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In the Mahayana tradition of buddhism the bodhisattva Avolokitesvara is revered for his compassion and his concern for other beings. This maha – sattva has a face turned at every angle and a hand and arm reaching out in every direction. Even more intriguing is his name which is translated from the sanskrit as – “he who looks down … More Listen

A Mindful Christmas

It seems unlikely Charles Dickens knew anything about the buddhist practise of ‘sati‘ when he wrote a Christmas Carol in 1843. It was still a few years before the term was translated into English as ‘mindfulness’ by victorian Pali scholar Rhys Davids. Surprisingly though, Dickens may have unwittingly defined mindfulness in a way that is often missed in … More A Mindful Christmas

Appropriate Appropriation

The commonest criticisms levelled at secular teachings of mindfulness are not coming from the sceptical side of the scientific community but rather from the traditional cultures out of which mindfulness practise evolved; east asian buddhism and it’s western variants. Some buddhists feel that mindfulness, taken out of its religious context, is a watered down and … More Appropriate Appropriation

The Origins of Violence

Yet again we are confronted with the horror of terrorism. The recent attacks in Paris are sadly another example of similar events throughout the world. Let’s not forget Lebanon is also mourning it’s dead. Unfortunately there will be more like this to come… To feel compassion and sorrow for the victims of the Paris and Lebanon attacks should be our first … More The Origins of Violence

The Beggar

Translating languages can be a tricky endeavour. Words have so many associations within the culture of one language that the corresponding literal translation may not even have the same meaning in another. Harder still is when the language we are translating is 2000 years old and currently not spoken as a vernacular.   There are many … More The Beggar

A Deeper Mystery

On the seminal 1980s British television discussion programme ‘After Dark’, Jonathan Miller, filmmaker, doctor and public intellectual was challenged, during a debate on the supernatural, for his skeptical views. Somewhat exasperated and fatigued by a lot of ramblings from the other contributors about poltergeist, spirits and ghosts he put forward the following thoughts framed as questions – Why … More A Deeper Mystery