Thought for the Day

The following talks are taken from BBC Radio 4's "Thought for the Day" series. Most are by Vishvapani, a Triratna member and are given from a Buddhist perspective. Occasionally relevant talks by speakers from various other faith traditions are included.

"This brief, uninterrupted interlude has the capacity to plant a seed of thought that stays with listeners during the day. Thought for the Day is broadcast during the Today programme on BBC Radio 4 every morning at around 7.45am."

Saturday, 26 January 2019

American poet Mary Oliver by Vishvapani

Many British people, even those who read poetry, might not have heard of the American poet Mary Oliver, who died on Thursday aged 83. But in the US she was loaded with honours and won a wide readership for poems expressing a distinctively modern kind of spirituality.

Her most famous poem is The Summer Day, which starts with the ancient religious question, ‘Who Made the world?’ Then the poet gazes at a grasshopper that’s landed in her palm as she walks through the fields, and reflects that the answer lies in engaging with what’s before her with care and curiosity. ’I don't know exactly what a prayer is,’ she says. ‘I do know how to pay attention’...........................

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Friday, 4 January 2019

The Space Race and Our Precious Earth by Jasvir Singh

This is likely to be an important year when it comes to the environment, be it by managing the impact of climate change, increasing the use of renewable energies, or reducing our reliance on single-use plastics. We have a short window of opportunity to change our own direction of travel when it comes to how we treat the world, and we should make the most of it whilst we still can.

As we enter this new Space Age with wonder and excitement, I believe that we would do well to keep at the front of our minds the precious and unique world we live on. After all, it’s still the only one we truly know.......................


Monday, 29 October 2018

"Wise Speech" by Professor Mona Siddiqui

Mona Siddiqui, Professor of Islamic and Interreligious Studies at the University of Edinburgh, considers the impact of "hate speech" on recent events.

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Saturday, 13 October 2018

Vegetarianism and veganism

This week we've heard from Oxford scientists that limiting carbon emissions and feeding a growing population should mean moving towards a more plant-based diet. The discussion's awkward but vegetarians have long argued that the choices we make around eating are intrinsically ethical. 

From a Buddhist perspective, what links these issues is the belief that the consequences of food production for both animal suffering and the planet are our responsibility. Not all Buddhists are vegetarian, but Buddhist ethics teaches that acting well means paying careful attention to the conditions from which things develop. Some Buddhist monks start a meal by reflecting on where the food has come from with a sense of gratitude to the farmers and cooks......................

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Saturday, 6 October 2018

Climate Change

When I look at my own behaviour, I find that blandishments about living more simply don’t really prompt me to make lasting changes. Those only come from my underlying values, and to keep them in mind I reflect regularly on what Buddhism calls ‘The Four Reminders’..............................

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Friday, 10 August 2018

Wise Speech

Vishvapani discusses the Buddhist concept of Wise Speech in relation to diversity.

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Friday, 3 August 2018

The Call of the Forest

In this talk, Vishvapani considers the story of how Felix Dennis, the young editor of Oz magazine, following his death left £150 million to establish a broad-leafed forest in Warwickshire comprising 10 million trees.

"Most of us value nature and fear climate change, but often that’s one concern among many, and collectively we’ve been slow to act. For that to change I think we need to know the natural world more fully and love it more deeply. We need to let the call of the forest, which the poets have so often expressed, stir our imaginations with a longing for freedom and simplicity. 

The impulse to restore the forests is a response to the needs of the planet, but it also engages our own spiritual need for wholeness and renewal."

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