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Buddhist Prayer Wheel

Buddhist Prayer Wheel

    A Buddhist Prayer Wheel is a hollow cylinder made of wood, metal, leather or coarse cotton. The mantra “Om Mani Padme Hum” is traditionally embossed on the wheel. The mantra is particularly associated with “Shadakshari” form of legendary “Avalokiteshvara”. As Dalai Lama is believed to do the incarnation of Avalokiteshvara so the mantra is specially respected by his devotees. Primarily used by Buddhists of Tibet and Nepal as hand held prayer wheels, it is believed that...

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Buddhist Prayer Flags Spread Good Fortune

Buddhist Prayer Flags Spread Good Fortune

    When the breeze blows Buddhist prayer flags, harmony, happiness, and good fortune are spread among all living beings. These prayer flags are squares of colored fabric with symbols, mantras, sutras, and prayers that enhance the spirits and lives of anyone nearby. The flags fly anywhere that Tibetans and followers of Tibetan Buddhism live. Prayer flags were first used for healing ceremonies in pre-Buddhist Tibet 1,000s of years ago. As time went on, sacred symbols were painted onto...

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The Buddhist Experience at The Grand Palace

The Buddhist Experience at The Grand Palace

Arriving in Bangkok after a 14-hour flight can make one weary. Thailand’s oppressive heat can also slow down an excited tourist. But there is one thing that can energize even the sleepiest of travelers: The Grand Palace. The Grand Palace, or Phra Borom Maha Ratcha Wang, is a series of buildings in the heart of Bangkok meant for both royal functions and for Buddhist worship. Built in the late 18th century, many Thai kings have lived here. If you are non-Buddhist visiting a holy Buddhist...

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Panchayudha Jataka – Five Kinds of Weapons

  How do you deal with a life-threatening situation? The best-armed man, when he confronts a stronger enemy, is likely to cringe. Can weaponry alone help him? What is true courage made up of? The Bodhisattva was once born as a son to King Brahmadatta. At his naming ceremony, the king’s priests prophesied that the prince would become a good and noble ruler, famous for his five weapons. At sixteen, Prince Panchayudha (Five Weapons) left home for Taxila to further his education. On...

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Pilgrimage

  Many religions stress the importance of going on pilgrimages or journeys to holy places. In Buddhism, these places are where the Buddha lived and taught, with four places considered the most holy. One is in Nepal and the other three are in India. It is thought the Buddha was born in Nepal in an area called Lumbini, situated in the foothills of the Himalayas. The Indian pilgrimage sites include Bodh Gaya, where the Buddha attained enlightenment; Sarnath (sometimes called Deer Park), where...

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Fast Facts

  Buddhism was founded in 520 BC. The Buddha was born and raised as a prince living in the lap of luxury at Kapilavastu in Nepal about 2500 years ago. His name was Prince Siddhartha Gautama. At age 29 Prince Siddhartha renounced his family and a life of luxury. The Buddha attained enlightenment under a bodhi (fig) tree in Bodh Gaya, Bihar, in eastern India. Buddhism has three major divisions – Theravada, Vajrayana and Mahayana. The three jewels in Buddhism are – the Buddha, the sangha...

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Lucid Dreaming

  Lucid dreaming, also known as an out of body experience or astral travel, is the practice of mentally waking up during a dream. People who practice this through Meditation and Dream Yoga are able to gain conscious control over the elements within a dream. Tibetan Buddhists believe work done during a dream helps gain skills to meet challenges presented to the soul upon death, therefore lucid dreaming is of utmost importance to a Buddhist’s overall wellbeing. In order to reach this...

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Baka Jataka – Heron Story

  One hot summer, the inhabitants of a pond became fearful for their lives as the water began drying up. A heron, sensing their panic, thought up a plan to deceive them and ensure a good supply of food for him. “There’s a huge lake nearby. I could take you across,” he offered. The trusting fish agreed and queued up to be carried away, one by one. Alas, none of them realized that their predecessors had already become the heron’s extended lunch. Finally, a crab was left. “Why...

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Jataka Tales

  Gautama Buddha’s birth as Prince Siddhartha – during which he attained Nirvana – was the last of several thousand births as a bodhisattva, an enlightened being who chooses to be reborn on earth so as to help others. The Jataka tales are a compilation of parables that recount 547 of the Buddha’s former lives. The Buddha used these tales to explain to his followers the essence of his philosophy, laying down guidelines for right conduct and good values. As storytellers carried them...

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Where is the Buddha?

  A monk embarked on a long pilgrimage to find the Buddha. He wandered fruitlessly for several years until he reached a river. Across the river, it was said, was the home of the Buddha. The monk got into the boat, excited at the prospect of reaching his goal. As the boatman rowed, the monk saw a corpse in the water, floating towards their boat. The body drifted close to touching distance and the monk saw to his horror that the corpse’s face was – his own! Unable to control himself, he...

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