HH Dalai Lama Says Buddha Would Be Green as COP26 Meet in Glasgow

HH Dalai Lama Says ”Buddha Would Be Green” as COP26 Meet in Glasgow

HH the Dalai Lama has appealed to world leaders to take urgent action against climate change, warning of ecological destruction affecting the lives of billions and ruining the planet, including his birth country, Tibet.

He declared that if Buddha returned to this world, “Buddha would be green”.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama planting a tree as part of the Million Mirror Trees campaign. Photo: Daily Mirror

He warned that “global warming may reach such a level that rivers will dry” and that “eventually Tibet will become like Afghanistan”, with terrible consequences for at least a billion people dependent on water from the plateau “at the roof of the world”.

Asked whether world leaders are failing, he says: “The big nations should pay more attention to ecology. I hope you see those big nations who spent a lot of money for weapons or war turn their resources to the preservation of the climate.”

In the week the Cop26 UN climate conference is being held in Glasgow, he says he has high expectations of world leaders, and wants them to act on the Paris climate agreement.

His Holiness has said in the past, “If I were actually to vote in an election, it would be for one of the environmental parties. One of the most positive developments in the world recently has been the growing awareness of the importance of nature. There is nothing sacred or holy about this. Taking care of our planet is like taking care of our houses. Since we human beings come from nature, there is no point in our going against nature, which is why I say the environment is not a matter of religion or ethics or morality. These are luxuries, since we can survive without them. But we will not survive if we continue to go against nature.
”We have to accept this. If we unbalance nature, humankind will suffer. Furthermore, as people alive today, we must consider future generations: a clean environment is a human right like any other. It is therefore part of our responsibility towards others to ensure that the world we pass on is as healthy, if not healthier, than when we found it. This is not quite such a difficult proposition as it might sound. For although there is a limit to what we as individuals can do, there is no limit to what a universal response might achieve. It is up to us as individuals to do what we can, however little that may be. Just because switching off the light when leaving the room seems inconsequential, it does not mean that we should not do it.

This is where, as a Buddhist monk, I feel that belief in the concept of karma is very useful in the conduct of daily life. Once you believe in the connection between motivation and its effect, you will become more alert to the effects, which your own actions have upon yourself and others.”

Pom Pom the Dog Survives being Sucked up by Tornado

Pom Pom the Dog Survives Being Sucked up by Tornado

A tiny Pomeranian named Pom Pom has miraculously survived being swallowed by a tornado and flung 300metres from her home.

Source: MSN

Along with the damaging winds and horizontal rain, terrified residents also reported large hailstones as the tornado swept through the community of Meadow Flat, near Lithgow and the Blue Mountains. 

Pom Pom was lifted off the ground by the powerful winds and spun in circles 20 metres in the air before ending up in a nearby paddock, the ABC reported. The little dog was left with a punctured lung and multiple broken ribs with her devastated owners assuming they had lost her among the chaos. 

‘We gave up on Pom,’ Mr McKinnon admitted. 

Things weren’t looking good for the canine after her kennel was nowhere to be found and her blanket spotted 30 metres up a pine tree. Pom Pom the Pomeranian weighs 1.5 kilograms and her owners say she stood little chance of staying on the ground in the storm, which ripped off roofs and demolished houses. 

Her owner, Scott McKinnon, had his house at Meadow Flat, near Lithgow, flattened in what he described as the most destructive 30 seconds of his life. 

The 115kg tree lopper and world record-holding coal shoveller clung onto the kitchen bench for his life as the tornado struck. Once back on his feet, Mr McKinnon saw outside the window what he described was “like a scene out of the Wizard Of Oz”.

Pom Pom was in the air — along with some of the neighbour’s cows — spinning about 20 metres high alongside debris. 

Source: 9 News

It was only when they heard a bark in the distance they realised that she was holding on. 

After two weeks of recovery at the local vet, Pom Pom will keep resting up at her owner’s dad’s home until the McKinnons can rebuild. 

Keeping Pom Pom still has proven hard — you’d be unable to tell she’d had a traumatic brush with a tornado. 

“She’s 100 miles an hour all the time, up-down, up-down,” Mr McKinnon said. “We can’t work it out. She’s only the size of a big rat and she survived,” he said.

Source: ABC News

Sources: UK Daily Mail, ABC NSW online, Channel 9 News

Helping the Shy Albatross Adapt to Climate Change

Helping Tassie’s Shy Albatross Adapt to Climate Change

A good-news story from the pristine coastline of Tasmania, where the threatened Shy Albatross has been helped over the last 5 years to adapt to climate change.

A shy albatross (Thalassarche cauta) sitting on its egg in an artificial nest, Albatross Island, Tasmania, Oct 2017. Photo by Matthew Newton WWF Australia

Tasmania’s shy albatross population is facing breeding challenges as a result of climate change. To protect the future of the species, WWF-Australia is collaborating with the Tasmanian State Government environment department (DPIPWE) and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) to install artificial nests in an effort to increase the number of surviving chicks.

The shy albatross faces a variety of threats across their range. Their different life history stages make them particularly sensitive to the unprecedented changes in climate occurring in both their marine foraging habitats and the terrestrial breeding environments. For example, higher air temperatures during the chick-rearing period are associated with fewer eggs successfully producing chicks at the end of the breeding season, and their nests are susceptible to extreme rainfall events and wind.

Specially built mudbrick and aerated concrete artificial nests were airlifted on to Bass Strait’s Albatross Island in a trial program aimed at increasing the breeding success of the Tasmanian shy albatrosses to offset the impacts of climate change on this vulnerable species. In total, 123 artificial nests were made and installed on Albatross Island in July 2017. The albatross readily and immediately adopted their new nests, even personalizing them with mud and vegetation.

Follow-up monitoring throughout the breeding season confirmed high rates of uptake, with eggs laid in 90% of the artificial nests. By the end of the season, breeding success (that is, the proportion of eggs laid that produce chicks that survive to fledging) in the artificial nests was more than twice as high as in the naturally built nests in the study.  

Scientists install the artificial nests. Photo by Matthew Newton – WWF Australia

Source: https://www.worldwildlife.org/pages/constructing-artificial-nests-for-shy-albatross

Fully Sikh Compassion: Turbans 4 Australia

Fully Sikh Compassion: the Story of Turbans 4 Australia

Amar Singh is the founder of Turbans 4 Australia. His religion is Sikhism, which is based on the values of respect, equality and help for those in need. Amar thinks community should be wherever people are needed.

Helping farmers. Source: Turbans 4 Australia website

When Amar Singh first came to Australia, he wasn’t a baptised Sikh — he was clean-shaven, and didn’t have a turban or beard.

But after a few run-ins with racism at school, the Liverpool local realised something: “I’m always going to be brown.”

“No matter what I do, I can have tattoos and I can have piercings or whatever, I’m always going to be the brown migrant kid,” he says.

“I thought, if people are gonna like me, they’re gonna like me how I am, I don’t need to fit in. So I started practising my religion and wearing the turban.”

Amar says Sikhism is based on equality, respect and help for people in need. It is this ethos he wants to share with the country he proudly calls home.

Now 39, Amar started his charity, Turbans 4 Australia, in 2015, which has helped out in disasters ranging from bushfires to cyclones, and now the pandemic.

Black Summer Bushfires 2019/20

As my kids grow up, it makes me wonder — what if my son chooses to be a full practising Sikh, with a turban and a beard? Is he going to be called a bad person too?

So that’s part of the reason why I started Turbans 4 Australia, to take away some of that fear and misunderstanding around Sikhs and turbans. To [remind people] — we are just Australians.

One of Turbans 4 Australia’s first projects was helping out drought-stricken farmers in Coonamble, in central New South Wales, back in 2015.

We turned up with seven trucks full of hay, and nobody on that farm left without shaking our hand and saying, “thank you for thinking about us”.

That memory still stays with me, and that’s what really drove me [to continue my work].

In Sikhism we have this notion, it’s called sarbat da bhalla, which means ‘welfare to all’.

Sometimes in religious communities, welfare means within the community, but I think my community is where we live, where our kids go to school. So if there’s anybody that needs us, we should be there. 

Breaking down barriers

One thing I realised after I started wearing the turban was people would link you to terrorists.

I remember around the time of 9/11, I passed this kid walking with his grandma, and he said: “Oh, look, a bad person.”

The pressure of pandemic

COVID has been really different. I think financially, everyone is suffering, including my own business.

I run a trucking business and we have been pretty much shut down since COVID. Last week, we tried doing a couple of shifts, and it didn’t even pay for the fuel in the trucks.

Amar and a female volunteer in front of their truck, wearing masks, handing out food.
Amar Singh and another volunteer handing out food in Blacktown.(Supplied)

Turbans 4 Australia was originally a part-time gig but it is pretty much full time now.

Last week, we did 990 food hampers, and we’ve got the army coming in three days a week to help us. I think in the last two days, 250 more people have registered that they need help. So this week, we’re looking at close to 800, 900 deliveries again.

There is that fear that if I fall sick, it’ll come to my family as well. But safety is our first priority, and we’ve been lucky so far. My son’s eight, and before the strict lockdown, he loved going to projects with me.

Even if we’re just driving to school, if he sees a car broken down, he’ll say: “Aren’t we going to stop and help these people?” So I think what we do reflects on our kids.

He’s already saying: “I’m gonna be the next president of Turbans 4 Australia.” He’ll probably hold a coup.

Source: ABC News Online, https://www.t4a.org.au/our-story/

Rima Fujita: artist and activist

Rima Fujita: artist and activist

Rima Fujita hadn’t even heard of the Dalai Lama until she was told in a dream to ‘Help Tibet now!’ The accomplished artist has gone on to create a children’s book on the life of the Dalai Lama, as well as establish a foundation called ‘Books for Children on Earth,’ amongst her many other artistic projects.

The following is from an interview with Ann Tashi Slater.

How do you develop your images and theme?

I paint the dreams I have during sleep. I also paint the visions I see during meditation. It’s rather strange, but this is how I work.

Theme comes through intuition. Usually it’s something I’ve been thinking about, or am going through in my life at that moment.

How did you become involved in Tibet-related work?

One night in the 1990s, I heard a commanding voice in my dream say, “Help Tibet now!” I didn’t know anything about Tibet and didn’t even know who the Dalai Lama was! So I spent all day at the New York Public Library and found out about the tragedy of Tibet since the Chinese occupation. Then strangely, I began meeting Tibetans. One day I was talking with my first Tibetan friend, and he told me that as a refugee in South India he lived in a tent, had no food, absolutely nothing. Then I got this idea to create a picture book of Tibetan stories and donate it to the Tibetan refugees in exile. I started an organization called “Books for Children” and have created seven picture books and donated 15,000 books to Tibetan refugees. The goal is to help preserve Tibet’s unique culture and language.

Last March, I interviewed the Dalai Lama at his residence in Dharamsala, India for T Japan: The New York Times Style Magazine. I was given fifteen minutes by the secretary, but the Dalai Lama spent almost one hour with me. He offered me the best chai I’d ever tasted! I got really nervous beforehand, but in his presence, I felt so calm, comfortable, and peaceful. His focus is extraordinary. I’ve never met anyone like him – when he talks to you, he pays 120% attention and makes you feel as if you’re the only person who exists on this earth.

What experience has had the most impact on you?

My encounters with Tibetan refugees and meeting the Dalai Lama. Tibet, the Tibet cause, has changed my life as an artist and as a person. I was young and successful but didn’t know why I was creating art. After the voice in my dream told me to help Tibet, I realized my art was not a “goal,” a way to gain money and fame, but a means of contributing to society and humanity. This revelation gave me a true purpose in creating art and a sense of liberation from the greedy art world.

As Fujita explains in her Artist’s Statement, her vivid visual style is partially informed by unique Buddhist elements in her background: “As a descendant of the Japanese Last Samurai the fundamental essence of my creation is based on Buddhism and Bushido — the coexistence of self-discipline, commitment, serenity and compassion. However, raised in New York City my external life is utterly Westernized. My work is the result of intertwined hybrid cultures, countless layers of monologues and emotions that manifest in my dreams and meditation process…I work on black surface, ‘Nibiiro,’ the expression of a very dark grey from the Heian period (AD 794 to 1185) in Japan. I am inspired by a myth that if you mixed all colors that exist in Nirvana, the Buddhist land of Perfect Bliss, it would become ‘Nibiiro.’”

Sources: Staying Focused on Your Path: A Talk with Artist Rima Fujita by Ann Tashi Slater, Tokyo Weekender, November 1st 2019

Naga Goddess by Rima Fujita
Good Night by Rima Fujita
Bodhisattva by Rima Fujita
HH the Dalai Lama and Rima Fujita. Photo Tokyo Weekender

Books for Children on Earth‘s goal is to produce children’s books for the orphans and children of the countries in need not only to help with their education but also to help them preserve their languages and unique cultures.

After Rima Fujita heard the voice in her dream exclaim, “You must do something for Tibet now!” she began researching. She learned that Tibet had been suffering under the harsh Chinese occupation since 1951. Thousands of refugee orphans live in exile in extremely humble conditions.

As an artist Rima decided to produce a children’s book for those Tibetan orphans and refugee children. In order to help them preserve their unique language and culture, she picked a folktale illustrative of Tibet’s rich culture and wrote the text in Tibetan and English. This first book is called Wonder Talk.

Having no budget for this project Rima collected funding herself and donated 2,200 copies of Wonder Talk to 81 Tibetan refugee schools in India, Nepal and Bhutan. In 2001 was officially selected by the United Nations as recommended reading for educators around the world. There have been many more books published by Books for Children on Earth since then.

Source: http://rimafujita.com/bfc/about-bfc/

Geshe Zopa’s Spring Wildflowers

Geshe Zopa’s Spring Wildflowers

Geshe Tenzin Zopa is a photographer, flower lover, humanitarian, and teacher. We present his latest photographs of the beautiful wildflowers of a Western Australian spring.

Geshe Tenzin Zopa near the Tsum Valley in the Himalaya

He is known worldwide as a teacher of Buddhism, humanitarian and participant in multi-faith events. However, he is less well-known as an avid photographer and nature lover. Geshe Zopa has a keen eye, and a love of flowers and the environment.

In spring this year, Geshe Zopa shared a picnic at King’s Park in Perth, Australia, with a group of students from the Hayagriva Buddhist centre and their pets. The gathering made many flower offerings. The south-east coast of Western Australia is renowned for its beautiful swathes of wildflowers, and is usually inundated with tourists at this time. Because of COVID restrictions however, numbers have been much smaller this year.

We offer this assortment of Geshela’s pictures of beautiful native Australian wildflowers.

At the flower offering event, Geshela explained the 10 benefits of offering flowers to holy beings:

10 benefits of flower offerings:

One becomes like a flower in the
The sense of smell will never degenerate.
One will never have bad body odour.
A smell of scented nectar will come
from the body.
The smell of the morality of the person will spread in all directions.
One will be a leader of the world.
One will achieve beautiful attractive
One will have great wealth.
One will be reborn in a higher rebirth.
One will quickly achieve the sorrowless state of enlightenment.

Owen Cole wrote about, and shared pictures of the event.

Geshe Tenzin Zopa at the FPMT Australia National Meeting, Karuna Hospice, in 2015

Beautiful Stories and Art blog

Beautiful Stories and Art Blog

Nourish your heart and mind through our inspiring posts about art and creativity, community, our beautiful planet and love for all creatures great and small.

SUMMER BLOG February 2022

Beauty, expression, feeling

Tibet House benefit concert curated by Philip Glass

Musicians Laurie Anderson, Patti Smith, and Tenzin Choegyal will perform virtually on Tibetan New Year – March 3rd – for a Tibet House benefit concert.

Thangka Painting at the Art Gallery at Chenrezig Institute

Art Classes Coming up at the Art Space at Chenrezig Institute

Chenrezig Institute, at Eudlo, has a thriving art space which produces holy objects such as statues, stupas and tsa tsas, as well as offer regular art classes and other holy object activities, such as mantra rolling,

Geshe Zopa’s Spring Wildflowers
This month we feature an online exhibition of renowned teacher, Geshe Tenzin Zopa’s, beautiful Australian wildflowers.

Rima Fujita: artist and activist
Tokyo born Rima Fujita’s art is inspired by the instructions she receives in dreams. Founder of Books for Children on Earth, she describes her relationship with HH the Dalai Lama and Tibetan culture.

Protecting mother earth

HH Dalai Lama says Buddha Would be Green if Born Today
As COP26 gets underway in Glasgow, HH the Dalai Lama has appealed to world leaders to take urgent action against climate change, warning of ecological destruction affecting the lives of billions and ruining the planet, including his birth country, Tibet.

Saving Tassie’s Shy Albatross from Climate Change
A wonderful collaboration has helped the threatened Shy Albatross to breed.

Our neighbourhood

Fully Sikh Compassion
Meet the Sikh cooking yummy meals for people in lockdown. Amar Singh is the founder of Turbans 4 Australia.

Love for all beings

How Pom Pom survived being sucked up into tornado
In October a tornado struck Meadow Flat just west of the Blue Mountains. Against all the odds this dog survived.