Are Trees Sentient?

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Some people believe trees to be sentient beings. Like for example the beautiful old oak that’s stood for hundreds of years. What must those trees have seen? Certain religious groups use trees as energy points believing them to possess magical healing powers but what actually makes them sentient?  In Buddhism, sentient beings are beings with consciousness, sentience, or in some contexts life itself. Sentient beings are composed of the five aggregates, or skandhas: matter, sensation, perception, mental formations and consciousness. Trees according to Buddhism, are qualitatively different from humans and sentient nonhumans, in that they are certainly alive, but they don’t have interests or the ability to learn from experience.  A tree may react to sunlight, water, the changing seasons and other stimuli etc but that does not necessarily mean it’s sentient.

What are your thoughts on the subject? Let’s have a conversation! – Are trees sentient beings? If so why?

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Who Am I Really

The short powerful & thought provoking piece you’re about to read, was taken from a book called ‘Thoughts on Life.’ It’s about situations that can happen to any one of us at any time – But this one’s specifically about you! Please share your thoughts….

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You have recently been diagnosed with a terminal illness & given an estimated 3 months to live. In a very short time you will be confined to your bed as your body becomes too weak to walk.  The Job  you once did so well, from which you commanded such respect, is now no longer viable and  must be allocated to someone else, someone in good health.  That person will replace you in a team that became almost family to you over the years.  None of the beautiful clothes you’ve got hanging in the closet fit any longer, so most of them can be taken to a charity shop or homeless shelter for someone else to wear.  Staring longingly at those outfits, oh what you’d give for one last chance to party, to really let go.  The man/woman you once made passionate love with, that person who couldn’t take their eyes you, has now become your carer – feeding you, bathing you and seeing you in ways they never have before.  You know deep down, even though they swear they can’t live without you – they will.  When you’re gone, the love of your life will most likely meet someone else and life will carry on in the same crazy competitive way it does now.  Your kids will grow up and marry, and everything you own now, all your treasured possessions & photographs etc will belong to another person (a complete stranger) or simply be thrown in the trash – and you will be no more than a beautiful memory to everyone you knew – fading with time.

When everything that once defined you has been stripped away, as you lay there raw & vulnerable all that remains is the question – Who Am I Really?

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Those Unexplainable Moments

Throughout our lives, we all experience things we simply can’t explain. Like thinking about someone only for them to call that very day. Or Visiting somewhere for the first time but knowing you’ve been before….

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But where do these experiences come from? In Buddhism it’s believed they come from Karmic imprints. For example, from episodes of our past lives which we brought to this one along with our Subtle Consciousness. According to Buddhism, we have 2 main levels of consciousness concerned with rebirth. These are Gross Consciousness (The things we know in this life from experience. Our family, our job and where we live etc) Also our Subtle Consciousness – The things we learn but don’t actually experience. For example, we know India is a hot country – we may not have been to India but information, pictures, and people describe it so we form the picture. We know we feel happy when learning new languages because we’re good at it – not nescessarily because we like the language. When we’re reborn, Buddhists believe it’s the subtle consciousness we carry with us and we leave behind the gross consciousness.  But we aren’t all Buddhists! We all have these experiences and different viewpoints about why.

What strange experiences have you had? And how do you explain them?

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Is Religion Necessary?

Some would argue, most wars have been triggered by religion. Others ask – why if there’s a God, do wars etc happen at all?

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One thing’s for certain, in today’s dog eat dog society we need something to help bring our lives back into perspective – but is it religion? Are we capable of change without God? The Buddhist view, is that we humans are not only responsible for the state of the world, but also fully capable of putting it right.  Christians may argue we cannot do this without Gods help. What do you think?

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A Vaccum Cleaner Called God

Please God help me! My life is hard and I can’t see a way forward. If you help me God, I promise to pray more.

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Words I’m sure are familiar to almost every believer and non believer in God.  As a Buddhist, I don’t accept the God concept, but even I’ve begged for help in times where there’s seemed little hope.  Looking down from my 17th floor window I see road rage from people who feel it’s their ‘God Given’ right to get to work first. Horns beeping, sirens wailing, rushing to traffick accidents.  There’s news on the TV about a girl who left Britain at 15yrs to join ISIS and now wants to come back. The man who got stabbed whilst trying to rescue a stranger in trouble & the political war on Brexit.  So much for a single mind to cope with and its only 7am.  But tonight in the silence of darkness,   down on their knees begging God for forgiveness, to make the child they hit during a fit of road rage pull through. To show mercy on the Jihadi bride & to sort out the problems created by Brexit. They’ll all be there on their knees evading personal responsibility, expecting God to suck up all their problems and absolve them like a Dyson vacuum cleaner. But if their prayers aren’t answered, we all know who’s to blame don’t we?

So here’s today’s discussion thread… If there is indeed a God, why expect him to constantly clean up the carnage created by man/woman?

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The Strength of Surrender

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via The Strength of Surrender

Have you ever heard the term Passing it Forward?

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This is exactly what I’m doing now! This is my experience of reconnecting when all hope seemed to have gone. When things seem tough, when you feel you can’t move any further and all energy has gone – surrender. It worked for me & I know it will work for you!

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The Strength of Surrender

There’s always light, but sometimes you have to surrender yourself to it.

Im sure lots of my readers will identify with what I’m about to say. Recently life’s been like a giant rollercoaster of stress, anxiety & people piling on more. My partner must be the unluckiest guy in the world, wherever there’s a problem it’ll find him, and in life we carry each other but it’s worn me down. All this pressure has taken its toll on my physical & mental health and I’d reached a point of disconnection from myself & Spirituality.  Spirituality is a huge part of my life as a Buddhist and so is meditation but something was lost, I was lost.  It was 2 nights ago, in tears I rang a very close and wise friend who gave me the best advice I’ve ever had.

Tonight she said, go into your prayer room – make up a bed on the floor and sleep there, amongst the Buddha statues, pictures of HH The Dalai Lama & your teacher, and give yourself up to them. Don’t ask them for help, this isn’t their mess to clean up. Just give yourself up to their power.

Even with a strong faith, and the greatest respect for my lovely friend, my mind was still racing at 100mph. The likelihood of me getting any sleep whatsoever at this

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Don’t Expect too Much! Only in India.

When ordering online from a trusty Ayurvedic pharmacy in Rishikesh, I should’ve known it wouldn’t be straightforward.

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Whilst living in India, this little place had been a hidden gem, away from the hustle & bustle of the busy Rishikesh markets – so back home in the UK, I thought I’d try ordering from their website.  If anything, the entertainment value has been fantastic, but the quality of the oils I actually got is a whole other matter. So this is how it goes 😂 Only in India!  Purchasing pure Rose oil can be an expensive venture in the UK at around £30 for a small bottle – so to get it in India for around £6 is a massive bonus. Anyway I accessed the website and ordered 1 bottle of rosé oil, 1 bottle of frankincense at £4 & 1 bottle of lime oil at £2 and waited. Exactly 1 month later, my parcel arrived in traditional Indian style – bound in cotton and hand stitched. The excitement was killing me, especially knowing I was getting such a top quality product. That’s why I was so unprepared for what was inside. The rose oil was there in its perfect little bottle. The frankincense was half full & the lime oil bottle looked 100 years old & completely empty.  Inside was a note which read:

I only charge you half price because it’s half full and I don’t charge you for lime because it’s empty.

Absolutely hilarious! & only in India 😂😂😂🙏

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1 Life Saving Reason NOT to Eat White Bread!

I don’t mean to put you off your sandwich but…..”Give us this day our daily bread” should come with a health warning which reads -‘As Long as It Isn’t White.’  White bread will mess with your  mood amongst other things.

What happens if you drop a piece of bread in a glass of water? You got it! The bread swells to twice maybe 3 times its normal size. Now consider the body is made up of around 60% water.

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In theory, bread should be healthy, made with grains etc. But these days it goes through a process before reaching our grocery store shelves, that makes it unrecognisable.  I’m talking about White Bread – the end product after all the nutrients have been destroyed and a variety of dangerous chemicals added.  Wheat is a seed like any other, and seeds are well known for supporting a healthy bowel. This means there’s no build up of poisons and we can think clearly as the mind is sharper.  Wheat has an outer covering (bran), an embryo (wheatgerm), and a fuel supply (the endosperm).  But to create white bread the bran and germ are removed leaving just the soft endosperm then milled into flour.  Because the endosperm contains mostly carbohydrates, they immediately break down into single units of sugar causing dangerous spikes and crashes in blood sugar levels.  Flour used to make white bread is bleached with benzoyl peroxide.  This has no purpose other than making the product more visually attractive to customers.

Here’s another vital piece of info & please feel free to google it! Benzoyl Peroxide creates something called ‘free radicals and benzoic acid’  which all together contribute to DNA damage, aging, contact irritation, bloating discomfort, weakness, and malaise. When ingested, the agents can cause headache, nervousness, nausea, and vomiting.

 

What I Learned From HH.The 17th Karmapa

Many with an interest in Buddhism, hope to meet with HH The Dalai Lama or HH The Karmapa even if only for a few minutes. But what’s to be learned by those fortunate enough?

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In 2010 I had the opportunity to do that very thing. Something many people only dream of – meeting his Holiness the 17th Karmapa on a one-to-one basis.  It came out of the blue, totally unplanned from a young girl I’d been helping with English language. It turned out, her husband is the bodyguard of his Holiness the Dalai Lama, and in return for my kindness she wanted to arrange a one to one appointment with his Holiness the Karmapa. It would have been The Dalai Lama if he hadn’t been out of the country.  Of course I accepted the offer, not wishing to appear ungrateful. But in situations such as this, I would have preferred to have something to say, questions to ask and something constructive to base my appointment on.   The time came quickly,  in fact it was the following day, so even if I’d wanted to think something up I didn’t have time.  Arriving early afternoon in Norbulingka the home of his Holiness, I was shown into a small basic room with only a short wait, before being shown into something far

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