Monastery Twitter Updates for 2009-12-06

  • Bodhinatha is schmoozing and answering questions from people in the breakfast lounge at the Hilton before this morning’s programs. #
  • Yes, major lack of tweeting yesterday. It was a very busy day. We began with a Shum meditation led by Bodhinatha, attended by 20. #pwr2009 #
  • Leaving soon to go to Swamini Mayatitananda’s Living Ahimsa meditation. She attended our Shum meditation yesterday and loved it. #pwr2009 #

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Shum Meditation in Australia

Each morning at the Parliament of the World's Religions in Australia faiths share their spiritual practices and invite all to join. Today Bodhinatha held a Shum guided meditation. Palaniswami gave ten minutes of history and insight into the language of meditation and then some 24 people joined in the guided meditation,which was translated by Senthilnathaswami into English. Afterwards, several came forward to speak with Bodhiantha.

Suhag Shukla was there from HAF as was UK-based Brahmachari Vrajvihari Sharan, a shishya of our Hindu of the Year Sri Gopal Sharan Devacharya, seen here asking Palaniswami about Shum.

This is the yoga panel of the day, with the moderator on the far left.

We also attended a panel on Proselytization and Conversion, and listen to the delightful summary by our friend and Sri Chinmoy devotee Kusumita Pederson. After the panel we spent an hour with her discussing the important issues of conversion and whether laws against conversion should be made (she thinks not). She is working on a study of the philosophy of Sri Chinmoy and gave Bodhinatha a book of her Guru's poems which she edited. In all, a busy, busy and fruitful day Down Under.

Bodhinatha's Yoga Panel in Melbourne

Bodhinatha was with a noble group of panelists this morning, discussing yoga. The main question before the panel was whether yoga is a Hindu practice or a dogma-neutral exercise that anyone of any religion can follow. The subtext of the panel was whether yoga is a kind of covert way to bring souls onto the Hindu path. Officially, it was titled; Practicing Yoga: Covert Conversion to Hinduism or the Key to Mind-Body Wellness for All? Interesting topic! Left to right is Suhag of the Hindu American Foundation, Dr. Chris Chappel, Leigh Bruhmshi who is Australia's foremost yoga teacher trainer and to Bodhintha's left Dr. Amir Isahak, a Malaysian sufi.

Bodhinatha was first, and presented his Keynote, which proved the perfect overview for all that followed in the next hour.

He was the only one with a Keynote. His words set the stage for a dynamic panel and discussion to follow.

Suhag Shukla gave the second generation Hindu view, and lamented that all of the jewels of Hinduism are being appropriated, including yoga. She argued that yoga is indeed inextricably tied to Hinduism.

Dr. Chapple took the opposite view, saying that yoga belongs to a broader world and is not essentially Hindu.

The sufi spoke of how yoga was important in his life, but that the ultimate goal for him had to be proximity to God and not union in God, which was an important difference for him as a spiritual Muslim. Lively questions and discussions followed. All congratulated Bodhinatha for his lucid summary. Suhag asked the monks afterwards, "Where do you get all of this wonderful stuff!"

Hindu Gathering In Melbourne Temple

On the night of December 4th at “the largest Hindu Temple in the Southern Hemisphere” eight swamis from India, Europe and a little-known tropical island spoke on the Parliament of the World’s Religions

The swamis told stories, chanted slokas and blessed some 400 devotees who had come for the event. Palaniswami took these photos from the podium before he spoke. Hence the blurriness.

Bodhinatha abandoned his written notes when the organizers asked the speakers to adjust the ten minutes they were originally alloted to four or five. His spontaneous talk proved full of humor coupled with relevant tales from his own experiences, all illustrating the themes of the parliament, including environmental stewardship.

Palaniswami shared how the 1893 Parliament was indirectly responsible for our presence, all because Swami Vivekananda stopped in Sri Lanka in 1897 on his way back from the USA. A 19-year-old Yogaswami attended three talks Vivekananda gave in Jaffna and was inspired by the Indian monk and his unflinching message.

Perhaps this pushed the teenage seeker toward the path of renunciation and realization. If so, then Gurudeva’s initiation derived from that decision and that made Bodhinatha’s initiation possible, and that led to our presence at the Siva Vishnu Temple on this night. Whew, life is certainly an amazing web!

Palaniswami challenged the Melbourne Hindu community to get together and develop a Hindu advocacy group, a Public Relations and think tank facility, seva initiatives and such. In all, it proved a night of great messages and sweet satsang and darshan.

Bali Hai Resurrection

At the foot of Iraivan temple there is the magical little realm where the stream through the Aadheenam goes over a small falls to the Wailua River.

The recent heavy rains and the river’s spate put this beautiful area into a shambles. It is amazing how one day of rain can create weeks of work.

But nothing is to difficult, no challenge too great for the mighty Siddhidata Kulam! In the distance is Sadhaka Rajanatha reveling in a silent in the sunshine. Being this close to nature is always uplifting, even if it is hard work.

Oh, boy, get out the chainsaw! A big job.

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