Peace. Love and Mung Beans
To the uninitiated, Buddhism is a lovely peaceful study undertaken to attain enlightenment by some really lovely people who bow and smile a lot.
Most dharma practitioners that I have met are as sick as you are.
The significant difference if I can find one is that Buddhist in the west are folks who are looking for more meaning in their lives than they have hitherto found, and in the ritual practices and fundamental teachings they have found some refuge.
Here are some things you may be wondering about Buddhism.
Buddhist prayers from earliest times used mala beads on which to count to 108 renditions of ‘Going For Refuge to the Three Jewels’.
One hundred and eight is the number of the alleged desires of mankind, so tradition has instructed us to pray for guidance and protection to Buddha, Dharma and Sangha whenever possible
Meditation, contrary to popular opinion is not an attempt to clear one’s mind of thought, although that sounds nice.
Rather, most meditators focus on a sound, object, mantra or thought to be single pointed in concentration.
One very common form of meditation is ‘On the Breathe’, where the person follows the in breathe and the out breathe for as long as possible for focus and relaxation.
The purpose of long-term meditation practice is to attain insights and eventually enlightenment.
Mantra is the repeated saying or singing of syllables, and the result is concentration, awareness and ideally enlightenment.
The most famous mantra chanted worldwide is Compassionate Buddha “Om Mani Padme Hum”.
This is like saying to Buddha Avalokiteshvara , “Please help me with compassion”. Try this when a person is being nasty to you — it works.
In the Buddhist sense, Vow is a verb more than it is a noun. Darren Littlejohn’s excellent book, “The Power Of Vow”, explains beautifully how vows can change your life and the famous Bodhisattva vow can change many lives.
“Through the virtues I collect by giving and other perfection
may I become a Buddha for the benefit of all”.
You’ll find Buddhist centres near you in most large centres. This one I attend has over 1,100 worldwide thanks to Geshe Kelsang Gyatso’s tireless work since leaving Tibet in the 1950’s.