Friday November 4th, 2016. Posted by Alex W:
This blog has been around for between 15 and 20 years – I can’t quite remember when I first started it, but it was before the millennium. It hardly needs saying that the internet has changed since then.
There was a time, long before Google became what it is today, when a list of interesting websites obtained from a friend was a valuable resource – many blogs had carefully curated lists of trusted, relevant and interesting “friend” sites. People would look at these lists and explore them. The number of websites relevant to any given topic has mushroomed, and I rather doubt if even making it a full-time occupation would be enough to keep track. Nowadays you just search for what you are interested in, and under the rule of “buyer beware” try to see how valuable any given search result is.
Although my commitment to practice and study of the Dharma is pretty much the same as ever, I don’t, for a variety of reasons, have my “ear to the ground” like I did 20 years ago. So being a “net-savvy” Buddhist is no longer particularly valuable, and I am no more “in the know” than anyone else with access to the internet.
Neither do I see any great value in publishing “musings”, reflections or writings here. Other people can do that better.
I am therefore very strongly thinking of closing this blog. If, by some remote chance, anyone thought there was something here that they wanted to take a copy of, you’d perhaps better do it soon. I’m not setting a fixed timetable for this, but the blog may well not last much into 2017.
Monday April 27th, 2015. Posted by Alex W:
Today, in the morning of the 25th of April, in Nepal, the land where Lord Buddha was born, there occurred a devastating earthquake. Many thousands of people have been killed or injured, and historic buildings and private homes have been turned into ruins. As soon as I learned of this painful and distressing situation, I made my deepest aspiration prayers and dedications for all the people affected, and continue to do so. Especially at times when we are faced with such a desperate situation, we cannot sit idle, unfeelingly. We must join forces and carry the burden of sorrow together. It is important that each one of us light the lamp of courage. Additionally, it is important that each of the Karma Kagyu monasteries in Nepal, while looking after their own pressing needs for immediate protection, also extend any and all aid and protection they can to the public in their surrounding communities. From my own side, I will make every effort to come personally in the near future to offer my solace and support as well.
For those who feel they want to provide help – and in these circumstances, plain old money is one of the best ways – may want to do so through an organisation with a track record in the area. One such is ROKPA International.
Friday February 20th, 2015. Posted by Alex W:
Like many blogs, social media have weakened this one. But, even for the Buddhist, things are so annoyingly ephemeral there. Haven’t you had the experience where you see something interesting on Facebook, and 12 minutes later you want to look at it again and it is lost in the blizzard of *stuff*? So that’s why I have come back to the blog for this.
Karma Pakshi has been an important practice for me since the late 70s, and is my main practice these days. Recently I was looking around for a better picture – the one I had, which I bought from Samye Ling “back then”, had become very faded. I looked around on the net to find a nice one, and one that I particularly liked was published by Palpung Changchub Dargyeling in South Wales. Iconographically, it appears to be very good, with correct details that you don’t always see. But there was one bizarre strangeness about it, and one thing that I felt wasn’t quite right. Firstly, the “chojung” on or in which he sits, usually represented as two crossed triangles, is red on the inside and white on the outside (a fairly standard colouring), and this is shown iconographically by a red triangle with a white rim. The artist, however, had got carried away by his or her paintbox, and painted the edge a vivid blue. Without going into detail, this is not something you can arbitrarily change. The smaller point is that Mahakala’s knife, which is made of copper, was also painted in a blueish colour more suggestive of steel.
For my own purposes I made a copy and worked on it digitally to turn the blue edge white and the blade of the knife a brownish colour. The people at the centre have given me permission to publish it here, in case anybody else would like to use it.
Isn’t it nice?
Wednesday October 9th, 2013. Posted by Alex W:
Any of my friends who are interested in this will doubtless already know that Akong Rinpoche was killed, along with two others, in Chengdu yesterday.
Word went out yesterday afternoon that it was an “assassination”, but other stories suggested natural causes. The very few facts that have emerged so far seem rather to suggest that “murder” would be the right word to use. But it would be foolish to say that we know at this stage what has happened.
I have nothing to add. I met Rinpoche only two or three times over the years, but did receive an empowerment for 1000-armed Chenrezi from him some years ago in Cork. I was essentially aware of how tirelessly he had worked not only for the Dharma, but also on a wide range of more “general” humanitarian causes, and done so without seeming to seek much by way of fame or recognition. In one brief conversation I had with him I recall him saying “It’s nothing – it’s my job.”
He will be missed.
Some of the reports below have missed the rather obvious point that it is many, many years since he was a monk!
Friday May 31st, 2013. Posted by Alex W:
How odd. It’s in the Times of India
A flash in the pan, or is there something going on?
Thursday March 21st, 2013. Posted by Alex W:
This has been around for a couple of years, but I only just came across it. It’s really rather good, if you like this kind of thing:
The Lost World of Tibet
Wednesday January 30th, 2013. Posted by Alex W: