Okay, “Enlightenment or bust” might be a bit dramatic, but…

"Dang Zang" is an empty name. The blog has to do with the dharma; material related to Buddhist teachings (Tibetan style in particular, Kagyu in even more particular), meditation, gurus and lamas be they genuine or flaky, books and events. I do have a more personal blog, Pica Pica, and a site for my work.

Oh yes, it's by Alex Wilding

Archive

  • Still reeling 01/12/2016
    I have not blogged since the US election. Why not? Because I don’t understand. The media world is at present full of gurus trying to explain it. The best of them realise that they are groping  and, like the rest of us, are waiting for  wisdom to emerge. The ones who “know” the answer are probably […]
  • Free Tesco parking if you buy straight bananas 13/11/2016
    Laura Leeks was reportedly refused free car parking at Tesco because the only thing she had gone into the shop for was baby formula. According to some jobsworth at Tesco’s, to allow her the free car parking would amount to a promotion of that product, which is not allowed. Before I get to the point, […]
  • Second tries and Brexit 09/11/2016
    Yes, that topic again. I heard it again last night: “MPs voted six-to-one to give the decision to the British people.” NO THEY DIDN’T! MPs voted six-to-one (I’ll assume that figure is correct) to consult the British people. They did that. They had a referendum. An advisory one, as usual, not a binding referendum. We […]
  • Secret Brexit negotiations – not good enough, Teresa! 08/11/2016
    Current government and pro-Brexit spin is making a very big deal out of the argument that the negotiations that are presumably going to take place at some stage are like a game of poker. They must not, therefore “show their hand in advance”, which is to say that they would like their policy-making to be […]
Friday November 4th, 2016. Posted by Alex W:

Retiring blog?

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:

Message from The Gyalwang Karmapa Concerning the Recent Earthquake

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.

Image equake HHK

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:

A beautiful picture of Karma Pakshi

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.

Karma Pakshi Mandala

Isn’t it nice?

Wednesday October 9th, 2013. Posted by Alex W:

Akong Rinpoche – shock is the only word

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!

http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2013/oct/09/british-monk-killed-china

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-south-scotland-24449692

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-south-scotland-24461299

http://www.businessinsider.com.au/british-monk-who-co-founded-the-wests-first-tibetan-monastery-murdered-in-china-2013-10

http://news.msn.co.nz/worldnews/8736412/british-tibetan-monk-killed-in-china

Friday May 31st, 2013. Posted by Alex W:

Dalai acceptable as arbitrator in Karmapa dispute

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:

Old colour film of Tibet

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:

A Losar card for the virtual mantlepiece

Year of Snake 2013 email card