Author Topic: 4,000 British troops to meditate at Bodh Gaya, Sarnath to beat stress  (Read 7814 times)


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Interesting...I'm glad that Buddhism is getting so much attention around the world

All for enlightenment: 4,000 British troops to meditate at Bodh Gaya, Sarnath to beat stress
by Giridhar Jha, MAIL TODAY, December 10, 2012
Patna, India -- The British Army will send about 4,000 of its troops, who are followers of Buddhism, in a group of 100-150 people to spend a week at Bodh Gaya and Sarnath to seek peace after their prolonged involvement in the war zones in different countries such as Afghanistan and Iraq. They will all meditate under the famous tree at Bodh Gaya, where Lord Buddha had attained enlightenment in 6th century B.C.
Mahabodhi tree has been declared a world heritage site by the Unesco in 2002.

"The British soldiers will start arriving in Bodh Gaya from early next year," Bihar's minister for tourism Sunil Kumar Pintu told Mail Today on Monday. "They will arrive in separate groups of about 100-150 people and meditate under the holy tree. They will continue to arrive here throughout the next year."

Pintu said that the troops will spend six days in Bodh Gaya and one day at Sarnath in Uttar Pradesh.

The minister said that the tourism department of the Bihar government had entered into an agreement with an international travel agency, to facilitate the trips during the World Tourism Mart held in London last month.

 "Bihar had taken part in the World Tourism Mart for the first time which was held in London between November 5-8 this year," he said. "It was during that tourism fair that the officials of the British army got in touch with us through the travel agency. We had three rounds of talks in this regard."
Pintu said that the exact dates of the British troops had not yet been finalised yet. He stated that the state government would take care of the security of the British soldiers and facilitate their smooth stay in holy south Bihar town. "We will provide our wholehearted support to the British soldiers troops who want to meditate under the Mahabodhi tree," he said.

The tourism minister said that the British Army had about 4,000 troops who were followers of Buddhism. "Since Bodh Gaya happens to be the holiest of the holy places for the Buddhists, the British army has decided to arrange the trips for its soldiers," he added.

Stating that he had discussed the details of the trip with the British army officials, Pintu said that most of the British troops coming to Bihar had been deployed in the different countries such as Afghanistan and Iraq in recent times. "The visit to Bodh Gaya and Sarnath is aimed at providing them peace and helping them distress them after their experiences in those countries."

He said that it was for the first time that such a visit has been organised.

Sushil Kumar Singh, managing director of the travel agency, said that his agency had signed an agreement in this regard with the British Army in London month. He said that Dr Sunil Karyakara, a Buddhist chaplain with the British army, had been made the coordinator for the trips. "We have entered into agreement with the British army to bring the stressed soldiers to various places on the Buddhist circuit," he said. "But they would spend most of the time at Bodh Gaya."

Singh said that the exact dates of the first round of the soldiers' visit had not been finalised but they would start arriving from early next year. "We will hold a meeting with the British army officials in January to chalk out the final itinerary in which Bihar tourism department officials will also be involved," he said. "The trips would continue in future as well."

Bihar has witnessed remarkable rise in the number of tourists from the foreign countries in recent years. Last year, the number of international tourists visiting Bihar was 8.70 lakh which was ten times more than what it used to be a decade ago. This year, 8.40 lakh had already visited the state till August and their number was expected to cross 10 lakh by the end of the year.


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Re: 4,000 British troops to meditate at Bodh Gaya, Sarnath to beat stress
« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2012, 03:30:31 PM »
It is proven time and again that Buddhist Meditations are beneficial for the transformation of the mind.  There are so much benefit to gain from doing meditations.  It is a means to achieve peace of mind and happiness.  It is a means to heal the mind.  It is a means to understand the nature of all phenomena. 

The British Army realises the importance and benefits of doing meditation.  Furthermore they had chosen the holiest Buddhist land - Bodhgaya for this purpose.  What a wise choice and publicity for Buddhism! Rejoice!  May the 4,000 British Troops be blessed at Bodhgaya and be healed by doing meditations.


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Re: 4,000 British troops to meditate at Bodh Gaya, Sarnath to beat stress
« Reply #2 on: December 23, 2012, 04:58:30 PM »
It is not just the British Army everyone can learn to do meditation starting from now. It is how serious we want with our mental health just like how serious we are with our physical health. Meditation has proven to be efficacious on people who are in the jail. These are all stems from mentally and psychologically not being well what can we say more for the common people who are always have to deal with stress from day to day in their work. It is also good for kids, and teenagers because meditation has good calming effect on the mind.

Big Uncle

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Re: 4,000 British troops to meditate at Bodh Gaya, Sarnath to beat stress
« Reply #3 on: December 23, 2012, 07:23:36 PM »
I just went to Bodhgaya last month for a week with some fellow practitioners and had a really relaxing contemplative time there for a lack of a better description. The tree, the pilgrims and the atmosphere of devotion really gets under your skin. I did a lot of Dorje Shugden mantras there and I even recited the whole prayers there.

I love it and thoroughly enjoyed myself doing a lot of practices that I normally don't have the time to do and i felt so much more balanced and centered. I think doing practice at such locations does wonders for anybody. It must the powerful blessing of the Buddha that extends through time till this day although much of the glorious Buddhist architecture was destroyed by the Muslims. But I think the British army is doing its soldiers a big favor for sending its troops there.


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Re: 4,000 British troops to meditate at Bodh Gaya, Sarnath to beat stress
« Reply #4 on: December 24, 2012, 04:16:27 AM »
The 4000 British troops are doing it rightly to beat stress: to go and meditate at Bodhgaya where Lord Buddha had sat under the Bodhi tree and meditated until he attained Peace and Enlightenment.

A friend of mine has just returned from a pilgrimage in Bodhgaya and Sarnath and other holy sites of Lord Buddha. She waxed eloquent and said she was overwhelmed by the peace and serenity that these holy sites exuded. In fact, according to her,Lord Buddha meditated a lot. There was the six years of fasting retreat spent in meditation. Then , He left the place where he had fasted and made his way to Bodhgaya and there were 49 days between when he accepted a drink of milk and rice from Sujata( thus breaking His fast and opting for the middle way) and when he sat under the Bodhi tree in Bodhgaya and meditated until he attained Enlightenment. He must have spent those days in meditation too.Also after His Enlightenment(according to my friend), he went into seven weeks of meditation.Through all this, Lord Buddha is showing us how important meditation is for us to attain Peace and freedom from suffering and Enlightenment.

Jessie Fong

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Re: 4,000 British troops to meditate at Bodh Gaya, Sarnath to beat stress
« Reply #5 on: December 28, 2012, 04:18:01 PM »
To meditate together at a holy place is sure a great way to beat the stress. And with 4000 troops together, imagine the support that goes out to the others. 

They must have realised that it is very important to meditate and I am sure that they reaped a lot of rewards from that. 

It would be good if they would do this regularly and encourage others to take part as well.

Tenzin K

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Re: 4,000 British troops to meditate at Bodh Gaya, Sarnath to beat stress
« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2012, 05:18:06 PM »
Even though the Mahabodhi Temple in Bodhgaya attracts tourists from all over the world, this January will probably be the first time that members of the British army will visit the place of pilgrimage on a large scale to meditate and de-stress.

For me being an army when come to war is all about killing and survival. Anything involve for us to kill there will be negative karma and intention to kill will generate the cause for it to happen. It’s kind of pity for the soldier especially doesn’t know or believe in karma.

As mentioned that meditation is part of the program for the army, below are just some sharing on the benefits of meditation.
“1. Meditation helps to improve health: Stress Reduction Meditation has shown to reduce stress.  In many studies Mindfulness Meditation also helps reducing anxiety disorders including PTSD and also has been shown to reduce the recurrence of depression in patients (Wikipedia).   Since stress impacts the immune system, meditation indirectly helps to improve overall well-being. Chronic Pain: Meditation helped to reduce pain by 50 % and maintained this result for over 4 years according to Kabat-Zin. (Clinical Journal of Pain (1986) National Institute of Health (NIH) notes that meditation and relaxation therapies markedly improved ease of low back pain problems, arthritis, and headaches.  (Jama, 276 (4) (1996) Insomnia: 75 % of insomniacs were able to go to sleep within 20 minutes after meditating. (Jacobs, Harvard Medical – Say Goodnight to Insomnia, Owl Books (1999) Mental Health: There was 50 % reduction in psychiatric symptoms, 70 % decrease in anxiety in the inner-city group residents that were suffering from chronic pain, anxiety, depression, diabetes and hypertension.  Roth and Creaser, Nurse Practitioner 22 (3) (1997)

2.  Meditation helps to improve your focus (one-pointedness concentration): Buddhist meditation (Anapana Sati – Mindfulness Meditation) helps to improve your focus.  During the meditation, you will learn how to have a one-pointedness concentration on your breath or abdomen rising and falling.   Calming down and focusing your mind on one object allows bringing about more awareness in your daily activities.

3.  Meditation helps to achieve inner peace and serenity (equanimity) Buddhist meditation has shown the immediate effect of greater calmness and serenity. With more meditation, you can expect to have equanimity, the sense of inner peace and balance.   Over 100,000 meditators at S.N. Goenka 10 day retreats experienced equanimity within first 3 days of meditation.  Equanimity is an ability to be a neutral observer and see things as they are and not react to cravings and aversions.

4.  Meditation helps to remove suffering (Dukkha – un-satisfactoriness): In Buddhist philosophy suffering (Dukkha un-satisfactoriness) is a result of excessive desire and attachment.   This desire leads to craving of pleasant sensations and aversion of unpleasant sensations.  Meditation allows you to understand, experience and deal with unpleasant situations with  equanimity.

5.  Meditation helps you to live with loving-kindness and compassion: Neuroscience research using Tibetan Buddhist Monks with over 10,000 hours of meditation showed that Loving-Kindness Meditation has profound effects on the brain by developing compassion towards unknown people.  (Richard Davidson). Long-time meditators feel much happier and more compassionate.

6. Meditation helps to bring moment-to-moment awareness (power of now): Meditation helps to cultivate your mind by bringing moment-to-moment awareness and calming down your busy mind.  This can have a broader application to your daily life, make you much happier and allow you to live mindfully.

7.  Meditation helps to achieve Buddhist Enlightenment and Nibbana (Nirvana): Perhaps the overarching goal and benefit of Buddhist meditation is to achieve Buddhist enlightenment and Nibbana (nirvana).  Buddha said that everyone can achieve Enlightenment in this lifetime by understanding Four Noble Truths, meditating and following Eightfold path towards liberation and Nibbana.”

Jessie Fong

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Re: 4,000 British troops to meditate at Bodh Gaya, Sarnath to beat stress
« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2013, 03:42:48 PM »
Every year, a project called V-Star Change the World brings schoolchildren to a Buddhist temple in Thailand for a day of meditation.

Organisers claim that one million children attended the most recent event at the Phra Dhammakaya temple near Bangkok.

The temple has attracted controversy in the past, with critics claiming the meditation exercise is simply for show, and others likening its activities to a cult.

But the temple believes that when one million children meditate together it can help to change the world.

Here we have a million children doing meditation to help change the world while there was 4000 troops in India who went to meditate to beat stress.

WE have news of more and more people engaging in meditation -- whether for world peace, beat stress, etc. - there may be other reasons for mediation; I am sure it must be beneficial, otherwise it would not be so popular.


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Re: 4,000 British troops to meditate at Bodh Gaya, Sarnath to beat stress
« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2013, 05:06:21 AM »
The toll of war, over a period of time, can get the better of even the most seasoned army men.

It’s a fact well-established by the series of random shootings by veterans, especially in the United States and United Kingdom, who find themselves unable to forget the horrors of the battlefield, long after they return to civilian life.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is no longer a fancy psychological term only found in bulky books and journals on the subject. It’s a reality countries involved in wars are grappling with on a day-to-day basis, and which has forced them to look for solutions to help troops dodge and beat the condition.

It is wonderful to know that the British army approached the Bihar Tourism Board with a proposition to allow 4,000 of its battle-fatigued troops, all practicing Buddhists, to visit Bodhgaya so they can destress via meditation under the holy tree at the ancient haven of Buddhism in a bid to seek mental peace after their prolonged involvement in the war against terror in Afghanistan and Iraq.