1. No such thing as ‘lucky day’ or ‘lucky color’

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    No such thing as ‘lucky day’ or ‘lucky color’ etc. in Buddhism.
    Using well-spoken words, humility, contentment, gratitude and hearing the good Dhamma; this is the best good luck

    The Buddha considered such practices as fortune telling, wearing magic charms for protection, fixing lucky sites for building, prophesizing and fixing lucky days to be useless superstitions and he expressly forbids his disciples to practice such things. He calls all these things ‘low arts.’

    “Whereas some religious men, while living of food provided by the faithful make their living by such low arts, such wrong means of livelihood as palmistry, divining by signs, interpreting dreams… bringing good or bad luck… invoking the goodness of luck… picking the lucky site for a building, the monk Gotama refrains from such low arts, such wrong means of livelihood”  by Venerable S. Dhammika

    Source: http://www.buddhanet.net

  2. Suu Kyi wants gov’t apology for violent crackdown

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    By YADANA HTUN, Associated Press
    November 30, 2012

     

    In this photo taken Thursday, Nov 29, 2012, opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi , in green, listens to a injured Buddhist monks who suffered burn injuries when security forces cracked down protesters in a hospital in Monywa, northwestern Myanmar. Opposition leader Suu Kyi is urging a negotiated resolution to protests over a military-backed copper mine in northwestern Myanmar after the government’s biggest crackdown on demonstrators since reformist President Thein Sein took office last year. (AP Photo)

    MONYWA, Myanmar (AP) — Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Friday said authorities must apologize for a violent crackdown on monks and other foes of a mine in northwest Myanmar, but she also stuck to the government’s view that the country must follow through on its commitment to build the project.

    Speaking Friday morning to a crowd of more than 10,000 in the northwestern town of Monywa, the Nobel Peace laureate said people had the right to ask why authorities cracked down so harshly on the nonviolent protesters who had occupied the nearby Letpadaung copper mine for 11 days. It was the government’s biggest crackdown on demonstrations since reformist President Thein Sein took office last year.

    Police used water cannons, tear gas and smoke bombs to break up the protest early Thursday. Weapons that protesters described as flare guns caused severe burns to protesters and set shelters ablaze. A nurse at a Monywa hospital said 27 monks and one other person were admitted there to be treated for burns.

    “I want to ask, ‘What was their purpose of doing this?’ Frankly, there’s no need to act like this,” Suu Kyi said. People in the crowd shouted back: “Right!”

    “I’m not saying this to agitate people,” she continued. “I never persuade people by agitating. I explain to people so that they can decide by thinking.”

    Associated Press/Gemunu Amarasinghe – Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi reaches for supporters as she leaves after a public meeting close to Letpadaung mine in Monywa, northwestern Myanmar, Friday, Nov. 30, 2012. Suu Kyi is urging a negotiated resolution to protests over a military-backed copper mine in northwestern Myanmar after the government’s biggest crackdown on demonstrators since reformist President Thein Sein took office last year. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)

    In remarks to reporters Friday, Suu Kyi said the authorities “need to apologize to the monks.”

    Yet she has taken a soft line on the broader conflict over the expanding mine, which protesters say is damaging the environment and forcing villagers to move without adequate compensation.

    She noted that many people asked her to help stop the project at once, but said she did not know details of the original contract and a parliamentary investigating committee had yet to do its work.

    She went on to suggest that Myanmar should honor the contracts establishing the project, especially since they involved a neighboring country. The mine is a joint venture between a military-controlled holding company and a Chinese mining company.

    She said that even in some cases where the people’s interest was not taken into account, the agreement should be followed “so that the country’s image will not be hurt.”

    Senior government officials have said the protesters’ demands to stop operating the mine risk scaring off foreign investment in Myanmar’s long-neglected economy.

    Now serving in parliament after years as a political prisoner of the long-ruling junta, Suu Kyi received a hero’s welcome in Monywa. Her visit had been scheduled before the crackdown, and she has said she will try to negotiate a solution to the conflict over the mine.
    On Thursday she met mining company officials, activists and injured protesters, and she met security officials Friday.

    The crackdown is a big blot on the government’s efforts to woo popular support, especially because many of the targets were monks, who are admired for their social activism as much as they are revered for their spiritual beliefs in deeply religious Myanmar.

    The previous military government infamously cracked down violently on monks who were leading the 2007 pro-democracy protests that came to be known as the “Saffron Revolution,” from the color of their robes.

    Monks in Myanmar’s two biggest cities, Yangon and Mandalay, staged small nonviolent protests Friday.

    The Upper Myanmar Monks organization in Mandalay issued a statement calling on the government to formally apologize for the action within five days, to provide sufficient health care for those who were injured and to release seven monks they say were detained.

    U Withuta, a prominent activist monk who is a member of the group, said more than 40 monks were hurt, some seriously and at risk of losing their eyesight. He said he was lightly burned on the thigh.

    “We wanted to forget what happened in 2007 and proceed forward, but what happened yesterday was like opening an old wound,” Withuta said. He said it was premature to say what the monks would do if their demands were not met.

    Citizen activism has increased since the elected government took over last year. Street demonstrations have been legalized, and are generally tolerated, though detentions have occurred in sensitive cases.

    Political and economic liberalization under Thein Sein has won praise from Western governments, which have eased sanctions imposed on the previous military government because of its poor record on human and civil rights.

    The Letpadaung mine is a joint venture between China’s Wanbao Mining Copper Ltd. and the military-owned Union of Myanmar Economic Holdings Ltd. Many in Myanmar remain suspicious of the military and see China as an aggressive and exploitive investor that helped support its rule.

    In Yangon, more than 30 monks who staged a peaceful protest at downtown Sule pagoda, were joined by nearly 100 people who chanted prayers in front of the office of the army’s holding company.

    “May all be free from harm, may all be peaceful and may the Letpadaung mountains be green,” they chanted in the Friday dusk.

  3. Burma cracks down on mine protest

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    Associated Press, November 30, 2012

     

    Crackdown … this Buddhist monk suffered burn injuries when police fired water cannon and tear-gas at villagers and monks protesting against a Chinese-backed copper mine, in Monywa, northern Myanmar on Thursday. Photo: STR

     

    MONYWA, BURMA: Security forces have used water cannon, tear-gas and smoke bombs to clear protesters from a copper mine in northwestern Burma.

    Villagers and Buddhist monks were injured in the violence, which was the biggest use of force against demonstrators since the reformist government of President Thein Sein took office last year.

    Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who arrived in the area on a scheduled visit, said she would try to negotiate a solution.

    In a statement broadcast on state television, the government initially acknowledged using the riot-control measures but denied using excessive force. In an unusual move, it later retracted the statement without explanation.

    Monks and other protesters had serious burns after the crackdown at the Letpadaung mine near the town of Monywa. Protesters who oppose the mine’s impact on villagers and the environment had occupied the area for 11 days.

    “I didn’t expect to be treated like this, as we were peacefully protesting,” said Aung Myint Htway, a peanut farmer whose face and body were covered with black patches of burnt skin.

    The police action is a public relations and political disaster for Thein Sein’s government, which has been touting its transition to democracy after almost five decades of repressive military rule.

    “This is unacceptable,” said Ottama Thara, a 25-year-old monk who was at the protest. “This kind of violence should not happen under a government that says it is committed to democratic reforms.”

    Police moved early on Thursday to disperse protesters after some heeded earlier warnings to leave.

    “Around 2.30am police announced they would give us five minutes to leave,” Aung Myint Htway said. He said police fired water cannon first and then shot what he and others called flare guns.

    “They fired black balls that exploded into fire sparks. They shot about six times. People ran away and they followed us,” he said, still writhing hours later from pain. “It’s very hot.”

    Photos of the wounded monks showed they had serious burns on parts of their bodies. It was unclear what sort of weapon caused them, or whether the burns were caused by their shelters catching fire from whatever devices police used.

  4. Stand up to bullying

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    Lizzie Velasquez is 23 years old and has never weighed more than 65 pounds. She's one of only three people that she knows of in the world with an unnamed syndrome that keeps her body from developing fat. She endured years of teasing, culminating with her discovery of a YouTube video of herself titled "World's Ugliest Woman," which had 3 million views.  #bullying  
    http://www.lowellsun.com/todaysheadlines/ci_22097268/5-000-strong-students-stand-up-bullying-at.html

    Lizzie Velasquez, 23, of Austin, Texas, speaks about her experience growing up with an undiagnosed condition for which she was bullied during Thursday’s conference. Sun/Julia Malakie

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  5. Turtle and baby

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    A turtle swims with its baby on its back in a pool in Hanshan Temple on the outskirts of Suzhou, east China's Jiangsu Province. Hundreds of turtles in over 10 varieties at the temple attract visitors in summer, Xinhua said. (AP Photo/Xinhua, Wang Jianzhong) #turtle  

    turtles

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  6. How to Smile

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    Frown and you frown alone, but smile and the whole world smiles with you.

    With 19 variations on the smile, including 16 produced by enjoyable emotions, smiling is an incredibly important part of our lives. Here's how to develop your grin.

    1. Become comfortable with smiling. If you're not used to smiling regularly, overcoming your nervousness or cynicism about smiling can take a little practice but like any habit, it's easy to reform with time. Some things to keep in mind include:

    A smile always looks good. Feeling nervous about the beauty or appearance of your smile is unnecessary. Trust that your smile makes you look great.
    A smile is professional. Smiling at work or during other professional occasions is not going to make you seem unprofessional. Quite the opposite, a smile will humanize you and make you appear more approachable. People will appreciate your recognition of their worth and of a job well done when you smile.

    A smile makes you real. If you're afraid of appearing vulnerable when you smile, accept that any form of vulnerability suggested by a smile is precisely what makes it such a powerful act. You're opening yourself up to others and people will respond better to that than to a serious, unmoved demeanor. Moreover, a smile accompanied by an assertive personality will take care of any sense that people will use your smile to walk all over you!

    2. Make your smile genuine. While it is perfectly possible to crack a smile when you feel terrible, angry, annoyed, or you're up to something nefarious, a genuine smile is much harder to fake; indeed, only around 10 percent of the population can manage that feat.

    A genuine smile is detectable by others because it is accompanied by a general glow, smiling eyes where the outer corners crinkle and the lower lid tightens, and a reassuring demeanor that helps the viewer to feel more at ease in your presence. A genuine smile comes from being happy, positive, and from drawing your feelings from the heart.

    Think happy thoughts. The easiest way to a fantastic, genuine smile is to be happy. Think about someone you care about (perhaps the person standing in front of you as you smile), about something that you genuinely love to do, or think of a funny joke that you just find hilarious. Or think about the happiest moments in your life.

    Be genuine. Draw on your heartfelt feelings, not just rationalizations. When you're confronted by a person or situation that makes you feel ambivalent and you're oscillating between giving the cold shoulder or smiling, err on the side of smiling – find one single thing in your heart that is positive about the person or situation before you, and use that to create your smile.

    Love people and your life. It's much easier to produce friendly, easygoing, genuine smiles when you love what you do, when you love the people around you, and when you love humanity in general. Be grateful for all that you have and you'll find smiles come far more naturally.

    Be playful. Intense times can make us too serious. See life as an adventure, be gentle on yourself and watch children at play. Being playful will bring a smile to your face much more easily.

    3. Smile with your eyes. A wholehearted smile will naturally draw in the eyes (called a Duchenne smile). It is commonplace to hear a person say "her eyes were smiling", or to say "he didn't mean it; he was smiling but his eyes weren't". The eyes are essential for a genuine, warm smile. Your eyes light up, twinkle, and reflect your happiness. While it's hard to fake this unless you're really feeling it, you can try this exercise:

    To get a feel for how to make your eyes smile, stand in front of a mirror and practice smiling, but concentrate only on your eyes. You may find it helpful to cover the lower part of your face with a piece of paper. Play around with it a bit, and you'll find that you can make your mouth smile when your eyes aren't smiling, and you can also smile only with your eyes. When your eyes do smile, remember how it feels, which muscles are working and how. With practice, you may discover how to smile with your eyes at will by relying on your feelings and muscle memory.

    4. Practice your smile. There is no harm in practicing your smile – doing so will increase your smiling confidence, improve your sense of well-being, and help you to learn which of your smiles are your best.

    Look at photos of yourself smiling, with a closed mouth, open mouth, and from different angles. Which smiles and poses make your face light up the most? Which smile displays your other features to their best possible advantage? Which smile comes across as the most natural, the most "you"?

    Find that picture and focus on what your face is doing. Then practice in front of a mirror until you get it just right. Keep practicing, and pay attention to how that great smile feels, so that you'll be able to replicate it without looking in a mirror. Soon it will become second nature, and you'll likely find that you'll look more photogenic in your next batch of pictures.

    If you want to improve your smile, look at pictures of smiles you believe are beautiful. Also, remember that you're beautiful (inside and out); your smile is bound to look better if you feel good about yourself!

    Note the difference between a smile and a grin. Grins bare a lot more teeth (think Cheshire Cat) and are not necessarily flattering on all people, although for some people they can make you appear cute. If you're prone to grinning and it's not doing your appearance any favors, try showing only your upper teeth when you smile. Showing your lower teeth can make it seem you're baring your teeth.

    When showing teeth, pressing the tongue behind the teeth will make small gaps look less noticeable.

    Practice smiling at random strangers. Make a choice that you'll do this, make brief eye contact with a person, and smile. As you do so, think happy thoughts (it helps to choose someone attractive to begin with). Don't choose a person with sunglasses; you need to see their eyes. Not everyone will smile back but note how you feel when they do!

    5. Maintain good oral hygiene. One thing that can cause you to fear smiling is the worry that there is something stuck between your teeth, or that you have bad breath. Eliminate these hygiene sources of worry by taking active steps to keep your mouth fresh and clean.

    Brush your teeth and tongue regularly, carry floss with you wherever you go so that you can clean up after dining, and have breath freshener on you at all times (natural or commercial).

    See your dentist regularly for teeth check-ups and cleaning, as well as discussing options for teeth straightening, etc., if this is a concern for you. When you smile people will inevitably look at your mouth, so following these considerations will help you make a better impression, and, more importantly, a healthy mouth will make you feel more confident about smiling.

    If your teeth are stained, consider your lifestyle habits that bring this about and try to minimize the impacts of such habits as smoking or drinking too much red wine, coffee, soft drinks, etc.

    Keep your lips in great shape to prevent chapping.
    Deal with bad breath. If it's surface, cleaning and fresheners should be adequate. If these do not work, it may be a sign of an underlying health problem, so see your doctor for advice.

    6. Expect smiling to be difficult in some situations. Smiling on demand can be difficult, whether it's for a photo or for the sake of keeping mom happy when the relatives you can't stand visit. This is because you are feeling self-conscious or you lack a genuine reason for smiling. In these sorts of cases, smiling needs to come from your memory of good smiles along with a little self-kidding or jokes in the head.

    For a photo, smile 20 percent more than you think you should.
    Smile wide and show the top row of teeth.

    7. Enjoy the many benefits of a smile. In order to want to smile, it really helps to know what benefits a smile can bring to your day. The following benefits are bound to make you lean towards sharing a grin with others most of the day:

    Smiles improve your appearance. Charles Gordy once quipped: "A smile is an inexpensive way to change your looks". All you need to do is think about how you feel about a person who is frowning and a person who is smiling – who tends to be the better looking?

    Smiles make things right again and say much more than words can. If you've goofed, said something less than complimentary, feel lost or alone, or feel down, a smile can restore the balance. It lets other people know that you're prepared to be open with them, and that you're willingly agreeing to make amends where needed.

    Smiles create trust and rapport. A smile is a great way of establishing mutual feelings of being on the same level as others, whether that is one-to-one or in front of a group giving a presentation. It says "I'm OK, you're OK, and we're all going to enjoy one another's company."

    Smiles make you feel good. Even if you're feeling a little blue, insert happy thoughts into your mind and just add that smile. It will trick your mind into feeling better, as endorphins are released to reduce physical or emotional stress.

    Smiles make other people feel good. An open-mouthed smile is visible from further away than a frown, offering people reassurance that you're friendly. And it makes people feel better to see a smile, from afar or close-up.
    Wrinkles are better when they're smile lines rather than frown lines. Mark Twain said: "Wrinkles should merely indicate where smiles have been"; viewed this way, smiles are an indication of your overall character, which becomes more and more outwardly telling as you age!

    Smiling is a good long-term predictor of happier life outcomes. It's correlated with health, happiness, friends, success, and a longer life.

    Source: wikihow.com

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  7. Buddhists really do know secret of happiness

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    By Mark Henderson, Science Correspondent, Times Online

     

    Buddhists who claim their religion holds the secret of happiness may have been proved right by science: brain scans of the devout have found exceptional activity in the lobes that promote serenity and joy.

    American research has shown that the brain’s “happiness centre” is constantly alive with electrical signals in experienced Buddhists, offering an explanation for their calm and contented demeanour.

    Neuroscientists think the preliminary findings could provide the first proof that religious training can change the way the brain responds to certain environmental triggers.

    The University of Wisconsin-Madison study team scanned the brains of people who had been practising Buddhists for several years, looking particularly at areas important for emotion, mood and temperament. They found that the left side — the “happiness centre” — was consistently highly active in Buddhists.

    “We can now hypothesise with some confidence that those apparently happy, calm Buddhist souls one regularly comes across in places such as Dharamsala (the Dalai Lama’s home) really are happy,” Professor Owen Flanagan of Duke University, North Carolina, writes in New Scientist.

    The positive effects were seen all the time, not only during meditation, which suggests that the Buddhist way of life may affect the way their brains work. Other research has also suggested that Buddhists have lower than usual activity in the part of the brain that processes fear and anxiety. These findings may eventually allow researchers to develop meditation techniques as treatments for depressive illnesses.

    Steve James, founder of the London Buddhist Centre, said the findings offered evidence of what Buddhism can do to improve happiness, and Paul Seto, director of the Buddhist Society, said: “Lots of people are excited about this, but we’ve known it all along. Buddhism hasn’t been waiting for scientific proof. We know it works.”

    “Happy indeed we live, friendly amidst the hostile. Amidst hostile men we dwell free from hatred.
    ~ Dhammapada 197”

    Source: http://www.parami.org


Live & Die for Buddhism

candle

Maha Ghosananda

Maha Ghosananda

Supreme Patriarch of Cambodian Buddhism (5/23/1913 - 3/12/07). Forever in my heart...

Problems we face today

jendhamuni pink scarfnature

Of the many problems we face today, some are natural calamities and must be accepted and faced with equanimity. Others, however, are of our own making, created by misunderstanding, and can be corrected...

Major Differences

Major Differences in Buddhism

Major Differences in Buddhism: There is no almighty God in Buddhism. There is no one to hand out rewards or punishments on a supposedly Judgement Day ...read more

My Reflection

My Reflection

This site is a tribute to Buddhism. Buddhism has given me a tremendous inspiration to be who and where I am today. Although I came to America at a very young age, however, I never once forget who I am and where I came from. One thing I know for sure is I was born as a Buddhist, live as a Buddhist and will leave this earth as a Buddhist. I do not believe in superstition. I only believe in karma.

A Handful of Leaves

A Handful of Leaves

Tipitaka: The pali canon (Readings in Theravada Buddhism). A vast body of literature in English translation the texts add up to several thousand printed pages. Most -- but not all -- of the Canon has already been published in English over the years. Although only a small fraction of these texts are available here at Access to Insight, this collection can nonetheless be a very good place to start.

Just the way it is

1. Accept everything just the way it is.
2. Do not seek pleasure for its own sake.
3. Do not, under any circumstances, depend on a partial feeling.
4. Think lightly of yourself and deeply of the world.
5. Be detached from desire your whole life long.
6. Do not regret what you have done.
7. Never be jealous.
8. Never let yourself be saddened by a separation.
9. Resentment and complaint are appropriate neither for oneself nor... read more