Come into Contact: A Berliner Supports Refugee Women with Circles of Peace

German Zen Peacemaker Gabriele Blankertz supports resettled refugee women from Syria with facilitated community circles. “To be with what is going on now includes silence as well as talking and laughing and crying. It is deep healing work.”

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10 Asian + Asian American Buddhists Who Make a Difference

This post originally appeared on The Jizo Chronicles ____________ I’m taking this cue from Arun over on the blog Angry Asian Buddhist, which explores issues of race, culture, and privilege in American Buddhism. As Arun notes in his May 23rd post, May was Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. He suggests: “…it would be great if the Buddhist blogging community took advantage of the eight remaining days in May to spend a little time—maybe just one post—recognizing the voices of Asian American Buddhists.” I want to take Arun up on that invitation and highlight a few of the contributions of Buddhists of Asian and Asian American descent to the field of socially engaged Buddhism. Please note that the list includes people born in the U.S. as well as born in other countries… I couldn’t imagine a list about engaged Buddhism that left off folks like Kaz Tanahashi and Thich Nhat Hanh, so that’s why I expanded on Arun’s original suggestion. This list is by no means exhaustive… I’m only touching on a few of the engaged Asian and Asian American Buddhists that I have known, worked with, and deeply appreciate. (By the way, the list is organized alphabetically by first name.) Anchalee Kurutach was born and raised in Thailand but has lived in the U.S. since 1988.  She has been involved with refugee and immigrant work for over twenty years in both Asia and the U.S. Anchalee is very active in both the Buddhist Peace Fellowship as well as the International Network of Engaged Buddhists. Anushka Fernandopulle, a dharma teacher in the Theravada tradition, is on the leadership sangha of the East Bay Meditation Center, in Oakland, CA. In addition to her past service as a board member for the Buddhist Peace Fellowship and her support for many other progressive organizations, Anushka brings a dharmic perspective to politics: she serves as a mayoral appointee to the San Francisco Citizen’s Committee on Community Development, a commission that advises the city on community development policy. Canyon Sam is a third generation Chinese American activist, author, and playright. She is the author of Sky Train: Tibetan Women On the Edge of History. After spending a year backpacking through China and Tibet when she was in her twenties, Canyon...

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Thangkas by Mayumi Oda

Dear Friends, Thangkas (pronounced TAHN kahs) are Tibetan paintings portraying Buddhist deities or mandalas. Rich in symbolism and allusion, thangkas act as a teaching tool for students of Buddhism. Mayumi’s thangkas were painted during her activist years when she founded “Plutonium Free Future” in Japan and Berkeley, California. Known to many as the “Matisse of Japan,” Mayumi Oda has done extensive work with female goddess imagery. Born to a Buddhist family in Japan in 1941, Mayumi studied fine art and traditional Japanese fabric dyeing. In 1966 she graduated from Tokyo University of Fine Arts. In 2010, California Institute of Integral Studies awarded Mayumi an honorary degree of Doctor of Arts and Spirituality. Her work is included in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Yale University Art Gallery, and elsewhere. Mayumi has wonderfully donated the unique, museum-quality thangkas shown here to the Zen Peacemakers. There will be a silent auction during the Symposium for Socially Engaged Buddhism (Aug 9-14) to raise funds for the Zen Peacemakers activities in Socially Engaged Buddhism. Purchases are half tax deductible. We are inviting those on our mailing list to also bid. Each day we will announce the largest bid for that day and give individuals and organizations the opportunity to bid during the next day. At the end of the week we will announce the winning bid for these beautiful art treasures. White Tara [2003] Size: 11 feet by 5 feet Retail: $50,000 Minimum bid: $25,000 Dakini, the Sky Walker [1987] Size: 11 feet by 5 feet Retail: $50,000 Minimum bid: $25,000 Zen Peacemakers is a 501(c)(3) organization. You can bid on either or both of these extraordinary thangkas by calling Laurie at 413-367-5272 or by sending an email to Thangka Bid. With deep appreciation and with much love, Bernie...

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Huffington Post: Jeff Bridges & Zen House Fight Child Hunger

From Child Hunger and How Zen House Can Help at the Huffington Post: By Bernie Glassman My vow to feed as many hungers as possible includes the physical suffering of food insecurity. According to Jeff Bridges’ End Hunger Network, 16.7 million American children — nearly one in four — live in households that do not have access to enough nutritious food to lead healthy, active lives. …The Montague Farm Zen House is teaming up with my friend Jeff Bridges to channel the energy of the entertainment industry and other partners towards achieving President Obama’s ambitious goal of eliminating childhood hunger in the U.S. by 2015. We will explore this partnership further at this summer’s Symposium for Western Socially Engaged Buddhism… As I said in a recent interview, dharma centers that were set up to help people become less egoistic instead became middle class enclaves of self-absorption. Today, the structure of the residence training of the Montague Farm Zen House recognizes that family life is a rich field of practice. The Zen House supports family life for the residents and for the families in need who come to our meals and wellness programs READ FULL...

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Symposium Presenter Anne Waldman Appeals for help for Naropa

Waldman will present in the first Symposium for Western Socially Engaged Buddhism on the topic of arts and social change.  Read her full letter at Elephant Journal, co-authored with Lisa Berman or read the following excerpt: We want you to know that we are here, that we support and acknowledge our students, that we are up and running, and that the SWP staff, Reed Bye, Interim Chair of the W&P Department, and Naropa administrative staff and trustees are willing to meet with students to clarify and listen to concerns. We are part of a larger world and culture that is going through tremendous change, paradigm shifts of all kinds. We will all have to do with less and continue to cultivate our empathy and compassion and our artistic paths. We exist amidst huge waves of suffering as the oil spill continues to gush and harm many sentient beings and the vegetal world, as war rages, as financial cuts are made that affect everyone.  It is our duty to stay awake and to provide feedback in our own communities. The writing community here at Naropa has always been an activist one, and a spiritual one. We honor this...

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Dudeism=Buddhism? Bridges, Bernie and Symposium

Watch the Tricycle Web Exclusive Jeff Bridges and Bernie Glassman: A Conversation, click here. Jeff Bridges is scheduled to perform and present at the Symposium for Western Socially Engaged Buddhism. What is Dudeism? According to dudeism.com, a website dedicated to deploying the wisdom of The Dude (Jeff Bridges) from the comedy The Big Lebowski, Dudeism is a religion with the following creed: The idea is this: Life is short and complicated and nobody knows what to do about it. So don’t do anything about it. Just take it easy, man. Stop worrying so much whether you’ll make it into the finals. Kick back with some friends and some oat soda and whether you roll strikes or gutters, do your best to be true to yourself and others – that is to say, abide. In short, Dudeism is not Buddhism. However, dudeism.com does list the Buddha as one of the “Great Dudes in History”—along with Snoopy, Gandhi, and Jerry Garcia—citing the fact that “he bailed on his birthright and taught that you should go with the flow.” Read Full Article at Tricycle Image: Dude-vinci, from...

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Engaged Buddhist named Poet Laureate of the United States

Merwin moved to Hawaii in 1976 to study with Robert Aitken Roshi, the primary honoree of the Symposium for Western Socially Engaged Buddhism.  While the New York Times says that “his interest in Zen Buddhism have sometimes made him seem like a man apart from society, a soul too pure too mix with the frantic heave of life as we know it,” they also describe his social engagement: But Mr. Merwin’s appointment is potentially inspired. He is an exacting nature poet, a fierce critic of the ecological damage humans have wrought. Helen Vendler, writing last year in The New York Review of Books, called him “the prophet of a denuded planet.” With the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico becoming more dread and apocalyptic by the hour, Mr. Merwin may be a poet we’ll need. The pacifist in him may brood over the long war in...

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SEB Symposium presenter Anne Waldman to perform Ginsberg’s “Howl”

At an exhibit on the photos of Allen Ginsberg displayed at the National Gallery in Washington D.C., beat poet Anne Waldman will do a reading of Ginsberg’s famous poem “Howl.” Like Ginsberg, Waldman was a key figure of both the Beat Generation and the transmission of Buddhism to the West. On August 14, Walman will give a keynote address, participate in a panel and lead a discussion on arts and social change at the first Symposium for Western Socially Engaged Buddhism.  You can register for that day alone or for as many days as you please of this historical event.  Read the full report of the gallery exhibit in the Washington City...

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Boston Herald Reports on Jeff Bridges' Participation in Symposium

“That Oscar winner Jeff Bridges will sing his Crazy Heart out at an Aug. 13 concert with his songwriter bud John Goodwin during the Zen Peacemakers’ ‘Symposium for Western Socially Engaged Buddhism’ in Montague. Goodwin co-wrote ‘Hold on You,’ a tune sung by Bridges in ‘Crazy Heart.'”  Bridges studies Zen with Bernie Glassman and you can watch a video of their discussion.  While Bridges has visited Montague in the past to participate in events, we hope that he doesn’t get whisked away by an unplanned demand to film a new movie. READ FULL ARTICLE LEARN MORE APPEARANCE AND...

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DC fest includes films, discussion on Engaged Buddhism, diversity

Sunday afternoon, June 20, will see a program sponsored by the Washington Buddhist Peace Fellowship. It will start with a screening of “Peace is Every Step,” a portrait of Thich Nhat Hanh, who was nominated for the nobel Peace Prize by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., for his efforts to end the war in Vietnam peacefully. Following the film, Peace Fellowship founder Hugh Byrne will lead a meditation and a discussion on engaged Buddhism with peace activitst Colman McCarthy. Read full article in...

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Elephant Journal Readership is at a record high.

Readership is at a record high, we won #1 green content in US on twitter 2010, this Facebook Page brings in > readers than Google itself, TreeHugger just named Waylon Lewis a top “Eco Ambassador” in US…but there’s no sustainable business model for new media. Save the elephant? From the Elephant...

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Zen Master Bernie & Jeff Bridges Video II

To watch part 1 of this conversation filmed by Tricycle, click here. To watch part 2 of this conversation, click here. To learn more about the Symposium for Socially Engaged Buddhism this August in Massachusetts, where Jeff is scheduled to perform,  click here. To watch Joan Oliver’s interview with Bernie Glassman on the Symposium, click here (we improved the sound quality since the original post). And finally, to help support more great material like this, become a Tricycle Community Sustaining...

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Jeff Bridges and Bernie Glassman: A Conversation (Part 1). A Tricycle Web Exclusive

Watch here! Look for Part 2 next week and for Katy Butler’s interview with Jeff Bridges in our upcoming Fall 2010 issue! (recorded by Ms. Mars of Cenozoic Studios for Tricycle, Photos taken by Seabrook Jones for...

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A conversation with Jeff Bridges & Bernie Glassman

From Tricycle Last week, Tricycle contributing editor Katy Butler sat down for a joint interview with Zen Peacemakers founder Bernie Glassman (left) and actor Jeff Bridges (right) in Austin, Texas. To find out what they discussed stay tuned to tricycle.com for a video of the interview. Based on the photographs, it looks like it was a lively conversation! Photographs by Seabrook Jones,...

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Remembering and Honoring Allen Ginsberg

Allen Ginsberg passed away thirteen years ago this week on April 5, 1997.  I remember when he shared a poem in typical Ginsberg style at the opening of the first Greyston housing unit.  As a long-time Buddhist activist, he supported our work in Greyston.  I remember several years later.  I was working at Greyston and I was away from the office.  Allen called and left a message, saying that although his doctors had said he had 3 months to live, he felt he was going faster than that.  He started calling his friends to ask if there was anything he could do for them.  After returning, about 3 hours after the phone call, he had already slipped into a coma.  He passed away shortly after.  He also wrote a letter to President Clinton, letting him know that if he wanted to give him any awards or honors, he better do it...

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