Bangkok Podcast: Phra Pandit II

2017-10-18T21:48:01+00:00

Bangkok Podcast 45: Phra Pandit II

In the wake of the terrible tragedy in Japan, we are extremely pleased to have with us on this show Phra Pandit, the British-born monk who first came on our show in episode 30. On this show, Greg and Tony ask Phra Pandit to give his views on how such a tragedy can affect people, and how religion – and Buddhism in particular – can either become the one things that helps people get through such a hard time, or ceases to mean anything to them at all. What did the Buddha say about grief? How does psychology fit into religious counseling? And how can people use Buddhism to give them inner strength in dire situations?

We also get off on a tangent, and Phra Pandit will blow your mind with his in-depth knowledge of nuclear and solar power, the latest developments in the technology driving them both, and how he sometimes eats an entire pizza, but doesn’t sweat the small stuff.

Greg and Tony also recap their awesome Phrapradaeng jungle ride last week with some friends of the show.

Show Links:

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10 Comments

  1. Anthony MacGregor March 21, 2011 at 5:23 pm - Reply

    Great show Greg and Tony – perhaps your best so far. At least it really appealed to me. Great questions Greg. Very basic and penetrating. Hey, I remember you asked those kind of questions when you were a kid. Questions I couldn’t answer. I think Pandit did a better job than I did. 🙂 He doesn’t give from-the-book answers, that’s for sure. He has obviously thought things through and reached his own conclusions and they seem very reasonable conclusions to me. A lot of Buddhists would have gone on and on about kamma – something I interpret differently from orthodox Buddhists – but Pandit took a different tact, and it was very interesting and had the ring of truth. Looking forward to your next program Greg – UT

  2. Pandit Bhikkhu March 22, 2011 at 12:46 pm - Reply

    Thorium as a nuclear fuel : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thorium_fuel_cycle

    And ‘Personal Construct Theory’ – George Kelly’s genius was to realise that it is not what the therapist says that is important, so much as the person gaining some kind of ‘construct’ or cognitive filter through which to try and order/make sense of their bad experience.

  3. Tony March 22, 2011 at 2:43 pm - Reply

    Here’s an interesting article discussing the use of Thorium being developed by the Chinese. http://bit.ly/hnZdVI

  4. Pandit March 22, 2011 at 6:21 pm - Reply

    Yes – China, India, and Norway are the main places of research. Here’s a good overview: http://www.power-technology.com/features/feature1141/
    Note that waste from one ton of Thoium is less than one ton of waste (also it burns up waste from Uranium reactors too). The waste takes only 200 years to decay, with the only risk being a badly made leaky container leaking radiation into the water supply.
    One ton/Thorium is equal to 3 500 000 tons of coal, which if you add the 250 000 lorries needed to transport the coal … is a lot of coal pollution that definitely will be released directly into the environment, without any containment.
    The Japan tragedy has likely set back nuclear power for another 10 years.

  5. Jun March 23, 2011 at 12:37 pm - Reply

    There has to be a good reason they built nuclear power plants on the coast? I’ve seen other nuclear power plants in Japan, all on the coast like the troubled Fukushima plant. They couldn’t possibly be unaware of the risk of tsnami for such an earthquake and tsunami prone country (after all tsunami is a Japanese word). And literally all of the prefectures in Japan sit on active fault line (2,000 known from what I heard).

  6. Pandit Bhikkhu March 23, 2011 at 5:16 pm - Reply

    A comment on the podcast via LBS;

    “”Thanks for your interview with Phra Pandit. However, I feel he answered the question about Tibetan Buddhism quite poorly. Tibetan Buddhism not well received. Pandit mentioned visits by two Tibetan masters recently. There is a Tibetan temple in Bkk which is quite inactive. When one of the Tibetan masters visited it in January, the current abbot said that he will never allow Tibetan Buddhism in Bangkok because of the Chinese influence. Other Theravada practitioners have said to me that Mahayana /Vajrayana are not true Buddhism. Still others have said the gov’t made Vajrayana illegal because of the sexual imagery. Who knows? Perhaps Pandit simply chose to stay out of it.”

  7. Pandit Bhikkhu March 23, 2011 at 8:30 pm - Reply

    I’d have to look into that Jun. Perhpas the coast has some benefits …. but probably it is a case of complacency – after all look how most of the buildings were smashed to bits. The tsunami possibility was clearly ignored.
    The reactors were bilt ‘quake-proof’ and survived the huge shake all over Japan.
    Every country gets complacent. The British example is a good one – a few inches of snow and the country grinds to a halt.

    Here is another comment on the podcast sent privately :
    1. ON DUTY OF A MONK: That there are different duties being performed by monks; some as administrators, some as teachers, and so on – May I understand that, whatever duties being performed, these are (can be) considered a practice of Dhamma. On the other hand, the practice of Dhamma is not only restricted to monastics, but lay people or householders too are able to practice in their daily lives (and works). If a comment along the line of “Dhamma is Duty,Duty is Dhamma, and it’s for everyone” had been included, that might have opened up the minds of listeners to more possibilities in their seeking to understand Buddhist teachings. 2. ON REBIRTH & LIFETIMES: That human beings go through samsara and a (same) person who has gone through many past lifetimes can look forward to many more future lifetimes – May I understand that, when one talks about samsara, or about Birth & Death as mentioned in the co-dependent origination, terms such as Birth or Death do not necessarily refer to physical birth (out of a mother’s womb) or death (buried in the ground) that every human being experiences once in a lifetime but the countless Births (Arising) of self (or ego) and Deaths (Passing) of such in the mind of a being at any single moment or in a day, without he or she or it even realizes that the clinging to self. If a comment along the line of “Birth or Death in the Dhamma language of Buddhism can also mean the arising and the passing of self or ego, the clinging of which leads to Dhukka or suffering” had been included, that might have opened up the minds of listeners to more possibilities in their seeking to understand Buddhist teachings. 3. ON ENLIGHTENMENT: That it would take more than a few words to explain Enlightenment and certain meditation would be required to achieve Enlightenment – May I understand that, while Enlightenment may sound mysterious or even supernatural – did someone mention “the ability to float in the air” to which Enlightenment is certainly not, Enlightenment can be achieved if one follows the path as laid down in the Buddha’s teachings on the Four Noble Truths, on Dhukka and the quenching of Dhukka, and such a path is open to everyone, lay or ordained, Buddhists or non-Buddhists. If a comment along the line of “Enlightenment is a proven goal that one can realize in a lifetime through the practice of Dhamma which includes but is not limited to meditation” had been included, that might have opened up the minds of listeners to more possibilities in their seeking to understand Buddhist teachings. Kindly treat the sentences above as an unsolicited feedback from a Dhamma friend. While I may have used some Buddhist names or terms, I do not claim any final authority on their meaning or interpretations and sincerely welcome your suggestions and corrections. Any help or advice offered to me as I learn to walk the Dhamma path is eternally appreciated.

  8. Simon March 23, 2011 at 11:59 pm - Reply

    Just like the first interview with Phra Pandit, this was even more interesting. Best interview to date.

    It’s a shame that he’s so busy so we can’t hear more of his opinions.

    • Greg March 25, 2011 at 10:33 pm - Reply

      Thanks Simon. We have more interviews with Phra Pandit in the future, as well as some other interesting shows that will delve into different aspects and viewpoints on Buddhism in Thailand coming up over the next few months.

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