Thought for the Day


The following talks are taken from BBC Radio 4's "Thought for the Day" series. Most are by Vishvapani, a Triratna member and are given from a Buddhist perspective. Occasionally relevant talks by speakers from various faith traditions are included.

"This brief, uninterrupted interlude has the capacity to plant a seed of thought that stays with listeners during the day. Thought for the Day is broadcast during the Today programme on BBC Radio 4 every morning at around 7.45am."

Friday, 26 May 2017

Our Relationships with Eating

For Buddhism, compulsive behaviour never satisfies our craving. In fact, it encourages yet more craving to develop, and that in turn makes us suffer. That's how food becomes connected with so much else: a desire for a better body, reassurance or stimulation. It becomes a focus of guilt and anxiety and a substitute for more dependable sources of satisfaction.

The Buddha's advice was: "Have a sense of moderation in eating and eat simply for the continuance of your body." Buddhist monks still follow a rule of not eating after midday and some only take one meal. That removes the temptation to wander towards the fridge or the mango grove in an idle moment and frees up time and energy for their Buddhist practice.



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Friday, 12 May 2017

Wesak - Buddhism's Relevance in the Modern World

This week Buddhists celebrate the Buddha's Awakening or Enlightenment. According to the traditional dating that took place in 538 BC, and the spiritual tradition he founded eventually inspired a vast civilisation. So we can agree that Buddhism deserves a place in a museum. But in a world that's hurtling towards post-modernity and faces unprecedented challenges, we can justifiably ask if an ancient tradition like Buddhism has any continuing relevance?



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Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Parinirvana Day

Vishvapani's latest talk on Thought for the Day....................

Today Mahayana Buddhists mark the death of the Buddha in a festival called Parinirvana Day. Aged 35, 4 or 500 years before Christ, Buddhists believe that the man history knows as Gautama attained 'Enlightenment' or 'Awakening'. For the next 45 years he travelled continually across the Ganges Valley meeting people and sharing his understanding of life. He gathered a large following and was widely revered for his wisdom.........................



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Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Buddhist Aggression

In this episode Vishvapani talks of past Buddhist aggression.


"As I understand it, Buddhism is essentially a pacifist faith that asks people to refrain from violence and root out the forces in their hearts and minds from which it develops. The challenge, however, is to encompass the gap between the ethically pure ideal and the much messier, ethically compromised reality. How do vested interests and nationalist feelings cause Buddhists to conform to the State? And how are core principles, such as non-violence, first qualified, then muddied or made relative, and eventually forgotten? Whatever beliefs we follow, we need to ponder how the good intentions they express can eventually cause suffering."



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Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Mental Health and Mindfulness

In his first talk of 2017 Vishvapani comments on the Government's new initiatives on mental health and the centrality of the mind in the Buddha's teachings. He goes on to highlight how Buddhism encourages us to explore our minds with curiosity and friendliness and how this leads to being able to guide the mind in a more helpful direction...............



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Wednesday, 14 September 2016

The Innate Morality of Roald Dahl's Stories

Having read my son many Roald Dahl bedtime stories, I'm struck by their moral conviction. The children who are his heroes see that grown ups often proclaim a fake morality to get what they want, while the children themselves respond to a more natural moral order. People usually get what they deserve....................................




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Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Impermanence

"Behind this is the Buddhist teaching that everything we experience is impermanent. In Japanese culture, this inspired the tradition of wabi sabi, which means finding beauty in that which is imperfect, transient and incomplete. That's an alternative to the Greek ideal of beauty as a reflection of eternal forms, and you see it in Japanese art forms such as pottery and gardening. The roughness is as important as the finish..............."



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