A buddhist temple, Dragon Spring Temple in Beijing, China has developed a robot monk named "XianEr" which was unveiled at the temple's National Day Gala celebration earlier this mont
Steven Seagal Wants To Rebuild Europe's First Buddhist Temple
Friday, October 29, 2010
Yeongsan Jae is one of the most important, traditional Buddhist rituals in Korea. This ceremony is held in hopes of leading both the living and the dead into the joy of enlightenment and perpetual peace.
Yeongsan Jae is one of several kinds of memorial services, which might be performed on the 49th day after one's death, its purpose being to guide the soul of the deceased to the Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss (Buddhist paradise). Sometimes it is performed in seven-day intervals up until the 49th day after one's death.
Basically, this ceremony is a reenactment of a significant event in the life of Sakyamuni Buddha, which is called the Vulture Peak Assembly. It is here that he first preached ``The Lotus Sutra’’ and gave the teachings to Kasyapa, one of his disciples, who responded with a subtle smile. The main objective of this ceremony is to soothe the souls of the dead and lead them to be reborn in the Pure Land, but sometimes this ceremony is also held to invoke blessings for the security and development of the nation.
The ceremony is performed as follows: in preparation, a scroll painting of the Vulture Peak Assembly with the image of Buddha is hung and an altar is presented in front of it. This is called the ``upper altar’’ where offerings of incense, tea, flowers, fruit, lanterns and rice are prepared. To the left of this altar, a middle altar is prepared where the meal service will be conducted, and to the right, a lower altar is set up where the actual ceremony for the soul of the deceased will be conducted.
After assembling these altars, the large temple bell is rung as a signal to begin the ceremony, and the Buddha, Bodhisattvas, Devas and guardians are beseeched to come down from heaven and participate while those attending call on a parade ground and invite the soul of the deceased. At the same time, a verse of praise for Buddha’s great virtue is sung, and musicians play various musical instruments, such as the Korean fiddle, the drum, the ``janggu” (a smaller Korean drum) and the ``geomungo” (Korean lute). In time with the music, such Buddhist ritual dances such as the ``Bara Chum” (Symbal dance), ``Nabi Chum” (Buttlerfly dance) and ``Beobgo Chum” (Dharma dance) are also performed. All these dances are intended to express the true Dharma (teaching) of Buddha.
After the soul of the deceased is enshrined, the other parts of the ceremony such as the reception, the donation, Dharma talks and the blessing are carried out, and the participants pray for good fortune, happiness and health. Lastly, as a final farewell to the deceased, all the participants form a queue and circle the altar chanting sutras.
In the past, the whole ceremony took three days and nights, but now it is usually finished in a single day. Through this ceremony, the deceased and the participants become one for the purpose of awakening the true Dharma of Buddha and leading the way to free everyone from earthly suffering and delusion.
The origin of the Vulture Peak Ceremony is not clear, but the ``Joseonbulgyo Tongsa” (The Entire Buddhist History of Joseon Kingdom), written by Lee Neung-hwa (1869~1943), provides evidence that it was performed in the first half of the Joseon Kingdom.
This ceremony was designated by the Korean government as a major intangible cultural property (No. 50) in 1987. Since then, the Taego Order (太古宗) of Korean Buddhism has taken the initiative to revive it by establishing the ``Yeongsan-jae Bojon Wiwonhoe’’ (Vulture Peak Ceremony Preservation Association) and by performing the ceremony in Korea as well as over 20 foreign countries.
Bongwon Temple, the main temple of the Taego Order, is now the official preserver and teaching center for this ceremony and conducts annual performances on Korean Memorial Day, June 6. The order also has arranged international seminars with the aim of introducing this ritual to other countries.
In addition, the Jogae Order has established the ``Bulgyo Eosan Jakbeop Hakgyo’’ (Eosan Buddhist Ritual School) with the aim to teach and transmit other Buddhist rituals and ceremonies, including the Vulture Peak Ceremony.
Currently, the Vulture Peak Ceremony Preservation Association consists of 240 instructors. A monk, Kim In-sik (Buddhist name: Guhae), is the primary ceremony expert on Buddhist music, following the ranks of Jigwang, Byeokeung, Songam and Ileung. Assisting him are Ma Myeong-chan, Lee Su-gil, Oh Chan-yeong, Lee Byeong-u, Lee Jo-won and Han Hui-ja, who are all teachers of Buddhist music and dance and the making of ornamental paper flowers used in the ritual.
On Sept. 30, 2009, the Vulture Peak Ceremony and four other Korean cultural assets were listed as ``Intangible Cultural Heritages of Humanity’’ by UNESCO.
In view of the special status bestowed by UNESCO, the Vulture Peak Ceremony is clearly one of the most valuable heritages in Korea's Buddhist traditions
Monday, October 25, 2010
Korean Buddhist monks and nuns have their heads shaved every 15 days. In some countries like Thailand even the eyebrows are shaved. They shave each other’s head and do not do it by themselves, which signifies the wish to help and support each other. Shaving the head is not only a conventional tradition but a practice for getting rid of useless worldly desires and illusions in order to concentrate on pursuing the goal. It makes practitioners examine themselves and awaken their own consciousness.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Who is this ? A Buddha's in student's robe ?
No, it's the latest god to appear in China. Over there they call 'him' the 'God Of Test'. Students, mostly taking the extremely competitive entrance examinations log in to a website featuring this 'God of Test' to pray for good results in their examinations.
This 'God of Test' was first highlighted in June this year during the examination season in China and at that time, the website alraady had 40 million members who would log in, write down their prayers, praying to get the blessings from the 'God Of Test'.
A survey carried out discovered that though most of those who prayed to this 'God of Test' were high school students taking college entrance examinations, students taking various examinations or test like civil examinations, auditions, sports selection, driving test and even job interviews also logged in to pray to this internet god. A number of parents also did the same to pray for their children.
Students interviewed said that it's a trend now to pray online, no longer need to burn insense in temples. However many said that they prayed to this god to release their intense pressure during the examination time. ( College or university entrance examination is extremely competitive in China. During the examination season, not only the students but their parents are under extreme pressure to do well in the exams)
What's interesting about this 'God of Test' is that sometimes 'he' would revert an encouragement message to the students like ' study hard, then you do not need to pray to me '.
This new trend of praying has drawn the attention from the experts who said that there are pros and cons to this online praying. It would be fine if students log in to pray just to ease their pressure but it would have detrimental effects on students who believe and rely solely on this 'God of Test' to do well.
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Nationality : Philippines
Profession : Actress / Comedian
She discovered Buddhism during her trip to Thailand in 2006 and was greatly inspired by the Buddhist way of life and shortly thereafter she decided to convert to her new found faith. She practices Theravada School of Buddhism. According to her Buddhism has allowed her to create her insights based on her own experiences and reasoning rather than blind faith. She tries to stay away from desires for it brings about anger, greed and lust. She just wants to live a life of benovelance and tries her best not to harm anyone.
Sunday, October 17, 2010
He turned 75 on recently and by all accounts he's in good health. But, inevitably, the question of who will succeed one of the world's most revered spiritual leaders looms large.
Increasingly, the spotlight has been turned to the Karmapa Lama. He is close to the Dalai Lama and calls him "a spiritual and personal father figure." As head of one of the major schools of Tibetan Buddhism, he is also an accomplished scholar in his own right. But he's of a new generation.
He plays video games and spends time after meditation listening to rap music. On a recent visit to his monastery in Sidbhari, a village near the Dalai Lama's exile home in the northern Indian town of Dharamsala, the Karmapa Lama tossed around ideas for which team might win the World Cup — not exactly the subject that first comes to mind when you think monastery and Dalai Lama.
"Some people were saying Argentina would win but now they have lost and are gone so now people are saying Germany," said the Karmapa.
There's no doubt the Karmapa Lama is an unusual young man. His is an eclectic mix that bridges the gap between old and young. It's also turned him into the modern icon of the Tibetan struggle against China for autonomy.
Born Ogyen Trinley Dorje on June 26, 1985, he was pronounced the 17th incarnation of the Karmapa Lama as a 7-year-old boy and whisked away to a monastery near the capital Lhasa. He was quickly recognized by China which hoped it had found a potentially powerful rival to the Dalai Lama.
But a 25-year-old Karmapa had other plans.
"At 18 I might have had to take a position in the Chinese government hierarchy ... and turn against the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan cause. That was one of the reasons I decided to leave."
Leave he did, fleeing his home in rural Tibet for India, embarking on an eight-day journey by foot and horseback across the Himalayas. China was infuriated by the dramatic escape that echoed the Dalai Lama's flight four decades earlier.
The fact that many believe he is being groomed for the top is hardly a secret, but the prospect of taking on such responsibility has failed to enthrall the young man.
"I'm not very excited about the possibility but His Holiness has great faith and hope in the young generation and I'm part of the young generation so I will do what I can to support his work and hope to leave behind a rich legacy like his," said the Karmapa.
He isn't the only one downplaying the hype. The Dalai Lama's spokesman, Tenzin Taklha, praises the young monk but said no one knows what will happen after the Dalai Lama.
"[The Karmapa] is charismatic, good-looking and has great potential. He's a promising leader and will certainly be one of our most important spiritual leaders but I could not say he is the only next leader."
Tibetan Youth Congress President Tsewang Rigzin echoes Taklha's caution, explaining that while the Karmapa is a "potential spiritual leader, it's just too early to tell."
The Dalai Lama has discussed his succession although no decisions have been made.
Traditionally monks in Tibet would fan out across the region to find the Dalai Lama's reincarnation after his death, but some fear China will hijack the situation and insert its own chosen figure, as it did in 1995 with the Panchen Lama. At that time, the Dalai Lama named a competing incarnation, who promptly vanished.
This time, the Dalai Lama has signaled he could break with tradition and name a spiritual leader to succeed him prior to his death.
While the succession question remains unanswered, for now there's universal agreement that losing the Dalai Lama would be a devastating blow.
"When you don't have a leader you are very lost so it'll have huge impact on the Tibetan exiled community and Tibetans in Tibet, as well as globally ... I cannot even contemplate that in my everyday life," said the Karmapa with a sigh, his broad shoulders slumping.
For now the Karmapa's everyday life is packed with study, meditation and meetings with people that range from community leaders to Hollywood celebrities like Richard Gere.
India has granted him asylum but restricts his travel, wary of aggravating already tense relations with neighboring China. The Karmapa has been abroad only once in 11 years, when he went to the United States in 2008.
It's a source of great frustration to a young man itching to spread his wings and meet his spiritual brethren around the world.
"Lots of people are waiting for me to come to their countries so it is upsetting as I can't fulfill their wishes," he said.
He may be struggling to fulfill his followers wishes abroad but closer to home the Karmapa is doing just fine.
"Young people love the Karmapa," said Lobsang Rampa, a 22-year-old student who arrived in Dharamsala from Tibet five years ago. "He's one of us, the younger generation, he's our future."