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Monday, February 08, 2010

Two stories from Malaysia

Today and tomorrow we've two stories from Malaysia - independent visits by FWBO members from the UK and India, to different Buddhist groups.

Dhammaloka, a regular visitor to China, Singapore, and Malaysia, writes to say -

"I've just finished a series of talks followed by a practice weekend on karma for the Than Hsiang Foundation in Penang, Northern Malaysia.

“As things turned out, I was the first person to teach at their newly established centre for English speaking Sangha members. Located in a very spacious ex-residential house in central Penang, the new place is at daytime used as a Buddhist kindergarten.

“As in my experience has often been the case with an ethnically Chinese audience, in the first meeting it was difficult for me to assess what the group made of the input. Yet, with numbers of participants rising from day to day and there being increasingly lively discussions, I guess they found it interesting and fruitful. Furthermore, at the end of the practice weekend, even those who in the beginning had been rather solitary and perhaps somewhat distant, were happily engaged in our various group explorations and discussions.

“It was a pleasure to see a sense of Sangha grow between all of us. Our explorations covered a vast ground - from the religiously Brahminical and Shramaneric background at the Buddha's time right down to the turning of karma into a commodity owing to the historical emphasis on karmic results, merit-making and to the notion of collective karma which are so prominent in Asian societies. Again and again, we came back to the Buddha's revolutionary insight into intention (cetana) as the essence of karma, and accordingly we explored both skilful and unskilful mental states and the path to move beyond karma in quite some detail.

“Meanwhile, I've moved on to Melaka in the South of Malaysia where Samamati will be joining me shortly. Another series of 5 talks with a weekend preceding them lies ahead of us. Already, more than thirty people have booked ... which seems a pretty sure sign that more are likely to participate. Great to be here --- and away from the European winter!"

“Take care and good wishes,



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