Friday, 13 January 2006

Kalachakra: Wildlife stall draws huge crowds at Buddhist religious meet in Amaravati

By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Jan 12: Even as Dalai Lama preached about peace and non-violence, his followers set up a special stall outside the Kalachakra venue spreading the message of love towards animal and plant life.
The stall of the Wildlife Trust of India is drawing an enthusiastic response from Buddhist pilgrims. Tibetan Conservation Awareness Campaign project officer Passang Lamo Bhutia told this correspondent that the Dalai Lama initiated the Tibetan conservation awareness campaign last year and since then they had been spreading the message of love for animals and plants.
According to her, the main objective of the campaign is to create awareness among the Tibetans and people from Himalayan region about wildlife conservation especially to stop illegal wildlife poaching and trade in endangered species like tiger and leopard.
She said "Chiru", a Tibetan antelope, was being killed in large numbers for its wool used in the weaving of Shahtoosh shawls. “A weaver needs the wool of three chirus to make one shawl,” Passang said.
The Central government has long ago banned killing of chiru for wool. But the animal is still killed by poachers.
The Dalai Lama has been very vocal in his speeches and teachings during the Kalachakra to stop this trade and thus people are coming forward to pledge in not indulging or use any such wildlife trade, she pointed out.
Miss Passang Lamo Bhutia hails from Kalmpong, West Bengal and she is assisted by a young Tibetan Environmental Researcher Tsering Dorjay. The Project is co-sponsored by Dr Barbara Maas of Care For the Wild, UK. Dr Maas will be in Amaravathi for two days from January 14. She will deliver a talk on wildlife conservation on January 15.

Thursday, 12 January 2006

Kalachakra: 25 modes or vows of conduct for attainment of Budhicitta

Syed Akbar
Amaravathi, Jan 12:  The dusty village of Amaravathi on the banks of the river Krishna woke up to the empowerment hymns of the Kalachakra after a gap of  nearly two millennia and two centuries as the 14th Dalai Lama on Thursday began the ritual prayers to initiate thousands of his followers into the Buddhist “Wheel of Time”. 
The Dalai Lama administered to his disciples 25 modes or vows of conduct as part of the preparatory ritual to attain the Budhicitta, which is attainment of realization of emptiness and compassion. He also launched the six-stage preparation of disciples to help them through an inner initiation empowering them to visualise themselves as Kalachakra in union with his consort Viswamata. 
After the disciples took the bodhisattva and tantric vows, Dalai Lama blessed their body, speech and mind. Each disciple was asked to cast a tooth prick into a small mandala to determine his or her tathagata lineage. The Dalai Lama, who took the role of the guru, gave the disciples consecrated water for three purificatory sips. It was followed by the presentation of red protection thread and two sheaves of Kusha grass. The disciples were then asked to renounce samsara and generate enthusiasm for tantric practice. 
With the initial preparation over for the Kalachakra empowerment, the final stage of actual empowerment will begin on Friday. It will conclude on January 16 with the dismantling of the sand mandala, the medium of spiritual energy and empowerment. 
The present Dalai Lama is the only Buddhist spiritual leader after Shakyamuni Buddha to have delivered the Kalachakra empowerment from the banks of the river Krishna in Amaravathi since the birth of Buddhism more than two millennia ago. On the first occasion the Buddha himself manifested in the form of Kalachakra before King Suchandra who had sought the Kalachakra initiation. This time the Dalai Lama played the role of the Guru. 
The 25 modes of conduct the Dalai Lama put forth before the disciples relate to five abandonment, five misdeeds, five murders, five angers and five attachments. 
The disciples took the vow not to kill other beings, tell lies to deceive others, sexual misconduct, steal others' belongings, drink alcohol, bet on games, wrongly acquired food, gossip and read meaningless writings, make sacrifices for ancestors, make bloody sacrifices and perform barbaric practices such as burning five fires on body, kill cattle, children, women, men, destroy stupas and bases of the exalted body speech and mind. The five angers are malicious thoughts towards, Vajra friends, the Vajra master, the Buddha, an assembly of four fully ordained monks, and the abbots and disciples while the five attachments are to visible forms, sound, odours, tastes and tangible objects. 

Kalchakra: It' summer time in winter season in Amaravati

Syed Akbar
Amaravathi, Jan 12:  Sankranti time is the coldest period of the winter season in South India. But it is quite “hot” in this ancient village of Buddhism. And for the 90,000 and odd Buddhist pilgrims from Tibet, Dharmasala and different parts of the world, the “scorching summer” has already set in.
The maximum temperature in Amaravathi, located on the picturesque banks of the river Krishna, was just 24 degrees Celsius with the minimum showing at 18 degrees C. For the local population numbering around 2400, it is wintry chill and to beat the cold they are wearing woolen sweaters.
Just a few steps away from the village, thousands of people are seen holding plastic hand-fans and drinking chilled soft drinks to beat the “heat”. The pilgrims, who outnumber the local villagers by at least 40 times, are used to extremely low temperatures in their native lands. Those from Lhasa (Tibet) have never experienced the real summer of the South India, for them the maximum temperature ever recorded was just 12.2 degrees, which is six degrees lower than the minimum temperature they are now exposed to in Amaravathi.
Pilgrims from Dharmasala or the Little Lhasa of India are also at discomfort over the “high” winter temperature in this part of the country.
Even Buddhist spiritual leader Dalai Lama, who has been supervising the Kalachakra rituals in Amaravathi since January 5, expressed concern over the hot temperature. “I want to deliver my discourses only during the morning hours. It is very hot and you people cannot withstand the heat,” he told the participants after he noticed them using hand fans.
Little children and old people are the worst hit. The children were seen crying unable to withstand the high temperature. Many mothers used wet cloths to wipe on the bodies of their children to beat the heat. The old drank lots of orange juice and ate ice creams.
And in the process the people who benefited the most from the “Amaravathi summer” were the local shop-keepers. They sold thousands of soft drink, mineral water and fruit juice bottles as the Buddhist pilgrims made a queue at the shops.
“We do not sell soft drinks leave alone ice creams during winter. But during the past eight days we had to make several orders for fresh stocks. Ice cream and ordinary ice cubes are in great demand,” a local trader Subba Rao told this correspondent.

Stories of Kalachakra: Dalai Lama calls for unity of all people, religions

By Syed Akbar
Amaravathi, Jan 12: Dalai Lama on Thursday emphasised the need for religious harmony and universal brotherhood of mankind.
Administering the self-generation prayers as part of the Kalachakra initiation programme on the banks of the river Krishna in this ancient village, Dalai Lama said every human being had the right to practice his or her religion.
"Whether one has faith in religion or not but one should develop love and compassion for all the living beings in the universe," the Tibetan spiritual leader observed.
The teachings of Sakyamuni Buddha have scientific basis and are still relevant today, he said. “How life came into existence is clearly explained in Buddhism as is done in science. Everybody in the world is against war and everyone wants peace,” the Dalai Lama pointed out.
He said one should not use religion for the purpose of business. “It should be used for the benefit of all sentient beings and follow the correct path. There have been a lot of complaints about Buddhist practice not being done properly. However, there is no fault in Buddhist religion or the teachings of Buddha. It is the fault of the individuals who do not follow them properly. Therefore, practice as per instructions,” he observed.
“Let us remember Buddha and meditate him along with Acharya Nagarjuna and his followers who have contributed so much for the Buddhist religion. Spreading Buddhism doesn’t fulfill by constructing stupas, statues or monasteries but by pure practice. Have a pure mind. Give up greed, jealousy, and selfishness. Thinking about self develops more worries than happiness.When one prays for the humanity, he will develop better Karma. Make it a daily routine to pray for all sentient beings and one will have peace of mind. As in business where we look for more profit with less capital we can get better peace of mind by praying for the humanity than for self,” he exhorted his followers.
“It will take time for one to change but don’t lose hope. Practice will lead in the right direction,” he said.
Earlier, the Dalai Lama administered the Bodhisattva vow to the disciples. “As this vow has been taken in this holy shrine where Buddha preached Kalachakra for the first time, it is a very precious thing and therefore everyone should consider they are fortunate and pray for humanity. Then all the devotees were given blessed water for mind purification. They were also supplied Kusha grass brooms and protection cords. The devotees are told to put them under their beds and observe the type of dreams they experience during night or in the early hours of morning.,
Before the self-generation prayers began, the Buddhist monks chanted prayers for Buddha and world peace.

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