Kansho Tagai, a Buddhist monk known as MC Happiness, believes in keeping the appeal of his religion fresh.
He regularly holds music sessions at a 400-year old temple in central Tokyo to teach Buddhist principles and rituals through hip hop.
Tagai’s status as Japan’s premier rapper monk has turned him into a local icon with a loyal fan base of followers and performance artists.
Al Jazeera’s Zeina Awad reports…(video) Holy
Bodhi Day (Japanese: 成道会 or “Jōdō-e”), traditionally December 8th, is the Buddhist holiday that commemorates the day that the historical Buddha, Shakyamuni or Siddhartha Gautauma, experienced enlightenment, also known as Bodhi in Sanskrit or Pali. According to tradition, Siddhartha had recently forsaken years of extreme ascetic practices and decided to sit under a Pipul tree and simply meditate until he found the root of suffering, and how to liberate one’s self from it.
Traditions vary on what happened. Some say he made a great vow to nirvana and Earth to find the root of suffering, or die trying. In other traditions, while meditating he was harassed and tempted by the Hindu god Mara, Lord of Illusion. Other traditions simply state that he entered deeper and deeper states of meditation, confronting the nature of the self.
Regardless, all traditions agree that as the Morning Star rose in the sky in the early morning, Siddhartha finally found the answers he sought and became Enlightened, and experienced Nirvana. Having done so, Siddhartha now became a Buddha or “Awakened One”.
Like “extreme” sports, we bring an urgency, intensity and exhilaration to the practices of self-discovery and the pathway to enlightenment that are distinctly non-ordinary.
Whatever happened to the Middle Path?
Somebody’s gonna make a buck
Before th’ night is through
Nobody’s gonna get ‘er done
A’pushin’ for th’ truth….
The recent spate of interest in Buddhism in magazines (like Time) and on television (like “The Oprah Winfrey Show”) inspired the students in my BS (for Buddhist Studies) 230: Introduction to Buddhism to compile a list of the ten most common misconceptions that Americans have about Buddhism. The students were the first to admit that they themselves held many of these very misconceptions just a few months ago. Now they know better. The list is provided below, with commentary: …
BOWIE, Ariz. — Deep in a remote desert valley, Stephane Dreyfus and several dozen other Buddhists are preparing to undergo a mind-altering journey: three years, three months and three days of silence. There will be no word from the outside world in the Great Retreat, only the deafening quiet of sand, rock and cactus…
[T]he Por Tek Tung Foundation [is] Bangkok’s largest provider of emergency medical services. Created by Chinese immigrants in Thailand’s capital more than 100 years ago, Por Tek Tung began by offering free funeral services for the city’s poor, and now specializes in quick-response rescues. You can spot its staff—over a thousand, nearly all unpaid—by their distinctive blue jumpsuits as they drive around in packs, on the lookout for road accidents.
If this sounds a touch morbid, consider that last year alone a motorist was killed in Bangkok every 36 minutes. The city has five and a half million registered vehicles; drivers scorn speed limits and traffic rules, and unhelmeted motorcyclists carelessly zip in and out of congested lanes. The result is regularly lethal.
Por Tek Tung also handles murders, airplane crashes, collapsed buildings, and boating mishaps. But whatever the tragedy, the foundation’s main duty is “body-snatching”—rushing the still-living to hospitals and ferrying the dead to morgues. …
They are all volunteers.
More than 17,000 people from across the country packed the Kaohsiung Arena yesterday morning as the Dalai Lama held a two-hour prayer ceremony for the victims of Typhoon Morakot.
Although the ceremony officially started at 9:30am, many people began lining up on Monday night and by 9am the stadium was packed….
“The question that arose in my mind is, ‘Why is there so much suffering?’ Christianity did not have a satisfactory answer,” said Thomas Dyer, a former Baptist minister. Dyer is now the first Buddhist chaplain in the U.S. Army.
People’s beliefs are greatly influenced by many factors; two of the most important are culture, tradition, and religion. Culture often trumps religion. For example, in the case of the worldwide Anglican Communion, many believers in the U.S. and Canadian provinces feel that the denomination is in a state of sin because it does not grant equal rights to homosexuals. Many believers in African provinces believe that Anglican Community is in a state of sin because some Anglicans support equal rights for lesbians and gays. Here we have a single religious movement, using the same Bible as their holy book, sharing the same rituals, sharing a common history for many centuries. Yet they take opposite views on homosexuality because of their differing cultures.
The same cultural overlay phenomenon may be happening in Buddhism as well…
A pleasant three-hour train ride from the popular tourist destination of Varanasi transports you worlds away to the bustling town of Gaya in the less-traveled state of Bihar, widely known as one of the poorest and most lawless in India….
The mind must be monitored and inventoried like an alcoholic in recovery or a Washington lobbyist: It never goes away until it gets what it wants. And what it wants is to be in control at all times. But control is not part of the deal of being a human being. We may rightly try to confront injustices, but some things can only be seen, noted, and accepted for what they are.