Archive for July, 2008

The Kingdom of Heaven

Wednesday, July 30th, 2008

I had my parents over for lunch about 10 days ago and during the conversation they debated whether the doctrine of the church in which I was raised was whether all it took for salvation was accepting Christ as the saviour or did one have to proselytise as well. Very different I thought to myself from the buddhist preference of only speaking about the dharma is asked. And there were these and those scriptures of supporting each point of view.

It started to strike me in my late teens that I wasn’t getting the whole story in bible studies and they certainly didn’t like me asking questions. Maybe they had an underlying suspicion that they didn’t have all the answers.

So during my parent’s debate over lunch I asked what it meant where it says in the Bible that

And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:

Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.

At the time when asked I didn’t offer what I thought it meant. but, if the kingdom of heaven is within it makes senses to adopt a practise that understands that, you would think.

By dwelling our mind on evil things, hell arises. By dwelling our mind on good acts, paradise appears. – Hui Neng

If it’s within go within through the practise of meditation.

It sometimes surprises me that Buddhism is seen as a religion. But then there are a lot of trappings that certainly appear to give it that appearance:- doctrine, stupas, statues, relics, ritual. Indeed I possess a number of buddha statues. It is doubtful that they look anything like Siddhartha as the form was inspired by the Greeks. For me they’re simply rather interesting reminders to practise.

And if it is a religion, how is that other religious practitioners like rabbis and christian monastics find their way to the practise? What’s drawing them? There’s a lovely article on this matter called Christian Enlightenment, which is well worth a read.

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A field of mindfulness

Monday, July 28th, 2008

In a family, if there is one person who practices mindfulness, the entire family will be more mindful. Because of the presence of one memeber who lives in mindfulness, the entire family is reminded to live in mindfulness. If in one class, one student lives in mindfulness, the entire class is influenced. – Thich Nanh Hanh

While I intellectually understand that all beings arise within one’s own mind and that we vow to liberate all beings within our minds. Thich Nanh Hanh‘s idea above fits with my own experience a lot better.

And it truly inspires me as indeed did the movie “Doing Time, Doing Vipassana” ( which I managed to find at Vipassana Publications Aotearoa for only $6.50), in which a new inspector general of prisons puts officers and inmates alike on a ten day vipassana course. The transformation of the inmates lives seemed wonderful. Also inspiring were the volunteers that gave the course.

I’m not sure what it is that I want to do, but there is something around giving to the community that I’m in, wherever that may be. I find it so reassuring that my practise benefits others that it gives me the confidence to extend that somehow. Yes, I give money, but I haven’t given time.

So what will it be? I don’t know. I’ve discovered that sitting and waiting for inspiration can take some time, but doing and allowing inspiration to occur within the doing seems to work better. Something around stillness within activity.

Anyway I checked out the Auckland City Mission and it seems they’d rather have donations than volunteers and that’s fine. I guess these organisations develop their own ways of doing things and to avoid chaos people need to fit into their structures; theirs is a business hours one. They can have some money. So what is it then?

I then found Volunteering NZ, which appears to be a great resource. And I learned that over one million New Zealanders are actively involved in volunteer work. That’s almost one quarter of the population that feels it has enough time to contribute to the community. It is wonderful. Let’s see what they suggest.

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The Dhamma Brothers

Friday, July 25th, 2008

For more information on the book and the film visit

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