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Posts Tagged ‘faith’

I am about to place my order for two Samosas, my mouth watering and stomach growling, as a man shoots into my field of vision. “Come join us for the open house – free food!” He points to a row of large tents, where a colorful mix of people weave their way past food stands.

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Through a good friend of mine, we recently had the privilege of spending some time with the Free Burma Rangers. We thoroughly enjoyed our visit with this spirited and inspiring group of individuals, who work in a unique way to counter the Myanmar army and its influence throughout Burma. The team leaders challenged us to a game of soccer/football and proved their work keeps them in better shape than we are. The food was delicious, conversation enlightening and the new baby monkey, recently rescued from Burma, just too adorable.

To find out more about who they are and what they do, please take a look at these video links. The videos are narrated eloquently by the daughter of the primary architect of the organization. (more…)

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The Buddha teaches us to be kind to one another and to help each other,” explains Mr. Thint Lwyn Tu Tu, our tour guide at Shwedagon Pagoda, Yangon. “Good for the other person, it also helps us become less selfish!”

Before we leave for Myanmar, we are told that the Burmese are the friendliest people on earth. A high reputation to live up to, and, I must admit, I am skeptical – until I meet the lollipop boy, Mr. Thint Lwyn Tu Tu, Mrs. Sivakami and countless other people. They teach me a little about the concept of Nirvana and allow me to experience a bit of this heaven on earth. (more…)

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In Honor of Hasina

A song by Rabindranath Tagore

This is my prayer to thee, my lord –
strike, strike at the root of penury in my heart.

Give me the strength lightly to bear my joys and sorrows.
Give me the strength to make my love fruitful in service.
Give me the strength never to disown the poor or bend my knee before insolent might.
Give me the strength to raise my mind high above daily trifles.
And give me the strength to surrender my strength to thy will with love.

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This advent, I have been thinking about light. Light allows me to see more detail, but I have found that sometimes darkness helps me look calmly at only a few things. I also feel less exposed in the dark and feel like I can watch without exposing others. With warm, soft light, we find the courage to see each other.

First Advent: Bodhgaya

At the Bangladeshi Vihara, devotees have lit thousands of butter lamps to remind of the Buddha’s enlightenment. (more…)

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Kolkata as a city defied my expectations dramatically. As predicted, it was a vibrant Indian city; it was the most cosmopolitan place I’ve seen in India by far. Also, as I could have foreseen, it had a bit of the dark Kali energy lurking in places. Ultimately I was surprised that it lacked the pervasive and crushing poverty I expected from its reputation. It was much cleaner than Chennai in terms of sidewalk and street condition, and there were far fewer people living in the streets where we explored.

Street view in Kolkata.

Turn the page to the Buddhist village of Bodhgaya. Here, it is refreshing to be a part of an international presence that is not about the interests, demands, and money of white people. True, there are more beggars and as many touts here as anywhere we’ve been, but the real business of this town is to serve the monks who are pilgrims to the holy site of the Buddha’s enlightenment. (more…)

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