this continent be free from greed, . . .

May the minds of everyone in this universe be free from greed, anger, hatred, jealousy, and fear.
May these thoughts of loving-kindness embrace them and envelope them.
May the peace and tranquillity of loving-kindness pervade their entire bodies and minds.

May every being touched by these thoughts of loving-kindness be free from greed, anger, hatred, jealousy, and fear.
May they be happy-hearted.
May they be free from worries and troubles.

May all beings in all directions throughout the universe be happy.
May they have good fortune.
May they be prosperous.
May they have good friends
May they be filled with loving-kindness, abundant, exalted, and measureless
May they be free from enmity affliction, and anxiety.
May they live happily.

May all those who are imprisoned legally or illegally, all who are in police custody anywhere in the world waiting trials meet with peace and happiness.
May they be free from greed, anger, hatred, jealousy, and fear.
May these thoughts of loving-kindness embrace them and envelope them.

May all who are in hospitals suffering from sickness meet with peace and happiness.
May they be free from pain, afflictions, depression, disappointment, dissatisfaction, anxiety, and fear.
May these thoughts of loving-kindness embrace them and envelope them.
May the peace and tranquillity of loving-kindness pervade their bodies and minds.

May all mothers who are in pain in delivering babies meet with peace and happiness.
May they be free from pain, afflictions, depression, disappointment, dissatisfaction, anxiety, and fear.
May these thoughts of loving-kindness embrace them and envelope them.
May the peace and tranquillity of loving-kindness pervade their entire bodies and minds.

May all parents taking care of their children meet with peace and happiness.
May they be free from pain, afflictions, depression, disappointment, dissatisfaction, anxiety, and fear.
May these thoughts of loving-kindness embrace them and envelope them.
May the peace and tranquillity of loving-kindness pervade their entire bodies and minds.

May all children abused by adults in any way meet with peace and happiness.
May they be free from pain, afflictions, depression, disappointment, dissatisfaction, anxiety, and fear.
May these thoughts of loving-kindness embrace them and envelope them.
May the peace and tranquillity of loving-kindness pervade their entire bodies and minds.

May all rulers be gentle, kind, generous, compassionate, and considerate
May they have the best understanding of the oppressed, the underprivileged, the discriminated, and the poverty-stricken.
May their hearts melt at the suffering of these unfortunate citizens.
May they be free from pain, afflictions, depression, disappointment, dissatisfaction, anxiety, and fear.
May these thoughts of loving-kindness embrace them and envelope them.
May the peace and tranquillity of loving-kindness pervade their entire bodies and minds.

May the oppressed, the underprivileged, the discriminated, and the poverty-stricken meet with peace and happiness.
May they be free from pain, afflictions, depression, disappointment, dissatisfaction, anxiety, and fear.
May these thoughts of loving-kindness embrace them and envelope them.
May the peace and tranquillity of loving-kindness pervade their entire bodies and minds.

May all beings in all directions, all around the universe be happy.
May they have good fortune.
May they be prosperous.
May they be famous.
May they have good friends.
After death may they be reborn in a happy destination.
May they be reborn in the heavens.

SADHU! SADHU!! SADHU!!!

Please visit our websites
Buddhist Relief Mission: < http://www.brelief.org/>
Relief Notes: < http://home.earthlink.net/~brelief>
Sri Lanka reports: < http://www.brelief.org/reports/>
Jayamangala Gatha video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=LXa5mw97b-I

Labels:

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home