Vietnam: The Lotus in the Sea of Fire

Vietnam: The Lotus in the Sea of Fire ~ CoverI just read “Vietnam: The Lotus in the Sea of Fire”. This small book was written at the height of the Vietnam war by my Zen Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh.

My first sensation on receiving the book was one of gratitude. I had been wanting to read it for some time but it had never come to hand. It has been out of print for a long time but I found a copy on Abebooks for £5 delivered to my door. This copy was an ex-library volume from the Cathedral and Abbey Church of St Alban and is a 1967 first UK edition. It feels like a piece of history. I imagine it being bought 47 years ago by someone trying to understand the situation from a Vietnamese Buddhist perspective. I wonder why it was discarded.

The cover is as powerful as it is iconic. It shows the self-immolation of Buddhist monk Thich Quang-Duc. The book could be seen as an explanation of the context in which Thich Quang-Duc and other Buddhists felt they had to burn themselves. Continue reading

Back to Flickr?

I just discovered that I can embed Flickr images by just cutting and pasting the URL like this:

Pentland Hills - Scald Law

Unfortunately it looks like it only does a small photo! I wonder if that can be changed?

Edit: 2014-11-9 – My Flickr images aren’t working! Maybe the image above appears for you maybe it doesn’t. Either way I think I am going to break the link with Flickr and my blog. Keep things simple stupid.

Why I am voting Yes in the Scottish Independence Referendum

IMG_fixedThis is by way of a note to self. I’ll look back on it as a told-you-so in some form. Maybe with regrets maybe not.

This is why I am voting Yes.

1) Trident Nuclear Missiles: I am ideologically opposed to renewing our nuclear weapons system. I don’t think it is morally defensible for us to have weapons of mass destruction. If it is OK for us then it must be OK for Iran & Co.

All the main UK parties want to renew our weapons in some form. They claim it doesn’t breach the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty because we would be using the same warheads – thus obeying the letter and not the spirit. Most (all?) of the Yes parties want a nuclear free Scotland. I’m therefore obliged to vote Yes as a matter of conscience. Continue reading

Implicit vs Explicit Ethics in Mindfulness Teaching

A few weeks back I wrote the blog post Is Secular Mindfulness Shoehorning in the “Other” Seven? in which I bemoaned the fact that secular mindfulness courses included most of the parts of the Buddhist Eight Fold path but only claimed to include one of them.

Last week BBC Radio 4 – Beyond Belief was on Mindfulness. In the programme Ernie Rea lead a discussion with Christopher Titmus co-founder of Gaia House,  Chris Cullen from Oxford Mindfulness and Rebecca Crane from Bangor Mindfulness Centre. This was a very good programme. Well balanced and thoughtful. I recommend listening on the link above if you haven’t heard it already. Continue reading