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You know, throughout the whole Ming Yi saga, Buddhists and non-Buddhists have continuously pointed fingers at the man and accusing him of everything including bringing horrendous damage to Buddhism.

Although, I don’t know him at all (only met him once), I believe that he is not a bad person at heart, just silly and someone who despite being a monk have not looked beyond material and personal desires. Sometimes when you become popular and no one questions your decisions, it can make you feel a bit godly. Anyone in those position can make such mistakes. Personally, I continue to believe that he has genuine care for the things that he do, maybe some people don’t like him (this is common in the Buddhist circle, I like you, I don’t like you, etc), just maybe he should not be a monk but a business man. Continue Reading »

By now a lot of people would have heard about Ajahn Brahm being expelled from Wat Pa Phong organisation based in Thailand. Here are some links about what is happening:

I believe that most if not all Heartland members would be saddened by this act from part of the Thai Sangha of WPP. However, we should all remember that our alignment is to the buddhadhamma and not to any Thai laws or organisation. Its really a big lost to WPP to have excluded Ajahn Brahm from their organisation.

Here is Ajahn Chandako’s personal letter on this issue and reply from Bodhiyana monastery:

Here a letter from Bhikku Thanissaro on why the oridination of the nun is invalid and a reply

I continue to believe that there are many more members of the Thai Sangha and including the lay Thai Buddhists who may agree with Ajahn Brahm’s actions, but have not spoken out and may their wisdom and compassion shine through the Thai Sangha over time.

Source: http://sdhammika.blogspot.com/2009/04/aware-saga-buddhist-view.html

Singapore is a pretty boring place. By ‘boring’ I mean no school massacres, no ‘no-go areas’, no corruption scandals, no gang warfare and not much crime. Even elections are low-key, unexciting and predictable affairs. But of late Singaporeans have been treated to a bit of real excitement. People are talking about it, it is getting wide coverage in the media and the internet is positively humming with opinions about it. And because all the excitement has a religious element to it I’m dealing with it on my blog today. I will return to the promised subject of the five and ten Precepts in two days. Continue Reading »

Source: http://sdhammika.blogspot.com/2008/08/homosexuality.html

Homosexuality

Homosexuality is the tendency to be sexually attracted to persons of the same rather than the opposite gender. According to the ancient Indian understanding, homosexuals were thought of simply as being ‘the third nature’ (trtiya prakti), rather than as perverted, deviant or sick. With its emphasis on psychology and cause and effect, Buddhism judges acts, including sexual acts, primarily by the intention (cetana) behind them and the effect they have. A sexual act motivated by love, mutuality and the desire to give and share would be judged positive no matter what the gender of the two persons involved. Therefore, homosexuality as such is not considered immoral in Buddhism or against the third Precept, although this is not always understood in traditional Buddhist countries. If a homosexual avoids the sensuality and licence of the so-called ‘gay scene’ and enters into a loving relationship with another person, there is no reason why he or she cannot be a sincere practising Buddhist and enjoy all the blessings of the Buddhist life. Continue Reading »

Source: http://sdhammika.blogspot.com/2008/08/same-sex-marriage.html

Same-sex Marriage

A same-sex marriage is a legally recognized union between two people of the same gender, i.e. two homosexuals. Same-sex marriages have only of late become legal in several European countries and in a few states in the United States. However, such unions may have existed in some parts of the ancient world, including in India. The Kama Sutra (II, 9, 36) says; ‘There are citizens who love each other and with great faith in each other, who take each other as a husband.’ The word for husband here is parigraha and the Pali equivalent is patigaha. In his commentary on his verse Yasodhara says; ‘Citizens so inclined, reject women, willingly do without them and get married, bound by a deep and trusting friendship.’ It is not clear if these marriages, if this is the right word for such unions, were performed by Buddhist monks or Hindu priests or were recognized by the state, probably not. Continue Reading »

Source: http://sdhammika.blogspot.com/2008/08/third-precept.html

The Third Precept

Sexual behaviour (kama or methuna) is any actions motivated by erotic desire and usually involving the genital region. This includes all forms of coitus, intercrural sex, masturbation, sexual fondling and perhaps even voyeurism. The third of the five Precepts, the basic principles of Buddhist ethics, says that one should avoid sexual misconduct (kamesu micchacara). What would make a sexual (kama) behaviour (cara) wrong (miccha)? Continue Reading »

Indignation 2008

Indignation 2008

Indignation 2008 official open its doors tonight with an opening event introduction the upcoming calendar of events and the launch of the Rascals Prize. The prize is intended as a biennial award to encourage academic and research work that adds to knowledge of gay issues in Singapore, and is in line with People Like Us’ mission statement which says: “…to promote an informed understanding” of LGBT issues.

For more of the upcoming events please visit the link below:

http://www.plu.sg/indignation/?p=441

The article was recently posted on Ven. Dhammika’s blog. Bhante is currently the spiritual advisor of Buddha Dhamma Mandala Society.

Note: Not all gay male like to dress up in women’s clothes. This is only one aspect of some gay males. In fact, some straight man loves to cross dress themselves.

A Gay Tragedy

(http://sdhammika.blogspot.com/2008/05/gay-tragedy.html)

Occasionally someone, usually a young man but sometimes a young women or an older man or women, will approach me and after a few minuets of hesitation or beating around the bush, ask me what the Buddhist position on homosexuality is. When they do I tell then that intentional actions (kamma) modify consciousness and that our kamma conditions our future. Positive intentional acts have positive effects (vipaka) and negative intentional acts have a negative effect. Sexual acts motivated by the usual intentions, feelings and emotions which exist between two people who love each other, would have a positive effect and would not infringe the third Precept, whether they be homosexual or heterosexual. I underline this point by saying that Buddhist ethics about sex are primarily concerned with the motives behind out sexual behavior, rather than the gender of our partner. This being so, if two people of the same gender express their love for each other physically there is no good reason why the kamma this creates should be any different from when two people of the opposite gender do the same. Having said this I then try to change the subject, not because I am embarrassed talking about homosexuality, but because I do not like the ‘single issue’ approach to Dhamma. However, a few years ago I had an encounter which made me realize that inquiries about homosexuality, whether from gays themselves or their families, should be given my whole attention. However theoretical or marginal this issue may be to me it is likely to be of considerable import to the people who ask such questions. Continue Reading »

If you would like to help out with the disaster relief effort via donations in Myanmar, it would be best, at the moment, to send donations to organisations working with the monastries in Myanmar. It seems to be the most effective method at the moment as reliefs from NGOs like red cross and world aid are being delayed by the government of Myanmar.

If you would like to donate, please visit Buddhist Fellowship (www.buddhistfellowhip.org) or Bright Hill Temple as they are working with FireFly Mission who are working with the monastries in Myanmar to get relieves to the people.

Also we received a short description of what is happening on the ground from Ashin Sopaka

Dear all,

Thank you very much for the public and personal emails regarding the cyclone in Myanmar. I will try to respond personally to each one, but please bear with me.

I am currently in Bangkok for fund and supply raising efforts. My teacher went to Irawaddy Division to assess the needs and will be bringing a shopping list with him sometime this coming week. Before he went, he wanted to focus on hospital supplies (he started a hospital many years ago in a town called Bogalay, the eye of the storm), and apparently it was completely wiped out. When he gets to Bangkok this week, the list will probably be longer and more inclusive. By the time I left yesterday, our monastery in Yangon was practically a warehouse of food for distribution in the South – people think our organisation can get the goods out better than the government!!! You have probably heard about the 37 tons of food being held up at the airport from World Food Program.

Apparently, we have a “branch” monastery in Bogolay, but are not at all sure about the monks who live there.

My own personal observation fo the damage is limited to yangon. Ancient and gigantic trees completely uprooted – seems the only trees to survive are coconut trees. All the billboards are gone (thank goodness!) Power lines down everywhere, meaning no electricity for the next 3 months or so. No water. Lots of building damage, but it appears mostly superficial. With the exception of the shacks so many people live in – most of those, at least around the monastery, were completely blown away. Prices have doubled and trebled.

If anyone is wanting to help, the best way is through a Buddhist, preferable monk, organisation. The NGO’s, as you can see from the news, are having major logistical and political problems, and while the government wrath was turned against the monks last year, the Sangha is still very, very highly respected, so clearing supplies through customs will be a breeze, as well as the distribution. I believe Jim posted a link to such an organisation. Further, these kinds of organisations usually do not have overhead, so the supplies go directly to the needy. Indeed, we will be using all the money we raise outside Myanmar to buy supplies for import.

Even with pictures, it is really difficult to imagine how these poor people live on a day to day basis, much less in these horrid conditions. This is the hot season, so temperatures are over 100 F with no breeze and almost 100% humidity, no rain and no shade, and apparently a stench that reaches the stars. Even living around this I am still touched to the core at their incredible suffering. Even if you don’t meditate, please sit for a short period everyday radiating all the loving kindness you can muster for these people.

with metta Ashin Sopaka

Just Passing Thru

One common theme among a lot of Buddhist writers especially Western authors and even some non-Western authors, is the liberally and unashamed use of useful examples of stories and experiences from other religions. It actually requires people with equanimity and strong confidence in their own belief to be able to do so. Mind you, these are not bad example, rather, they are insightful experiences and stories and it always gladden me to know how non-judgmental and non-segregating these Buddhist authors can be.

In A Path with Heart by Jack Kornfield, I came upon a beautiful passage:

There is an old story about a famous rabbi living in Europe who was visited one day by a man who had traveled by ship from New York to see him. The man came to the great rabbi’s dwelling, a large house on a street in a European city, and was directed to the rabbi’s room, which was in the attic. Continue Reading »