The Most Unusual Pub in Devon

The Highwayman Inn in Sourton

Can you guess the unusual feature of this house? This house is believed to date back to around 11th – 12th century and was built as an inn on the edge of Dartmoor National Park and not very far from Lydford Gorge and Okehampton Castle in England, United Kingdom. It is allegedly believed to be haunted and you can book to eat and stay there. When we visited the place it was eerily quiet and the pub was shut, unfortunately.

There was a message board near the church gate of St Thomas Becket which is on the opposite of this inn where one particular piece of information was interesting to read. It was here in Sourton on the 25th April 1643 that the battle of Sourton Down the first English civil war was fought between the Roundheads (Parliamentarians) and the Cavaliers (Royalists). This was a disaster for the Cavaliers who by dawn had fled in disarray to Bridestowe in Devon which is not very far from Sourton, leaving behind many weapons, stores and horses. What happened next following this civil war and several others changed the course of the history of how the country was governed and what we see today.

The Highwayman Inn

This is the most unusual pub in England. You can visit the inn and try their meals or if you dare, even stay there for the night. Woo-woo, be warned it’s said that the place is haunted.

Advertisements
Posted in Social | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Saga Dawa 16th May to 16th June

Saga Dawa Month 16th May to 16th June

This whole month is dedicated to our most precious teacher Shakyamuni Buddha as it is believed on the fourth month of the Tibetan calendar month is when he was born, attained enlightenment (nirvana), and finally into Parinirvana (death). Buddhist people generally give up eating meat during the month of Saga Dawa and if they can’t give up they are encouraged at least not to hurt or kill any animal.

It is one of the most sacred months of the year in Buddhist calendar. Any good deeds you perform during this sacred month, its benefit will be multiplied by several times.

The Most Important Days during the month of Saga Dawa are as detailed below:

  • Birth of the Buddha on May 21st
  • Buddha’s Enlightenment and Parinirvana on May 29th

Happy Saga Dawa to you all and Tashi Delek.

Om Mani Padme Hum!

Posted in Buddhism | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Daily Dharma from Tricycle

Here is the compilation of daily dharma quotes I received via email from the Tricycle. I love reading them and thought you might too. If you would like you can also subscribe to receive your own daily dharma quotes too. 

Open to Your Feelings
When we open to our feelings as they arise, we create the causes and conditions of mental and physical health.

—Josh Korda, “Flowing Feelings

True Peace
Suffering comes to an end only when a person is so in touch with life that he or she is completely at peace, regardless of physical or emotional circumstances.

—Ken McLeod, “Bodhicitta Explained

Connecting to the Body
In body awareness meditation, we open to a reunion of body and mind by exploring the sensations of our thoughts and feelings.

—Ruth King, “Soothing the Hot Coals of Rage

Buddhahood Is Within You
Some people think that one can become a buddha through meditation. This is wrong. The potential for Buddhahood is within your own nature.

—Master Sheng-Yen, “Being Natural

Embrace Uncertainty
We have a choice. We can spend our whole life suffering because we can’t relax with how things really are, or we can relax and embrace the open-endedness of the human situation, which is fresh, unfixated, unbiased.

—Pema Chödrön, “The Fundamental Ambiguity of Being Human

The Power of Simplicity
The
 principle of renunciation is not to encourage a state of lack, but to establish as complete a state of simplicity as possible. In that simplicity you can more clearly see those patterns of wanting, not wanting, fearing, hoping, as they take shape.

—Interview with Venerable Ajaan Amaro by Mary Talbot, “Just Another Thing in the Forest

The Path of Understanding
Bodhicitta is the path of understanding who you are in thefathomless nature of infinite contingency, and then developingthe skills to navigate this reality—your life—in a way that is awakening for both yourself and for others.

—Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel, “Nurturing the Intelligent Heart

Focus on Giving, Not Getting
On the spiritual path, there’s nothing to get, and everything to get rid of. Obviously, the first thing to let go of is trying to “get” love, and instead to give it. That’s the secret of thespiritual path. One has to give oneself wholeheartedly.

—Ayya Khema, “What Love Is

Agree to Disagree
It is inevitable that there will be a wide range of beliefs, opinions, practices, and behaviors in this large and diverse world. It is not inevitable that people must hate one another on account of this.

—Andrew Olendzki, “Advice for Conflict

Spring Cleaning for Your Mind
If I view [everyday chores] as tasks to rush through on the way to something more important, they become a crushing waste of time. But from the perspective of Buddhist teachings, each of these activities is a golden moment, an opportunity for full awakening.

—Anne Cushman, “Clearing Clutter

Experience Emotions with Equanimity
We can be angry, jealous, or scared without having to act on those emotions or let them take over our lives. We can experience joy or love without becoming attached to the object that we think is the cause of our joy.

—Tsoknyi Rinpoche, “Allow for Space

Unlikely Teachers
Both our pain and our suffering are truly our path, our teacher. While this understanding doesn’t necessarily entail liking our pain or our suffering, it does liberate us from regarding them as enemies we have to conquer.

—Ezra Bayda, “When It Happens to Us

No Matter What Happens
It doesn’t matter what is happening. What matters is how we are relating to our experience.

—Tara Brach, “Making Room for Desire

The Self Will Surprise You
The
 realization of no self is not at all nihilistic. It simply means that the self is something different from what we habitually assume it to be.

—Guo Jun, “The Calligrapher’s Apprentice

The Joy of Giving
At its most basic level, dana [generosity] in the Buddhist tradition means giving freely without expecting anything in return.

—Gil Fronsdal, “The Joy of Giving

How to Speak with Care
When we speak with greater skill, our true self—our compassionate, loving self—emerges with gentle ease. So before you speak, stop, breathe, and consider if what you are about to say will improve upon the silence.

—Allan Lokos, “Skillful Speech

How to Truly Relax
When we understand that nothing exists independently, everything that does arise seems more dreamlike and less threatening. This brings a deep sense of relaxation, and we feel less need to control our mind and circumstances.

—Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche, “The Theater of Reflection

We Are Temporary Too
Know that your precious, infinitely beloved, and irreplaceable self will dissolve like a sand castle, grain by grain—and what a relief it is to know. You exist in a great space of knowing, filled with the shared ephemerality of all things.

—Sallie Tisdale, “Self-Care for Future Corpses

Dismantling Delusion
To experience the everyday sublime one needs to dismantle piece by piece the perceptual conditioning that insists on seeing oneself and the world as essentially comfortable, permanent, solid, and mine.

—Stephen Batchelor, “The Everyday Sublime

How to Cultivate Equanimity
If a mind state or emotion or mood becomes strong—feelings such as sadness or happiness or anger or desire, restlessness or excitement, interest or rapture, joy or calm—make the mental note of that mind state, feeling it and observing how that too is part of the passing show. It arises, it is there for some time, it passes away.

—Joseph Goldstein, “Breathing

You Are Already Complete
Why is it that we yearn to be more or other than we are? It so rarely occurs to us that what we are looking for maybe—indeed, always is—already within us, simply undiscovered.

—Toinette Lippe, “Between Eternities

 

Posted in Buddhism | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Chance Encounter with a Long Lost Friends

Chance Encounter with a Long Lost Friends

It has been over twenty years since I last lost contact with one of my good friends and his wife. We were friends from school days, teacher training days and then placement finally to the same Dzongkhag (District) in Bhutan. He and his wife looked after us when passing by their place which I had to make frequently for official business. Until today, I had no idea where and how they were and out of nowhere, all thanks to one clever girl who happened to be their daughter we have been reunited online. She saw my details via my nephew who happened to be her friend. She remembered her dad talking about me and my wife and that I had left Bhutan for the UK. What are the chances of that happening – not much. A chance encounter once in a blue moon!

We managed to get in touch shortly after via facebook messenger and then on WeChat which all Bhutanese are so glued to. The good and the evil of social media cannot be underestimated. If you can harness the best of these online platforms you can take advantage of what it can do for you. Conversely, if you misuse it or have little understanding of what devastating chaos it can potentially create to hurt us.

So much has happened in both of our lives and so much to catch up. Both our children have grown up since we last met. We chatted for a while and agreed that we should keep in touch.

Thank you to both my nephew and his clever daughter. I didn’t wish to name them here as I am not sure they will approve.

Nameysamey Kadrinchey!

Posted in Social | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Glorious Wisdom’s Excellent Qualities – The Praise to Mañjuśrī

Glorious Wisdom’s Excellent Qualities – The Praise to Mañjuśrī

Every school going children in Bhutan will know this prayer to praise the Lord Manjushri who is the embodiment of all the Buddha’ wisdom. We use to pray every morning in the school assembly before the start of school.

The picture below is the painting of Manjushri who is often depicted with his right hand holding a double-edged flaming sword and his left hand holding a lotus flower on which rests the Prajnaparamita the Great Wisdom Sutra. The Sutra on the lotus flower symbolizes wisdom as pure as lotus. The sword represents the sharpness of wisdom that to cut through illusion. 

Homage to the Lord Mañjughoṣa!

Your wisdom is brilliant and pure like the sun, free from the clouds of the two obscurations.

You perceive the whole of reality, exactly as it is, and so hold the book of Transcendental Wisdom at your heart.

You look upon all beings imprisoned within saṃsāra, enshrouded by the thick darkness of ignorance and tormented by suffering,

With the love of a mother for her only child. Your enlightened speech, endowed with sixty melodious tones,

Like the thundering roar of a dragon awakens us from the sleep of destructive emotions and frees us from the chains of karma.

Dispelling the darkness of ignorance, you wield the sword of wisdom to cut through all our suffering.

Pure from the very beginning, you have reached the end of the ten bhūmis and perfected all enlightened qualities. Foremost of the Buddha’s heirs,

Your body is adorned with the hundred and twelve marks of enlightenment. To Mañjughoṣa, the ‘Gentle-voiced’, I prostrate, and pray: dispel the darkness from my mind!

Arapacanadhi – Heart Mantra of Manjushri

Posted in Buddhism, Education | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Teachers Day in Bhutan – The Real Reason to Celebrate

Tashi Delek to all the teacher on the day of Teachers Day in Bhutan

As teachers day are celebrated around the world on different dates according to their importance and significance in the history of the country. Likewise, Bhutan has opted for May the 2nd to be marked as the teachers day in the country. This was the day in 1951 when the third king of Bhutan, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, was born. He was the driving force behind the modern education system in Bhutan and appropriately credited for its success and also he is known fondly by all Bhutanese as the father of modern Bhutan. He is the reason first and foremost to celebrate and dedicate this special day, as well as appreciating and displaying our gratitude to all our teachers past and present.

The third king was in many ways a visionary king and you could say the seed of democracy was already planted by him during his reign and knew that the future survival of Bhutan may depend in allowing its people to govern themselves. That wish was fulfilled by his son the fourth king of Bhutan Jigme Singye Wangchuck despite the reluctance and uproar from the public to change. Bhutan became democratic, constitutional monarchy in 2008 with a population of no more than 700,000. The fourth king like his father saw the vision of modern Bhutan to be better served by a younger and youthful monarch and handed the golden throne selflessly to his son, Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, who is the current head of state in Bhutan.

The modern western education system was introduced to provide learning centres to study science, mathematics, modern farming techniques etc. whilst also preserving and promoting the monastic schools along with its culture and tradition. This was a calculated move which really accelerated the literacy and numeracy growth in Bhutan and today almost all of our youths are educated. His vision was to preserve the unique tradition and culture of Bhutan for the outside world to admire, by propagating through schools whilst also modernizing the education system.

He was a farsighted leader beyond his time to understand the future security of Bhutan. He secured Bhutan’s membership with the United Nations by becoming its 125th member in 1971. Furthermore, he made sure Bhutan’s relationship with its neighbouring countries were diversified. Today Bhutan enjoys these friendships with countries around the world and particularly with SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) nations.

Our unconditional gratitude to His late Majesty the third king Jigme Dorji Wangchuck and in celebrating this great leader’s achievements, we also pay our utmost respect to all the teachers of Bhutan past and present. Happy Teachers Day!

Tashi Delek!
Tenzin Wangdi

 

 

Posted in Education | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Advice from Buddhist teachers on Meditation

The breath changes and you change. Nothing stays the same, yet there is constancy. The breath reminds us that we are here and alive: let it be your anchor to the present moment.—Elana Rosenbaum

Simply see the natural phenomena of physical and mental events as they arise and pass away. They’re not you. They’re not really yours. You don’t have any real control over them.—Upasika Kee Nanayon

If you want to be happy, you have to check the way you lead your life. Your mind is your religion.
—Lama Thupten Yeshe

This is why we practice meditation—so that we can treat ourselves more compassionately; improve our relationships with friends, family, and community; live lives of greater connection; and, even in the face of challenges, stay in touch with what we really care about so we can act in ways that are consistent with our values.
—Sharon Salzberg

Sitting practices that focus on relaxing the underlying tensions and holdings you feel in your body, as well as restrictions to the breath, help you mitigate the legacy and habit patterns of reacting, clinging, and aversion.
—Will Johnson

Sounds, like everything else, arise and pass away. Just by listening, you can experience the insight of impermanence.
—Sylvia Boorstein

It is essential at the beginning of practice to acknowledge that the path is personal and intimate. It is no good to examine it from a distance as if it were someone else’s. You must walk it for yourself.
—Robert Aitken

To keep your practice consistent, remember what the famous Nike ad says: “Just do it.” Don’t concern yourself with trying to get to some particular place or state of mind. Each day’s zazen will be a little different, just like the rest of life.
—Roshi Pat Enkyo O’Hara

In walking meditation, you are not walking to get anyplace. . . . The challenge is, can you be fully with this step, with this breath?
—Jon Kabat-Zinn

Meditation requires some degree of being aware of awareness itself. We become cognizant of the quality of the mind, not just of phenomena perceived by the mind.
—Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche

The Buddha told us to see the way things are and then let go of our clinging to them. Take this feeling of letting go as your refuge.
—Ajahn Chah

Only dwelling in the present can make us free. We have to look into our suffering, our craving. And when we see its face we will smile: you cannot make me your prisoner any more.
—Thich Nhat Hanh

“Don’t prolong the past, Don’t invite the future, Don’t alter your innate wakefulness, Don’t fear appearances. There is nothing more than that!
—Patrul Rinpoche

Meditation is a process of lightening up, of trusting the basic goodness of what we have and who we are, and of realizing that any wisdom that exists, exists in what we already have. We can lead our life so as to become more awake to who we are and what we’re doing rather than trying to improve or change or get rid of who we are or what we’re doing. The key is to wake up, to become more alert, more inquisitive and curious about ourselves.
—Pema Chödrön

The everyday practice is simply to develop a complete acceptance and openness to all situations and emotions and to all people, experiencing everything totally without mental reservations and blockages, so that one never withdraws or centralizes onto oneself.
—Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche

As long as we remain within the confines of the thinking mind, we can’t experience the state of non-thinking. If we can’t experience non-thinking, we will not understand what our life truly is. Please realize this for yourself. Just sit!
—Taizan Maezumi Roshi

Don’t move. Just die over and over. Don’t anticipate. Nothing can save you now because you have only this moment. Not even enlightenment will help you now because there are no other moments. With no future be true to yourself and express yourself fully. Don’t move.
—Suzuki Roshi

When we face a situation in which we feel indignation, if we mindfully investigate our own mind, we will discover bitter truths about ourselves: that we are selfish; we are egocentric; we are attached to our ego; we hold on to our opinions; we think we are right and everybody else is wrong; we are prejudiced; and at the bottom of all this, we do not really love ourselves. This discovery, though bitter, is a most rewarding experience. And in the long run, this discovery delivers us from deeply rooted psychological and spiritual suffering.
—Bhante Henepola Gunaratana

It’s no small thing to be born human. A lot of “stuff” comes along with the opportunity of human life. Zazen is an incredible doorway for getting to the bottom of it all, and learning to live your life out of what you directly experience yourself: not what somebody tells you, not what you read, not because you should, but because your own direct experience of yourself and your life tells you what to do.
—John Daido Loori

Mindfulness practice isn’t meant to eliminate thinking but aims rather to help us know what we’re thinking when we’re thinking it, just as we want to know what we’re feeling when we’re feeling it.
—Sharon Salzberg

Life and death are of supreme importance. Time swiftly passes by and opportunity is lost. Each of us should strive to awaken. Awaken. Take heed, do not squander your life.
—Dogen Zenji

Posted in Buddhism, Social | Tagged , , | Leave a comment