10 reasons why 2012 is looking good!

The new year is upon us – and a very merry one for all sentient beings!

The doom-mongers will be out in force this year, so let me, as a died-in-the-wool contrarian, offer 10 reasons why 2012 is shaping up to be a great year.

  • EU is banning factory hens. Ok, that may be a bit overstated, as they are just being allowed some extra space and some other welfare provisions; and there will always be compliance issues, but hey, it’s a start. And provisions for the welfare of other farmed animals is following in the next few years. The appallingly cruel development of factory farming is one of the most vile products of technology, and its end cannot come too soon.
  • Bhikkhunis keep on happening. We have seen the ending of Wat Pa Pong’s policy of banning monks from Bodhinyana who had participated in bhikkhuni ordination. Next year there will be a large scale bhikkhuni ordination in Vesali. While in Malaysia, I heard many hopeful things about the setting up of a new centre there. Through Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore, I heard words of encouragement, gratitude, and support for the bhikkhunis. There’s over 1000 bhikkhunis now in Sri Lanka, and this is just the beginning.
  • Troops are getting out of Iraq and Afghanistan. Not unproblematic, of course, but surely the only thing that can possibly work in the long term. Perhaps in the future our beloved leaders might reflect first on whether invading foreign countries is the most effective way of making them love democracy and freedom.
  • Kids TV show Waybuloo has got yoga and other cool stuff. Aww! Cute characters be nice to each other, share hugs and grow flowers, and float when they get happy, which is lots! It must be good, ‘cos the fundamentalists hate it.
  • After the Year of the Protestor, what happens next? From the Arab Spring to Occupy, people got out on the streets, almost always peacefully, and said, ‘Enough!’ the struggle for freedom, peace, equality and all good things is very far from over, but it is happening. A couple of years ago, who would have guessed? And what will the outcome be for the next year? Since we know that non-violent protest movements are far more successful than violent ones, I think there is a good chance that at least some of the progress will stick.
  • Fundamentalism is dead. Alright, not dead yet. But dying. Maybe not dying, but still. Pining for the fjords, at least. The unstoppable wave of ignorance and stupidity in the name of ‘religion’, which dominated global events from the time of 9/11, seems to be on the wane. The Arab Spring and other major shifts, including climate change, are driven by other concerns. The Tea Party candidates are dropping out of the US elections; it seems there is a limit to the lunacy that democracies will tolerate. We might even see a drift back to sanity-based politics. Hopefully this will accompany a more healthy relationship between religion and science.
  • Technology catches up on global warming. Even though the political response to the global warming crisis has been an almost unmitigated failure, technology is at least making some headway. This map shows how soon there will be cost parity between solar and current electricity generation in the US. Parity arrives in San Diego in 2014, according to their calculations. For more info, check out The Futuremakers, a great doco on emerging energy technologies by my old friend Maryella Hatfield.
  • More people are meditating than ever before. At least in the US: “A 2007 national Government survey that asked about CAM use in a sample of 23,393 U.S. adults found that 9.4 percent of respondents (representing more than 20 million people) had used meditation in the past 12 months—compared with 7.6 percent of respondents (representing more than 15 million people) in a similar survey conducted in 2002.” That’s nearly 25% increase in 5 years. The growth of meditation worldwide is perhaps the most significant thing ever in the history of humanity. For the first time, a large percentage of people, of all nationalities and religions, and in all kinds of settings, are consciously and deliberately making efforts to purify and expand their consciousness. No-one knows what the possible outcomes of this will be – but it will be more than just a little short term stress reduction.
  • Violence continues to decline. We have discussed Steven Pinker’s argument that violence is, on the whole, in decline. He continues to make his case, and statistics argue in favor of many of his key points. For example, homicide rates worldwide continue to decline. here’s hoping that 2012 will be humanity’s most peaceful ever.
  • The prophets will be wrong, again! Here’s counting down to Dec 20, 2012, when the world is going to end and all the usual yada yada. Me, I’ll be kicking back here at Santi with a lovely cup of coffee and a nice ‘told you so’. You’re welcome to join!

So there’s ten. What other great things can we look forward to in 2012?

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26 thoughts on “10 reasons why 2012 is looking good!

  1. “Bhikkhunis keep on happening. We have seen the ending of Wat Pa Pong’s policy of banning monks from Bodhinyana who had participated in bhikkhuni ordination. Next year there will be a large scale bhikkhuni ordination in Vesali. While in Malaysia, I heard many hopeful things about the setting up of a new centre there. Through Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore, I heard words of encouragement, gratitude, and support for the bhikkhunis. There’s over 1000 bhikkhunis now in Sri Lanka, and this is just the beginning”

    whoope do I mean you are only a few hundred years behind the samsaric world you seem to deplore and the monks a few thousand behind the worldly women they seem to hate so much and what
    sort of women would agree to becoming a Buddhist nun if they have to follow the rules set by women haters.and the teachings transposed by women hating men who “still blame everyone else (or is it their mummies) for all their problems”… it must be the free food!

    In about three generations it would be a good time to become a monk or nun when all the rot of mysoginism has died out and the women that do ordain will not be agreeing to becoming victims of sexism.

  2. Some men may be paying some sort of lip-service to the rights of women in Buddhism has anything really changed, have their actions changed.

    While it might be adventousous for men to leave the home life and go forth you can be sure men have made sure that for women going forth it is no different from living at home with mummy and/or being married to a man who is never there and looking after his kiddies …with the alternative being living with the %80 of men that even the Dalai Lama said should not be ordained.and living with men like that makes would make samsara look like nirvana!

    .. if all those women think that they are finding some freedom from dominance by men by ordaining well just remember that the monks in other countries have been ordaining and teaching (brainwashing) young girls as young as 2-3 years old for decades – what does this mean?

    It means that the rule that those who ordain first are the dominators and controllers of those who ordain after them (which I believe to be true) then your role as women will not change … you will not only be subserivant to men (sexist men obviously) and have less rights than women in the world who are at least protected by law ..but you will also forever never be free or independent because the men have made sure (by ordaining these young girls) you will be no more than slaves and babysitters to the young women they umm favour (and would like to have sex with if they could probably)

    Therefore they need not have anything to do with women who are not young and attractive and brought up to be pleasant and pleasing to them, to be subserviant to them and of course forever grateful for placing them in positions of power and authority over other older women.

    Women you can never be free in Buddhism, have any say or control because those ordained before you are the kids they have brainwashed and because they ordained before you are the bosses of you! You are back to being slaves to your children!

    have fun doing the washing nuns!

  3. One thing that needs changing is for Buddhist nuns to be allowed to wear shorter sleeves with their outfits like the monks do. Firstly, the Buddha didn’t make the rule to wear long shirts in 35 degree weather (and Buddha is supposed to be the boss and best teacher). Secondly, it’s the 21st century in Australia- we’re not muslim in a third world country. It’s not like arms are a sin. Congrats to Santi for allowing the females to have some equality and justice. Dhammasara- please allow the nuns to ditch those long sleeved shirts- especially in hot weather. It’s more like torture.

  4. Hi Phineas,

    According to Vinaya, of course, all sleeved garments are a no-no. Funny how breaking the Vinaya has become the standard…

    FYI, at Santi a couple of years ago we decided that both monks and nuns should wear long sleeved shirts/jackets in public areas, for modesty – the angas (shoulder cloths) worn by Thai monks are pretty revealing… I don’t find the jackets to be hot or inconvenient at all, although we are of course cooler here than in Perth (or Thailand!)

  5. Happy New (non Chinese) Year

    Re bhikkhuni discussion above

    It’s good there are increasing numbers of bhikkhunis (if that’s their inclination).

    But isn’t this just another example of sexism in a male dominated industry – why should monasticism be any different?

    Telling people not to get angry can be an effective ploy by those who hold power (and can refer to one of the Five Hindrances for justification). This I suggest is common to all religious institutions (and what prompted Marx to say religion was the opiate of the masses).

    Just thought I’d throw this in…..

    Cheers

    Geoff

  6. I watched “How Green is my Valley” the other day and a young girl who got pregnant “out of wedlock” was abused in front of the whole town “in Church” by the all male Deakons and her and tiny child thrown out into the cold winter evening; without food, money or shelter – nothing was said about the man who the Deakons knew was the father …..charming – any wonder people think religion is so hypocritical!

    Have a great 2012!

  7. as a Buddhist nun for 14 rains your anger is not justified here in Sri Lanka. we are free and teach our students to be the same. they have full monastic training the same as monks to the letter. gain Ba and Ma some go on th Phd level. no monk tells nuns what to do we follow the vinaya which as a westener i do not feel places me any at any disadvantage.
    i wold like to know why you are so anger?
    does the place we sit or stand make us an arahnt? if it did oh boy i would fight my way there.
    i a a daughter of the Buddha. i am not brain washed. but perhaps wish something different from a name who people think is orth more than what i have now. i have been a Budhist now over 24 years in that time 10 years was with a very famous monk and have met many of the great monks who are no more. name and position to them was vinaya not person and col
    uld drink tea in the kitchen and talk dhamma. we should remember as i see often that it is the women who have the gender problems in general and think once they get equality things will change. how often i have seen this. so please do gain akusala citta with anger juat look to your own heart anger is bad.
    about two weeks ago a friends auant from england was lookingfor bhikkhuns to give dana all other sri lankan nuns are not in sasana. this of course is untrue but bhikkhunis had told her this and even telling her seela mathawa is samaneri she told us that at the parinabbana th Buddha told to introduce Bhikkhuni sasana and help them. now who is teaching this not monks.
    the order will come nd it needs to be a good vinaya sangha which it is often lacking.
    these are my personal views. note that i only yesterday was helping ata bhikkhuni pinkamma and i teach bhikkhuni students
    yours in The Dhamma
    ayya london dhammadinna

  8. Hi Ayya London Dhammadinna,

    It is good to hear that, i think over here we get or are given the impression nuns are subserivant little women that just cook and clean and bow to men all day.

    I really appreciate your post and am really glad to hear you have to same rights and freedom as men.

    To me that is just normal as women in Australia don’t really have major issues with gender discrimination (outside monestries at least) and certainly do not want other countries imposing it on us.

    Thanks again for your post

    Metta

    mcd

  9. sorry i wanted to tell you if you hsve any questions about our life here in lanka you can leave a message on facebook under my name

  10. Bhante,

    To quote you: “since we know that non-violent protest movements are far more successful than violent ones.”

    I think of the toppling of Adolf Hitler and the continuing repression of the Tibetan people and I’m not so sure…..

    I think geopolitical importance might also play a part – look what happened in Libya once the UN decided to get involved (I know its early days yet etc but still) ….. Tibet is still waiting

    Non violence might be the best (only?) political course of action for those abandoned in Tibet but I don’t think non violence would have removed Gaddafi…..

    Non violence might be best for a favourable rebirth but not necessarily the best political option in this life

    HNY

    Geoff

  11. Thanks for that.

    They have a Sri Lankan Centre near where I live but I think it is mainly for men; would be good to have nuns in these centres too in Australia.

    Metta

    mcd

  12. ..I mean some mature nuns, there seem to be plenty of the “hip” young nuns about but they seem to have wiped out the over 40′s; you know the people who can actually make a difference to an aging population (who already have there own kids and families so probably can’t babysit nuns and monks as well) and go to Dharma centres to learn Dharma, not babysit

  13. “EU is banning factory hens. Ok, that may be a bit overstated, as they are just being allowed some extra space and some other welfare provisions; and there will always be compliance issues, but hey, it’s a start. And provisions for the welfare of other farmed animals is following in the next few years. The appallingly cruel development of factory farming is one of the most vile products of technology, and its end cannot come too soon.”

    Thank you Bhante for speaking out for animal welfare and I note that you’re one of the few Buddhists who do so. Animal advocates in 2012 will certainly campaign strongly against all forms of industrial mass production of food animals in which they are confined or imprisoned in cramped conditions and not allowed to exhibit natural behaviour. This mistreatment of fellow sentient beings is morally reprehensible but is commonly justified as economic necessity.

    This very same argument is also made to justify the long distance transport of food animals overseas especially from Australia to the Middle East. On the deck of a ship thousands of sheep would be crammed together and exposed to the elements on a three to four week sea voyage after which most have their throats cut whilst fully conscious.

    Recent surveys of Australian attitudes to live animal exports show that 4 out of 5 people are against the trade. Animal advocates of course want public opinion on their side and so in 2012 will focus on having live food animal exports phased out.

    Here’a a link to an article in the Huffington Post written by Nil Zacharias of One Green Planet entitled “It’s Time To End Factory Farming” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nil-zacharias/its-time-to-end-factory-f_b_1018840.html. Many people are simply unaware of the ethical, environmental, health and humanitarian issues of factory farming and this article sheds some light.

  14. Hi Albert,

    Thanks for the support. The voice of Buddhists for animal welfare is much stronger in Taiwan and some other East Asian countries. Ven Chao Hui has become a leading animal rights advocate, along with a variety of other controversial stands (like shredding the 8 garudhammas on national TV!) I am planning a long article on vegetarianism, hopefully to come soon.

  15. Indeed Bhante. Animal rights and human rights are not mutually exclusive but complementary. It’s very difficult to notice how animals suffer immensely in factory farms when they are located away from public areas, are windowless and signless and are closed to public scrutiny.

    In my experience those who know about animal suffering in such hostile locations are naturally sympathetic to human suffering but the reverse isn’t always the case. Many animal advocates don’t just narrow their focus on animal rights and welfare but also campaign on the gamut of human rights issues which include women’s rights, equal rights for gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgenders, same gender marriage, refugees, racial, age and religious discrimination and political prisoners etc.

    This isn’t surprising considering that food animals are mainly female namely:

    Eggs come from hens.
    Chicken meat comes from broiler hens. Same for turkeys and ducks.
    Dairy milk and its processed products of butter, cheese, yoghurt and ice cream all come from cows.

    And In industrial farming female animals are forced through cycles of repeated insemination to provide more offspring so as to produce more inexpensive eggs, meat and dairy products.

    Male animals don’t get off lightly either. Male chicks are killed immediately after birth and male calves are of no use. They are removed from their mother a few days after birth and sent to slaughter. The mother cow would then bellow for her calf for days. I have personally heard the mournful and pitiful bellowing of cows when I stayed at Bodhinyana Monastery which adjoins a dairy farm. That sound is heart breaking. In Australia alone three quarter of a million male calves are unwanted by-products of the dairy industry. This is the hidden dark secret the industry doesn’t want the public to know.

    On 1st December 2009 the European Union granted legal status of sentient beings to all farmed animals. This shapes the future development of their raising, transportation and slaughter, The abolishment of barren cages in egg production on 1st January this year is another step forward in animal welfare. What was seen as impossible and impractical has been achieved. Both have been a long time coming and the EU is moving in the right direction. The next step would be to end factory farming and long distance transport of animals in the EU. Animal advocates will make sure the rest of the developed nations will follow the EU for the welfare and happiness of all sentient beings.

  16. “In my experience those who know about animal suffering in such hostile locations are naturally sympathetic to human suffering but the reverse isn’t always the case. Many animal advocates don’t just narrow their focus on animal rights and welfare but also campaign on the gamut of human rights issues which include women’s rights, equal rights for gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgenders, same gender marriage, refugees, racial, age and religious discrimination and political prisoners etc”.

    It would be great to add to your list issues surrounding people with physical l and mental disabilities (and in that there are the issues of mental health), I mean if you can’t talk or read or write don’t have a family who is going to advocate for you? Maybe it is just where I live or my impression but it is like a forgotten planet that no one wants to know about – the Goverment may throw lots of money at it but that is not enough, the professional people – doctors, psychologists etc are probably more interested in giving breast implants and counselling to movie stars than working with those with serious issues, not that they could probably cope or be of much use anyway.

  17. Well I though nothing could beat Ajahn Brahms and Bodhinyas and Ajahn Sujatos efforts for supporting women but shredding the 8 garudhammas on national TV-

    How very very kool!

    maybe he is in the running for (non violent or aggressive) protester of the year award for 2012!

  18. Dear mcd,
    I think you should read Catuma Sutta in Majjhima Nikaya. You seems, very much eaten by anger, under the waves, the term you used here: http://www.metta.lk/tipitaka/2Sutta-Pitaka/2Majjhima-Nikaya/Majjhima2/067-catuma-e1.html
    The respect for seniors who have been ordained before oneself is a beautiful practice in the Sanghas (Bhikkhu & Bhikkhuni communities). However, the big ego and immature individuals who think that they have been a mother or a father or boss when they were in the worldly lives feel it hard to respect and give services to someone who id younger in age. The respect for seniority in Sanghas is a practice to reduce one’s ego and gross behaviors, if you are not ready, it’s better not to enter Sangha, have a status in the Sangha and endure a lot of negativity due to your ego-base judgement. There is much more than that. Hope that now you have managed to put yur nose above the waves!
    A big greeting to Ven Dhammadinna. Are you still live in a nunnery close to Gonapola, Horana? This is Dhammananda from Ayya Khema centre who met you in few occasion when i was in Sri Lanka.
    yes, you are right, in SL, nuns have more authority and equality than in any other Theravada countries.
    With Metta,
    Ayya Dhammananda

  19. Hi mcd,
    “any wonder people think religion is so hypocritical!” yes, there are a lot of hypocritical elements in any religion and idealism if we focused our attention on the negative sides of these. Since still a young girl, i witnessed some cases of mistreat unwed women in my birth place which is dominated by communism and old- Confucius ideas. I was angry at these scenes in real life, not in movies, and motivated to find an alternative way to lessen suffering in life. What i found was a religion and a lot of sacrifice of some noble-minded individuals, nuns who i met in my early days of noble search.
    Do you know that all injustice and mistreat in religions as well as in secular societies are due to ignorance? If these young (or old) women did not yield to their passions, who can victimized them? it is their ignorance and undisciplined behaviors make them victims. The system have some faults, but if we always blame the system (and in this world no system is perfect), it would not help to reduce suffering in one’s life. Think more deeply in what the Buddha’s taught, not on some cases of misused religious- based behaviors.

  20. VN Dhammananda

    “The respect for seniority in Sanghas is a practice to reduce one’s ego and gross behaviors, if you are not ready, it’s better not to enter Sangha, have a status in the Sangha and endure a lot of negativity due to your ego-base judgement. There is much more than that. Hope that now you have managed to put yur nose above the waves”

    .I am not nor was I any of what you describe above, boss father etc

    .I went to the Buddhist simply for teaching in good faith thinking this was some kind of “refuge” from the so called evil world, it was not in a monestry or even any thing to do with sangha; to be honest I did not even no what a sangha was at that time.

    .I never went to the Sangha – they were forced on me and continued to be after i left using there vast array of secret tactics to gain control of people… as they do.

    .I never have seriously considered for one second “entering sangha” “having status in the Sangha” it does not appeal to me at all and the hole idea seems banal, homely and boring; maybe for men it is exciting or interesting, but for women it seems more for the young pious girls that the Buddhist so adore.. and good on them, and it should be them, and I am glad it is them…. not me and I wish them the best as long as they leave me alone and don’t force these onto me! if Buddhist men want them and ordain then they can look after them!

    I am quite happy with my life and would not give it up to …what… hang around “little girl next door types” I can do that in lay life and from what I have experienced they are alot kinder, independant, and down to earth than “the women of Buddhist men” in the Buddhist centres.

    So yes I have put my head above the waves of the banal, twisted and evil tacticss used by so called honest Buddhists… thanks.

    Also VN it is at least good to finally hear someone be honest about the twisted and underhanded tactics used by Buddhists – about time they started to be honest about what they inflict on others in the name of the Buddha…instead of making out they are such compassionate, kind and gentle people…..what crap that is!

    So don’t worry i have not interest or desire to “enter any Sangha” whatsoever… but I do wish you all the best.

    Kind Regards and Best wishes

    Best wishes and again thank you for your honesty.

  21. VN Dhammanada

    Also if you have such blind faith in this “Sangha” I am sure Sujato could put you in contact with them.

    Best wishes

  22. What do you means by ‘blind faith’ in the ‘Sangha”. if there is no Sangha or people who learn and practice the Buddha’s teachings, how can these teachings be available now for this generation to learn?
    People grow chicken to have eggs, but it seems someone unskillfully collected only chicken’s shits.

  23. VN Dhammananda

    I wasn’t referring to all Sangha.

    As I said if you would like the number of the sangha I am referring to I am sure Sujato can assist.

    I am not a Buddhist therefore have no interest.

    Best Wishes

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