Friday, August 10, 2012

Bill Clinton Turns to Buddhism to Improve His Health

By Katherine Weber , Christian Post Reporter
August 7, 2012|2:36 pm

Washington D.C, USA -- Former U.S. president and environmental activist Bill Clinton, raised a Southern Baptist, has turned his spiritual focus to the religion of Buddhism for the sake of his health and "hectic life," according to reports.

"Ever since his heart scare, Bill has looked for ways to help him relax," a source told RadarOnline in an exclusive report.

"He has a hectic life, he travels a lot on business as an ambassador for the U.S. and needs something to keep him sane," the person presumably close to Clinton added. "Meditation offers him that, he has a mantra that he likes to chant and after every session he feels transformed and full of positive energy."

"It's definitely doing him the world of good – he feels fitter and stronger than ever," the source concluded.

According to the Times of India, Clinton has even hired a Buddhist monk to aid him in his spiritual studies.

Clinton reportedly has sought to improve himself both spiritually and physically after surviving a wave of health scares, relating mostly to his poor diet and weight, in the mid-2000s.

The former president also has become an advocate for veganism after he underwent quadruple bypass surgery in 2004 to unblock four clogged arteries. He also received two stents, or mesh scaffolds, in a fifth artery in 2010 at the New York Presbyterian Hospital.

"I essentially concluded that I had played Russian roulette," Clinton told CNN's Sanjay Gupta regarding his previous poor health in an Aug. 2011 interview.
"I was lucky I did not die of a heart attack," the 42nd president added.
Clinton's current diet consists primarily of fresh fruit and vegetables, although he reportedly occasionally eats fish.

The former president, 65, currently travels the world speaking on the importance of international diplomacy and environmental responsibility through the Clinton Foundation, established with the stated mission to "strengthen the capacity of people throughout the world to meet the challenges of global interdependence."
Clinton was raised a Southern Baptist, and many critics claim that he ebbed and flowed in his religious beliefs throughout his terms as president.

"You know, Bill Clinton knew the language. Bill Clinton could talk like a Southern Baptist evangelist when he wanted to. But they hated what he was doing with it, because they were in fundamental disagreement with him about so many very important social issues," Richard Land, president of The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, has told PBS Frontline.

Thursday, February 23, 2012


Sangharakshita is one of the founding fathers of Western Buddhism.

He was born Dennis Lingwood in South London, in 1925, and had a Church of England upbringing. But from an early age he developed an interest in the cultures and philosophies of the East. Aged 16, after reading the Diamond Sutra, he had a distinct realisation that he was a Buddhist. He became involved in London’s germinal Buddhist world in wartime Britain, and started to explore the Dharma through study and practice.

Then conscription in the Second World War took him to Sri Lanka as a signals operator, and after the war he stayed on in India. For two years he lived as a wandering mendicant, and later he was ordained as a Theravadin Buddhist monk and named Sangharakshita (‘protected by the spiritual community’). Sangharakshita lived for 14 years in the Himalayan town of Kalimpong, where he encountered venerable Tibetan Buddhist teachers — so he had the opportunity to study intensively under leading teachers from all major Buddhist traditions.

All the while he taught and wrote extensively. He is now the author of over 50 books. Most of these are expositions of the Buddhist tradition, but he has also published a large amount of poetry and four volumes of memoirs, as well as works on aspects of western culture and the arts from a Buddhist perspective. After 20 years in India, Sangharakshita returned to the UK to teach the Dharma. In 1967 he set up the Friends of the Western Buddhist Order — a new Buddhist movement for the modern West.

Sangharakshita has been a translator between East and West, between the traditional world and the modern, between timeless principles and relevant practices. His clear thinking, depth of experience and ecumenical approach have been appreciated around the world. He has always emphasised the decisive significance of commitment in the spiritual life, the value of spiritual friendship and community, the link between religion and the arts, and the need for a ‘new society’ that supports spiritual values. Sangharakshita played a key part in the revival of Buddhism in India, particularly through his work with the followers of Dr Ambedkar (formerly known as Untouchables). Around one third of the Order is in India, where the movement is called Trailokya Bauddha Mahasangha Sahayak Gana, or TBMSG. Throughout his life Sangharakshita has been concerned with issues of social reform.

Now in his 80s, Sangharakshita has handed over his responsibilities for the FWBO to a group of senior members of the Order. From his base in Birmingham, he is now focusing on personal contact with disciples, and on his writing.

More biographical reading about Sangharakshita: on Sangharakshita’s website to see some of his personal poetry and prose; see Sangharakshita — Founder of the FWBO by Subhuti and Vessantara on his First Meeting with Sangharakshita. Elsewhere on this site for Sangharakshita’s memoirs.