Yoga Class for Guinness Attempt

To get into the Guinness Book of World Records, a mega yoga demonstration will be held in Dakshina Kannada (DK) and Udupi districts on Wednesday, Udupi District Minister Vinay Kumar Sorake said on Sunday.

Sri Dharmasthala Manjunatheshwara Yoga Matthu Naithika Shikshana Yojane of Shanthivana Trust in association with the Department of Public Instructions will conduct the event.

He said ‘Yoga for Future’ is the theme of the event. “One lakh students from two districts will gather at 50 different playgrounds between 10 and 10.30 am and demonstrate Soorya Namaskara and a few yogasanas to get in to the Guinness Book,” he said. Some of the yogasanas include Trikonasana, Parshwa Konasana, Shashankasana, Pavana Mukthasana, Sarvangasana, Vajrasana, Makarasana, Bhujangasana and Dhanurasana.

“This attempt will be categorised as the world’s largest yoga class at multiple locations,” event co-coordinator Shailaja Srikanth said. There will be one yoga instructor for every 50 students.

Meanwhile, two students from Sri Dharmasthala Manjunatheshwara Yoga and Naturotheraphy College will demonstrate yoga at each of the 50 places and two Class A officials will be the witnesses. The entire event will be videographed.

“The exact number of students participating will be counted by the number of ribbon bands issued,” she said.

Source: NewIndianExpress.com

Jakucho Setouchi is a revered nun and famous novelist, yet few know how psychoanalysis shaped her spiritual life

Jakucho Setouchi’s eyebrows work themselves into an intimidating ‘v’ as she lays into the ‘vulgarity’ of Japan’s political class, and she describes one up-and-coming politician as ‘a little Hitler’. The 90-year-old woman sitting opposite me, bald and black-robed, brims with a mixture of gentleness, raucous laughter, and unexpected steel. A little leaf-wrapped delicacy sits untouched in front of me, as I try to get used to the idea of hearing a nun’s confession.

I’ve come to the green outskirts of Kyoto, to the home of possibly the most famous woman in Japan outside the royal family. Setouchi might be said to be royalty of a sort herself: the nation’s teacher, its conscience, one of its harshest critics. She first found notoriety in the 1950s when she left her family for a romance with one of her husband’s students and began her controversial career as a novelist. She’s lived several lives since then; perhaps the greatest transition came in 1973 when she took Buddhist vows and received the name ‘Jakucho’, which means ‘silent, lonely listening’.

Today she is known for her vigorous opposition to the death penalty, for journeying to Iraq after the first Gulf War to distribute medicine, and for purchasing newspaper space to condemn its disastrous sequel. In May this year her distraught assistants watched her stage an outdoor hunger strike in the blazing summer sun. She was starving herself in protest at the reopening of Japan’s nuclear facilities following the Fukushima crisis, which she likened to the atom bomb attacks during the Second World War.

Meeting Setouchi, one gets a sense of raw power: of a person who can speak without the self-preserving self-censorship that’s routine to most of us. This applies equally to talk of her past, and to a brief, little-known encounter with mental illness in the mid-1960s that helped her on the road to her present life. This is the confession that I’ve come to hear.

‘I didn’t notice at the time,’ Setouchi tells me, ‘but I was starting to drop things, starting to become a bit strange.’

She was talking obsessively at her friends — non-stop and, on one occasion, right through the night. The tangled relationships with men that she’d turned into her first major literary success in 1963 — Natsu no Owari (The End of Summer; scheduled for release as a film next year) — had finally overtaken her. At 40, she was proud of having survived on her own wits and talent since her divorce. She had weathered allegations of pornography against her early work and could count luminaries such as Yasunari Kawabata and Yukio Mishima among her friends. Yet there she was, suffering what she would later call the total loss of her power of judgment.

After she narrowly avoided injury trying to walk up the down escalator of a Tokyo department store, her friend Haruko Shibaoka launched the 1960s equivalent of an intervention. Setouchi, who seems to have disliked doctors back then as much as she says she does now, reluctantly agreed to seek help.

There was a doctor living in the fashionable Den-en-chofu area of Tokyo. He had studied with Sigmund Freud and his circle in Vienna in the early 1930s. Now he was retired and his health was failing. Nevertheless, Shibaoka was a long-standing client and friend, and she was confident that he would agree to see Setouchi. They went to his house, and knocked on his door. And so the novelist became the last ever client of Japan’s first ever psychoanalyst, Heisaku Kosawa.

In his youth, Kosawa had been attracted to two seemingly conflicting sets of ideas. He was deeply drawn to the Jodo Shinshu (True Pure Land) sect within Japanese Buddhism — often known simply as ‘Shin Buddhism’. He was also enthralled by Freudian psychoanalysis. In both systems, the concepts fascinated him. Yet what really struck Kosawa, a life-long fan of heroic biography, were the lives and deeds of what seemed to him to be the exemplary people involved.

Freud advised Kosawa to find a local girlfriend to bring his German up to speed

As a schoolboy, Kosawa had idolised both Shin Buddhism’s 13th-century founder, Shinran, and a modern proponent, the Shin priest Jokan Chikazumi. Chikazumi befriended Kosawa and became a teacher and role model to him. Nevertheless, while studying medicine at Tohoku Imperial University a few years later, Kosawa’s focus shifted to Freud. In a personal letter, written in faltering and oddly romantic German, he credited Freud with seeing into the human heart as clearly as he and his fellow students had learned to observe cells under a microscope. By comparison, Kosawa’s professor at Tohoku cut an unimpressive figure. In 1932, the young student begged money from an elder brother, left his professor behind (he was told never to come back) and set off for Europe to meet Freud face to face.

He didn’t receive quite the reception he’d hoped for. Meeting the elderly Freud at the famous house at Berggasse 19 in Vienna, a Japanese friend had to interpret for him. Freud himself advised Kosawa to find a local girlfriend to bring his German up to speed.

Language was not the only thing separating the two men. As far as the philosophical and religious implications of psychoanalysis were concerned, Freud strenuously disagreed with both Kosawa and with another major pioneer of psychoanalysis in Asia at the time, Girindrasekhar Bose in Calcutta. With only a couple of notable exceptions, the Freud circle treated religion as a purely psychodynamic and social phenomenon, reducible to inner drives and conflicts. They made their camp in the now-familiar territory of faith as wish-fulfillment, avoidance of reality, a means of keeping a lid on society, and the locus of a great deal of obsessive-compulsive behaviour.

For Bose and Kosawa, this merely served to highlight Freud’s parochialism: his lack of experience with non-European cultures and patients. As a matter of fact, Kosawa agreed with his hero that religion was connected with guilt. He just thought it involved guilt of a different type. Freud said that religion derived (both in historical time and in the life of each individual) from the need to assuage one’s fear of a father figure: really, it was a kind of ‘deferred obedience’. Kosawa hoped to persuade Freud that this placatory impulse gave rise to an inadequate religion, and that another sort of guilt was far more important.

He offered Freud a simple illustration. Imagine that a child drops a plate in the presence of his parents. When he seeks forgiveness from his father, the child is rebuffed. He experiences a pang of emotion linked both to fear of impending punishment and to anger and resentment at his father for his harsh reaction. This, according to Kosawa, approximates Freud’s understanding of guilt in the religious context. But then the child asks the mother for forgiveness — and receives it. The mother takes the child’s fearful and rebellious guilt and alchemises it into a ‘reparative guilt’: an overwhelming response to total, unconditional forgiveness. This latter reaction was, for Kosawa, a truly ‘religious state of mind’ and he saw it as the core of his own Shin tradition. Freud appeared unmoved, however. ‘I have received and read your essay and will save it,’ he wrote rather distantly. ‘You do not seem to intend to use it immediately.’ There is no evidence that he gave it another thought.

Despite the master’s rejection, Kosawa was still committed to his idea of reparative guilt more than 30 years later, when Harumi Setouchi (as Jakucho then was) knocked on his door. Oddly, they never talked about religion; Setouchi wasn’t interested in it yet, and Kosawa rarely allowed religious talk into the consulting room. Nevertheless, Shin Buddhism had permeated his therapeutic approach. Rather than attempt to mix the oil and water of Buddhism and psychoanalysis at a conceptual level, he sought, as he told another of his clients, to ‘do psychoanalysis in the spirit of Shinran’.

What did this mean in practice? For Setouchi, it meant that ordinary gestures and moments became infused with surprising power. Her face breaks into the biggest smile of our meeting as she recalls ‘a lovely, a truly lovely man’. ‘He was wonderful, so gentle,’ she explains. ‘He guided me into the parlour area of his house and, after listening to me talk for a little while, he asked me to lie back on the couch with my eyes closed while he sat just behind my head.’

Very soon, she felt sufficiently at ease to go along with Kosawa’s version of free association. ‘Now that your eyes are closed,’ he told her, ‘you’ll be seeing images floating up in front of you. I want you just to name each one as it appears. As though you’re on a train looking out of the window, watching the scenery pass before you.’

Setouchi described various phallic objects to him, suggestive of man-trouble and a hot, possibly violent temperament. The details are not for the prudish, but she insists that at the time she spoke it all effortlessly, and felt immeasurably lighter at the end even of that first session.

‘When people are suffering, when they have some kind of complex, or when they’re lonely, they need someone to notice them’

What’s more, every time he showed Setouchi to the door after an analysis, Kosawa paid her a compliment. I’m happy to pass over this detail when she first mentions it, but she keeps returning to it, beaming, insisting. On one occasion it was the pattern on her kimono; another time it was her coat. ‘He never commented on my looks, though,’ she says with a chuckle. It was all part of the treatment: an unprecedented unburdening followed by the last-minute lift of a well-directed kind word. Nothing like either of these things was on offer anywhere else in her life.

‘To someone who’s suffering, the importance of that just can’t be exaggerated,’ she tells me. ‘When people come to me for help now, I listen to them and at the end I always find some little thing to compliment them on. And you should see them, they derive so much energy from that. When people are suffering, when they have some kind of complex, or when they’re lonely, they need someone to notice them, simply to recognise them. So when someone who’s in real trouble comes to me now, I think to myself, “What was it that Kosawa did for me?” And I try to emulate that. I try to do exactly that — although now it’s become part of my own style.’

Today, Setouchi has countless fans in Japan. They come to pay tribute and seek help in person, crowding into her hugely over-subscribed houwa (Buddhist talks) and filling YouTube with clips of her speeches. Yet her time with Kosawa is almost unknown. How might her admirers react if they realised that this legendary spiritual leader, whether in receptive mode or in full lyrical flow, is all the while channelling Japan’s first psychoanalyst, himself a modern incarnation of a rival religious tradition?

Kosawa was at once slightly behind his times and radically ahead of them. In the Japan of his youth, there had been a considerable appetite for ideas and practices that cut across religion, medicine, and science. Then, as now, such ideas tended to seem especially pertinent to the various anxieties of the ‘modern’ world (we’ve been modern for a long time). And then, as now, there were fears that they were muddying and contaminating the hard-won insights of scientific rationality.

Early-20th-century Japan was streaking ahead of the rest of Asia, modernising its politics, commerce, transport, industry, science, education, and military. Against this backdrop, traditional Japanese faith had become something of an embarrassment. Many felt that the powerful Buddhist establishment had acquiesced in — and profited from — centuries of stagnation. Only now was the nation clawing its way back.

Nevertheless, there were thinkers who saw a space for a rational interpretation of religion. They embarked on a radical process of reinvention, sifting the metaphysical, ethical and psychological wheat from the superstitious chaff of Japan’s spiritual inheritance. What emerged looked a lot like the ‘rationalised’ religion that was becoming popular elsewhere in Asia and the West. Modern science was to be heartily embraced, but its scope was restricted: it applied only to a phenomenal world, one whose supra-phenomenal source was more amenable to religious approaches.

In India, this kind of outlook came to be associated with, among others, Swami Vivekananda, whose rather idiosyncratic ideas were rapturously accepted as ‘Hinduism’ at the 1893 World’s Parliament of Religions in Chicago. In Japan, much of the running was made by Shin Buddhists such as Enryo Inoue, who recognised the modern promise in Shinran’s view of the human condition.

Disillusioned with his own shortcomings as a monk, Shinran had concluded that human frailty is such that salvation cannot lie primarily in study or ritual — or indeed, in any self-generated activity. He contrasted the idea of jiriki (self-power) and tariki (other-power). A fundamental recognition of your own weakness, he believed, can over time propel you to entrust yourself and your fate to that formless ‘other-power’ — embodied, in Shinran’s tradition, in the celestial Buddha, Amida.

For Setouchi, this makes sense. She’s wryly critical of Shin Buddhism — ‘It’s convenient, isn’t it?’ she tells me. ‘Whatever you’ve done, you just call on Amida, and he’ll come to take you away to his Pure Land.’ Her own heavily ritualised Tendai tradition, it’s worth noting, is the one on which Shinran and other 13th-century Buddhist rebels, including Zen’s Dogen, turned their backs.

Even so, when she lost her own power of judgment, she gained an immediate and unforgettable insight into the limited nature of self-power. ‘I’d always thought that it was me making my way in this world,’ she tells me, ‘until I went to Kosawa’s house. I’d become a novelist because I had talent; my books sold because I had talent — plus a bit of luck. That’s not how I see it any more. There’s no one born into this world because they decided they would be. You’re not born, you’re born.’

This is where Japanese has the edge over English. You can say ‘to be born’ using at least two different forms of the same verb, with radically divergent meanings. Umareru is the commonly used form, creating the sense of ‘to be born’ that we’re all familiar with.Umaresaserareru, on the other hand, is the causative passive: it has the sense of ‘being made to be born by something’, ‘being caused to be born’. I don’t mean the proximate cause — the hours of unforgettable agony on the part of your mother, say (there’s yet another form for that) — but an altogether more encompassing sense of cause. And that’s how Setouchi uses the word: ‘umaresaserareru… nanika ni’ — ‘you are born… by something’.

Buddhism can give the impression that, with enough meditation or prayer, mental health problems will simply go away

Setouchi’s gentle scorn for Shin Buddhism notwithstanding, she sees this nanika, this ‘something’, as closely linked to the other-power that meant so much to Shinran and to Kosawa. And if you’ll bear with me for one more bit of vocab, both Setouchi and another former client of Kosawa have emphasised ikiru vs ikasareru. Ikiru means ‘to live’;ikasareru means something like ‘to be lived’, ‘to be allowed to live’, even ‘to be maintained in existence’ — you are being lived from the outside.

The force of these causative passive forms, which for Setouchi are closer to the truth of the situation than our common active forms, might become viscerally apparent to us in times of distress. ‘We put our hands together, don’t we,’ she remarks. ‘Strange that we do that, isn’t it?’ And perhaps this instinct needn’t only be a Freudian regression to childish father-appeasement. Perhaps it can also provide a glimpse of that elusive umasaserareru/ikasareru.

Setouchi’s Buddhism isn’t a reductive ‘psychologised’ affair, by any means. She took the vows to deepen her intellect and writing, not to surrender either, and she complains that visitors nowadays see only a Buddhist nun and overlook the still highly regarded, Tanizaki Prize-winning novelist. All the same, her own experiences and teaching compel her to take psychology seriously.

An overly psychologised spirituality has obvious perils. There can be isolation or confusion when the community element of religion is effaced. Meaning and nuance are lost when necessarily complex ideas are re-packaged as simple, folksy pop psychology, and ‘spirituality’ becomes just a lofty word for having emotions. Religious commentators learn to dodge reasonable questions about whether and where they shift between metaphor, sentiment and claims about literal truth.

Yet psychologically naive spirituality can be destructive in its own way. Buddhism’s ‘no-self’ insight, like the contrast between ‘false’ and ‘true’ selves sometimes found in Christian teaching, can give the impression that, with enough meditation or prayer, mental health problems will simply go away. Very often the reverse is true. Meditation in particular can show you things that you really ought to take to a psychotherapist or psychiatrist, or perhaps work through, painfully and embarrassingly, with your family.

That brings us to what might be the most useful role for psychology in religion. It offers perspective that stands outside religion’s enticing, evocative conceptual networks: it can show us when our talk of humility, surrender and dismantling the ego are really masking, perhaps even facilitating, their polar opposites — despite our best intentions.

Such might be the fruit of the ongoing dialogue between psychoanalysis and religion. What Kosawa thought of as the ‘false religion’ central to Freud’s (mis)conception remains an occupational hazard in any religious life. Psychoanalysis — together with the newer systems and practices that it helped to propagate — has the potential to offer some unvarnished, barely palatable home truths now and again. Good psychology might end up being the tariki to your jiriki –the ‘other’ to your ‘self’ – as it once was for Jakucho Setouchi.

Source: Aeon.com

Meet the Monk Who Lives Atop a 131 Foot Tall Pillar

Maxime the Stylite Monk has lived in a monastery atop Georgia’s 131 foot Katskhi pillar for twenty years.

Maxime, who at 59 needs twenty minutes to make the climb down (third photo), said, “Since i was a child I dreamed of settling on the top of this pillar as other hermits did in ancient times.”

As a young man, Maxime led a life of crime, but decided with his release from prison to start a new life, take his monastic vows and climb the pillar, which he has lived on since 1993.

Though no one knows exactly how or why, the monastery was built sometime between the sixth and eight century. the pillar had sat idly since the 15th century when the Ottomans invaded Georgia. No one had even been to the top for centuries until an Alpinist climbed it and found the skeleton of a monk in 1944.

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Tattoo parlors inking free Swastikas to reclaim the symbol of Peace

More than 120 tattoo parlors around the world have reportedly offered free Swastika tattoos as part of a movement to reclaim the Nazi symbol as originally a symbol of peace.

The campaign ‘Learn to Love the Swastika’ intends to reclaim the symbol, an ancient Buddhist and Hindu sign of peace, and require signing a form stating that it is not for neo-Nazi reasons. According to news.com.au, the Swastika has been banned in several European countries as hate speech, and remains a symbol used by neo-Nazis and white supremacists. However, the controversial campaign has prompted outrage from the Jewish community as a way of racism. President of the Jewish Congregation of Copenhagen, Finn Schwartz said that the Swastika was once something else, but which the Nazi took hostage, cannot just be washed clean. Meatshop tattoo parlour owner Peter Madsen said that anyone who gets the tattoo because they are a neo-Nazi may think they are wearing a symbol of racism, but that doesn’t change the fact they are actually wearing on their bodies the symbol for a better world.

Madsen revealed that he had to turn down people after the 54th client to get the tattoo.

Kyoto temple to show long-concealed Buddhist statues for the first time

A Kyoto temple will offer the first public viewing of two 250-year-old Buddhist statues and one dating back a millennium that were hidden in the body of a larger statue.

The three statues were discovered in 2009 at Bishamon-do Shourinji temple in Higashiyama Ward. They had been concealed in a 30-centimeter-high, deep-red case within the waist of a 1.5-meter-high standing statue of Bishamonten, a god that protects Buddhism and the principal image of the temple.

The three statues are called Bishamonten Sanzonzo, or “three reverend statues of Bishamonten.”

The standing statue has also been secretly kept at the temple, a branch of the Tofukuji temple that heads the Tofukuji school of the Rinzai sect of Buddhism.

The three statues were shown to the media on Nov. 12. They will be available for public viewing starting on Nov. 15.

The statue in the middle, also a Bishamonten standing statue, is 16.7 cm high with a kind but powerful facial expression, similar to the one of the larger Bishamonten standing statue. The smaller statue is believed to have been created in the middle of the Heian Period (794-1185).

The other two are a 9.4-cm-high Kisshoten goddess and an 8.4-cm-high Zennishidoji, a son of Bishamonten and Kisshoten.

A sculptor in Kyoto created the two statues in 1763. They were then placed in the case that already held the smaller Bishamonten standing statue.

Bishamon-do Shourinji temple decided to show the trio to the public, along with the larger Bishamonten standing statue, to mark the 250th anniversary of the Kisshoten and Zennishidoji statues.

Visitors can see them until Dec. 8. Admission is 600 yen (about $6) for adults. For details, visit the temple’s (Japanese) website (http://shourin-ji.org/).

Accepting Change With An Open Heart – Fall Season Meditation

As the season shifts from summer to autumn, there seems to be an anxiety driven response to living life. Responsibilities once again become real and we tend to sacrifice ourselves in order to achieve our goals.

Nature is changing all around us and there is very little energetic stability so it is only natural for us to feel overwhelmed with all that must be done and rather than harness that energy, we begin to doubt our capabilities, judge ourselves or compare ourselves to others.

Rather than pulling away from these feelings, it is critical for us to lean into them so that they no longer limit us from what we are truly capable of.

You have the power and ability to achieve everything you want in this life and as Nature teaches us during these transitional seasons, change occurs gradually, choice by choice. Nature takes her time to transition, the leaves change colour over many days and it takes months before branches are bare.

This meditation helps us to be more accepting and open to the change that is occurring all around us. It frees us from anxiety and opens our hearts to possibility.

1. Sit in a comfortable place, I prefer bundled up outside, with your sits bones grounded and lengthen your spine. Bring your fingertips and thumb to touch creating a circle with your hands and hold this circle on your belly (wherever you feel is most energetically speaking to you).

2. Focus on your inhale and exhale until you feel a sense of peace.

3. Bring your awareness to your heart chakra at the centre of your breast bone and breathe here. Take long, slow, deep inhales drawing love, patience and acceptance into your heart space and with every exhale, call out the mantra Y-A-M (pronounced yaaaaaam) releasing anything that is no longer serving you including fears, anxieties, judgements, comparisons or self-doubt. Continue with this until you feel intuitively ready to move on, try for a minimum of 3-5 minutes.

4. Now bring your attention to your root chakra at your perineum. Feel yourself connected to Mother Nature and know that you embody all of her wisdom, beauty and divinity. As you inhale draw in security, connection, independence and trust and as you exhale, call out the mantra L-A-M (pronounced laaaaaammm) releasing the judgements and expectations you place upon yourself go. Stay here until you feel intuitively ready to move on, try for a minimum of 3-5 minutes.

5. Focus on the energy of your belly behind the circle and feel the power of your inner strength. Feel it move through your entire body. This is your guiding light.

6. Bring this energy up to the space where you feel any anxiety, doubt or fear and allow your strength to help you release this tension.

7. Envision it leaving your body and allow your inner strength to coarse up and down your body from your root chakra to your sacrum, through your chakras to the top of your skull.

8. Breath and rest for a few moments and when you open your eyes, take a moment to sit with Mother Nature in the midst of her change, before carrying on with your day.

The ten major vows of a Bodhisattva

1. A disciple of the Buddha shall not himself kill, encourage others to kill, kill by expedient means, praise killing, rejoice at witnessing killing, or kill through incantation or deviant mantras. He must not create the causes, conditions, methods, or karma of killing, and shall not intentionally kill any living creature.  As a Buddha’s disciple, he ought to nurture a mind of compassion and filial piety, always devising expedient means to rescue and protect all beings. If instead, he fails to restrain himself and kills sentient beings without mercy, he commits a Parajika (major) offense.

2. A disciple of the Buddha must not himself steal or encourage others to steal, steal by expedient means, steal by means of incantation or deviant mantras. He should not create the causes, conditions, methods, or karma of stealing. No valuables or possessions, even those belonging to ghosts and spirits or thieves and robbers, be they as small as a needle or blade of grass, may be stolen. As a Buddha’s disciple, he ought to have a mind of mercy, compassion, and filial piety — always helping people earn merits and achieve happiness. If instead, he steals the possessions of others, he commits a Parajika offense.

3. A disciple of the Buddha must not engage in licentious acts or encourage others to do so. [As a monk] he should not have sexual relations with any female — be she a human, animal, deity or spirit — nor create the causes, conditions, methods, or karma of such misconduct. Indeed, he must not engage in improper sexual conduct with anyone. A Buddha’s disciple ought to have a mind of filial piety — rescuing all sentient beings and instructing them in the Dharma of purity and chastity. If instead, he lacks compassion and encourages others to engage in sexual relations promiscuously, including with animals and even their mothers, daughters, sisters, or other close relatives, he commits a Parajika offense.

4. A disciple of the Buddha must not himself use false words and speech, or encourage others to lie or lie by expedient means. He should not involve himself in the causes, conditions, methods, or karma of lying, saying that he has seen what he has not seen or vice-versa, or lying implicitly through physical or mental means. As a Buddha’s disciple, he ought to maintain Right Speech and Right Views always, and lead all others to maintain them as well. If instead, he causes wrong speech, wrong views or evil karma in others, he commits a Parajika offense.

5. A disciple of the Buddha must not trade in alcoholic beverages or encourage others to do so. He should not create the causes, conditions, methods, or karma of selling any intoxicant whatsoever, for intoxicants are the causes and conditions of all kinds of offenses. As a Buddha’s disciple, he ought to help all sentient beings achieve clear wisdom. If instead, he causes them to have upside-down, topsy-turvy thinking, he commits a Parajika offense.

6. A disciple of the Buddha must not himself broadcast the misdeeds or infractions of Bodhisattva-clerics or Bodhisattva-laypersons, or of [ordinary] monks and nuns — nor encourage others to do so. He must not create the causes, conditions, methods, or karma of discussing the offenses of the assembly. As a Buddha’s disciple, whenever he hears evil persons, externalists or followers of the Two Vehicles speak of practices contrary to the Dharma or contrary to the precepts within the Buddhist community, he should instruct them with a compassionate mind and lead them to develop wholesome faith in the Mahayana. If instead, he discusses the faults and misdeeds that occur within the assembly, he commits a Parajika offense.

7. A disciple of the Buddha shall not praise himself and speak ill of others, or encourage others to do so. He must not create the causes, conditions, methods, or karma of praising himself and disparaging others. As a disciple of the Buddha, he should be willing to stand in for all sentient beings and endure humiliation and slander — accepting blame and letting sentient beings have all the glory. If instead, he displays his own virtues and conceals the good points of others, thus causing them to suffer slander, he commits a Parajika offense.

8. A disciple of the Buddha must not be stingy or encourage others to be stingy. He should not create the causes, conditions, methods, or karma of stinginess. As a Bodhisattva, whenever a destitute person comes for help, he should give that person what he needs. If instead, out of anger and resentment, he denies all assistance — refusing to help with even a penny, a needle, a blade of grass, even a single sentence or verse or a phrase of Dharma, but instead scolds and abuses that person — he commits a Parajika offense.

9. A disciple of the Buddha shall not harbor anger or encourage others to be angry. He should not create the causes, conditions, methods, or karma of anger. As a disciple of the Buddha, he ought to be compassionate and filial, helping all sentient beings develop the good roots of non-contention. If instead, he insults and abuses sentient beings, or even transformation beings [such as deities and spirits], with harsh words, hitting them with his fists or feet, or attacking them with a knife or club — or harbors grudges even when the victim confesses his mistakes and humbly seeks forgiveness in a soft, conciliatory voice — the disciple commits a Parajika offense

10. A Buddha’s disciple shall not himself speak ill of the Triple Jewel or encourage others to do so. He must not create the causes, conditions, methods or karma of slander. If a disciple hears but a single word of slander against the Buddha from externalists or evil beings, he experiences a pain similar to that of three hundred spears piercing his heart. How then could he possibly slander the Triple Jewel himself? Hence, if a disciple lacks faith and filial piety towards the Triple Jewel, and even assists evil persons or those of aberrant views to slander the Triple Jewel, he commits a Parajika offense.

The Science behind Universal Vibrations of AUM/OM & Shankh (Conch Shell)

Conch shells have a significant place in Indian mythology. It is believed that if we hold a conch shell near our ear, the sound of the ocean humming gently resonates from within. It is actually the natural vibration or cosmic energy of the earth that gets magnified on entering the conch shell and keeps vibrating forever.

These unique whorls are directed clockwise in perfect synchronization with universal harmony. That is why a conch shell is blown during sacred rites to get rid of negative energy.  By blowing the conch 3 times before beginning any ritualistic worship, movement of negative energies in the environment is reduced remarkably.

Scientific studies have observed the vibrations in a shell of a large predatory sea snail only found in the Indian Ocean. The species has the scientific name now of Turbinella pyrum and are classified within the family Turbinellidae. Aum like vibrations are powerful and their frequency can alter thin sand to form many sacred geometries which are being studied now.

There will always be some aspects that science cannot prove but spirituality can.

Stand-up paddleboard yoga in the Cook Islands

RELAX with a week-long retreat to the Cook Islands with prices starting at $1999, inclusive of flights, resort accommodation and a chance to do yoga on the water.

1 Retreat to Rarotonga

LOOKING for a holiday with a difference this winter?

Stand-up paddle-board yoga instructor Charlotte Piho is hosting three retreats in the Cook Islands over the coming months.

The week-long retreats will start on July 20, August 17 and September 7.

Prices start from $1999 a person, quad share, including flights from Sydney for bookings before June 30. The deal includes your stay at The Rarotongan Beach Resort and Spa, daily breakfast and lunch, three dinners and airport transfers. Twin share rooms are available at an extra cost.Ph 1300 370 792 or see coralseas.com.au

2 Forte is luxury

A LUXURY resort will open at a restored fort in India this year.

Boutique Asian hotelier Alila Hotels and Resorts will open Alila Fort Bishangarh, about an hour from Jaipur in Rajasthan, and three hours from New Delhi.

The 230-year-old fort is perched on a granite hill with 2m-thick ancient walls that have openings for firearms and turrets.

Once restored, it will have 59 suites with large bay windows, day beds and footed bathtubs, a pool, two restaurants, a bar and cigar room and wine cellar.

See alilahotels.com

3 Old-school sailing

THE tall ship Lord Nelson arrives in Australia this year on a round-the-world voyage. Trips are available between Fremantle, Hobart, Sydney, Adelaide, Melbourne and New Zealand.

No sailing experience is needed.

Prices start at $1770 for eight days from Adelaide to Melbourne in August.

Ph 1800 331 582 or see outdoortravel.com.au

4 Join the club

JETSTAR has launched its Club Jetstar membership program offering exclusive sales and discounts, with flights from $1.

It costs $39 to join, plus an annual fee of $39.99 after the first year. Jetstar chief commercial officer David Koczkar says more offers will be introduced as the program grows. The club is in addition to the airline’s JetMail weekly email offers.

See jetstar.com

5 Christmas comes early

SEVERAL Blue Mountains hotels are offering packages to celebrate Christmas in the colder months.

Mountain Heritage Hotel and Spa Retreat at Katoomba has a Saturday night package, from June 30-July 28, priced from $299 a person that includes pre-dinner drinks, five-course dinner, Christmas songs and a cabaret show. Two-night packages are also available.

Redleaf Resort at Blackheath and Fairmont Resort at Leura are also offering packages.

See visitbluemountains.com.au

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