ZPO Members Complete NYC Street Retreat, Sep 15-18

In photo: Jiryu, Mukei, Kim, Rudie, and Bogai By A. Jesse Jiryu Davis, ZPO New York City, NY USA For four days and three nights, I led a small group who chose to be homeless. In preparation, we raised a few thousand dollars to donate to homeless services, then we left behind our wallets and phones and all possessions, and joined to live on the streets together. We slept in parks, ate at soup kitchens, and begged for change. We meditated and chanted twice a day. Street retreat is a practice of the Zen Peacemaker Order. It’s a way to raise some money for charity, to bear witness to the lives of homeless people, and to taste the renunciation of the first Buddhist monks. I’ve been on retreats before, but this is my first time leading one. As you might predict, I lived in the grip of anxiety for the weeks before the retreat, but once the retreat actually began it didn’t take long for me to relax into its flow. We had favorable weather, we had enough to eat, and we found safe places to sleep each night. Here’s a recap we wrote together. Thursday We met in Washington Square park, on a mild day. There were five of us: Mukei, Bogai, Rudie, Kim, and Jiryu. We introduced ourselves, meditated, and began a Day of Reflection. We walked to the Bowery Mission for an evangelical service and meal. In the chapel, a Baptist preacher shouted and growled a sermon about his salvation from crack addiction. The pews were filled with street people. Most slept or played with their cell phones. A few shouted “amen!” The preacher called for the congregation to come forward and be blessed. A handful of men walked to the front and the preacher commanded Satan to release them in the name of Jesus. Everyone in the room should’ve come to the front, according to the preacher, because all were sinners who needed the salvation of Jesus. Dinner was above-par: roast chicken, rice, a salad with sliced turkey, apple juice and styrofoam bowls of cheese and caramel popcorn. I’d noticed a truck unloading boxes of Whole Foods leftovers earlier, perhaps the chicken was from there. We walked in the twilight through...

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ZPO Trainings at Events

Trainings in the Zen Peacemaker Order are given around the world at various ZPO Events. Link here to view upcoming trainings at ZPO Training Centers Link below to view trainings at various ZPO Bearing Witness Retreats. 3-Tenets Workshop Including Native American Bearing Witness Retreat 3-Tenets Workshop Including Auschwitz Bearing Witness...

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How Richard Gere and Bernie Glassman Offer Solutions for the Homeless

Written by Michaela Haas for Huffington Post, September 21, 2015. One winter day I got stuck with Richard Gere in Kathmandu, Nepal. He was traveling with friends of mine, and a snowstorm grounded their plane to Bhutan. We spent a delightful day in Kathmandu, exploring the local art shops. While he gracefully accepted the wishes of enthusiastic fans to give autographs, he talked about his hope that maybe Bhutan would be the one place on earth where he could travel incognito. Television was still a novelty in the tiny Himalayan kingdom, so he hoped the Bhutanese would not yet know him. When I met him again after the trip, I learned that he had had no such luck: Bhutan had videos, and just about every Bhutanese had seen Pretty Woman. Fifteen years later, though, Richard Gere did indeed stumble upon the secret how to be invisible, even in the midst of New York. In his new film Time Out of Mind (out this month), he plays an elderly alcoholic who ends up on the streets. Gere wanted to shoot the film documentary-style, and he was worried his A-list status would attract too much attention. No need to worry. Disappearing in plain sight is easy: instead of crossing the Himalayas, all Gere had to do was not to shave for a few days, don a dirty cloak, and ask people for spare change. Nobody recognized him, because nobody looked him in the face. “I could see how quickly we can all descend into territory when we’re totally cut loose from all of our connections to people,” Gere, a long-term supporter of the homeless, realized. Nobody recognized one of the best-known actors of our times, though he did not wear makeup or an elaborate costume. By simply blending in with the homeless, he became instantly invisible. “It wasn’t that folks didn’t notice me; they could see someone asking for change from two blocks away,” Richard Gere told Rolling Stone. “It was that they saw the embodiment of failure — and failure is something that people fear will suck them in.” This experience is universal: We prefer to shut out the forlorn and forsaken. We do not want to acknowledge suffering. We don’t want to look it...

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The Zen Peacemaker Order Vision, Part 3

This is the third and last part of a conversation between Roshis Bernie Glassman, Wendy Egyoku Nakao and members of the Zen Center of Los Angeles that took place there on April 23rd 2015. The first part featured Roshi Bernie’s vision, the second part featured Roshi Egyoku’s vision of the Zen Peacemaker Order as expressed at ZCLA and this third part includes the Q&A they performed with the sangha. Transcription by Scott Harris. Bernie: Now we’re open to questions. I also like the co-witness term. Let’s say we’re co-witnesses. And as I said before, in the ZPO, I would want to bring the Three Tenets in. So I’m your co-witness. That means to me I have to drop any concepts that I have, and I have to bear witness to you. So here’s a practice of bearing witness to each other, and then see what arises. Roshi Egyoku: And see what arises. Bernie: And you have to forget Bernie such and such, and bear witness to what you’re really, and see what arises. So here’s another example of how bringing the Three Tenets to everything we’re doing can be a whole wonderful practice. And the idea of having co-witnesses . . . I mean I’m trying to think, imagine if I was a co-witness with Maezumi Roshi. I don’t know if he’d be ready to go there. But if I could go there, I think that a lot of different things would have arisen. I was very close with him. But as we said before, in Japanese it’s really a Lord/Vassal relationship. I mean there’s strict rules about even the language. It’s strict. But if I was able to do that, and if you’re able to do that, whether you’re in a position of having being a group, or being within a group—if you could do that, I think it would be a good practice. So it’s not in the structure of ZPO right now. But I’m sure Egyoku will propose it, and it’ll be in that. It’s got to go through this circle discussion. Any new proposals—even the things that you see on the webpages . . . We have core practices, and we have all these different things to discuss. All of that’s gonna be discussed by these circles. So...

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Andrzej Getsugen Krajewski Received Inka on Aug 4, 2015

Andrzej Getsugen Krajewski, is the head teacher of the Polish Zen Peacemakers in Warsaw, Poland and co-organizer of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Bearing Witness Retreat. Born 1939 with strong wanderlust. Graduated Faculty of Philosophy at the Warsaw University to spend some lazy years on traveling foot. Active with the political opposition in Poland during the Marshal Law in 1980s. Writer and literary translator (from Swedish to Polish.) He began practicing Zen with Dae Soen Sa Nim in 1980 and in 1983 continued his Zen practice with Genpo Roshi. Since 1997 he has been training with Roshi Bernie Glassman. He received Inka from Bernie on August 4,...

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LAST TWO DAYS to REGISTER for the 2015 NATIVE AMERICAN BEARING WITNESS RETREAT in the BLACK HILLS.

LAST TWO DAYS to REGISTER for the 2015 NATIVE AMERICAN BEARING WITNESS RETREAT in the BLACK HILLS. “Bear witness to the Black Hills: colonized and exploited for 150 years, and still offering grasslands and canyons, lakes, streams and waterfalls, and summer wildflowers for those still seeking a vision. Our gathering there is becoming the place, the people, the moment. It’s having no idea or expectation, just the wish to be there with other people who want to do this. I invite you:Come to the Black Hills this summer.” – Roshi Eve Myonen Marko August 10-14, 2015 Native American Bearing Witness...

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Translating Kaddish by Peter Levitt

KADDISH (Recited at Auschwitz/Birkenau Bearing Witness Retreat in various languages.)   May the Great Name whose Desire gave birth to the universe Resound through the Creation Now. May this Great Presence rule your life and your day and all lives of our World. And say, Yes. Amen.   Throughout all Space, Bless, Bless this Great Name, Throughout all Time.   Though we bless, we praise, we beautify, we offer up your name, Name That Is Holy, Blessed One, still you remain beyond the reach of our praise, our song, beyond the reach of all consolation. Beyond! Beyond! And say, Yes. Amen.   Let God’s Name give birth to Great Peace and Life for us and all people. And say, Yes. Amen.   The One who has given a universe of Peace gives peace to us, to All that is Israel. And say, Yes. Amen.   A Midrash on Translating Kaddish In Jewish tradition, it is said that when a word is articulated, the inherent attributes and meaning carried by the word are released into the world. In Judaic-Christian teachings, the most well known example of this is found in Genesis, where we are told that when God said, “Let there be light!” there was light. As spoken by the Creator, the word gave birth to the fact and reality of what it held within. This teaching was very close to my heart when my dear friend Rabbi Don Singer and I sat down in my studio in Topanga California to make our translation of Kaddish, knowing that it would be used at the first Zen Peacemaker Order Auschwitz Retreat in November 1996, the very month and year my son would be born. After all, as a poet and translator, I too feel the yearning most writers experience in their effort to find some way for their word to become the thing itself in the hearts and minds of those who hear or read what they have written. I was comforted to know that Don was beside me. A true companion on such a mysterious journey is a good thing to have. What follows, then, are some notions that Don and I traded across the table as we sought to embed into our translation—almost like...

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Twenty Years Ago, Long Long Ago: Reflections On How It (Auschwitz Retreat) All Started by Eve Marko

This article will appear in: AschePerlen. Zeugnisse aus 20 Jahren Friedenspraxis in Auschwitz mit Bernie Glassman und den ZenPeacemakers Pearls of Ash and Awe. Testimonies from 20 years of Bearing Witness in Auschwitz with Bernie Glassman and the ZenPeacemakers Lieferbar Oktober 2015 / available October 2015 I first accompanied Bernie Glassman to Auschwitz-Birkenau in the first days of December 1994, before anyone conceived of a bearing witness retreat at the site of the concentration camps. He was going there to do a Transmission of Precepts ceremony for Claude Thomas, a Vietnam veteran, at an interfaith convocation convened there by Buddhist activist Paula Green and the Nipponzan Myohoji Zen community. Claude was later joining a group that would walk from Poland all the way to Hiroshima, Japan. In my family, two aunts and an uncle died at Auschwitz. Another uncle barely survived the hard labor and lived the rest of his life like an extinguished candle. My grandfather died in 1944 and my mother and her other siblings hid in cellars before getting caught and sent to the Terezin camp near Prague, Czechoslovakia. They were close to death when the Russian army liberated the camp in 1945. Given all this history, I thought, what better way to go to a place like Auschwitz than with one’s own teacher? But as I sat alone on a bench along the Vistula River on the weekend before meeting Bernie, I wasn’t so sure. Years of Zen practice slipped off me like snakeskin, revealing underneath the Jewish woman whose forbears lived, prayed, starved, and finally left Poland for Czechoslovakia. “Don’t just go to see where they died,” my brother had told me on the phone, “also go to where they lived.” So I had indeed flown to Warsaw and taken the train south to Krakow, peering out the windows at dark, hushed houses and even darker twilights. Other Westerners in the compartment, en route to the convocation, talked eagerly and happily; they were not Jews. They didn’t listen to the clanging wheels or the shriek of brakes, they didn’t look out at bare, wintry farms and remember shtetl markets, they didn’t try to pierce through black beech and pine trees and wonder about unmarked graves in the forests. Only...

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Holy Week in the Streets by Bernie Glassman

Since Holy Week 2015 has just happened, I wish to talk about going on the streets during Holy Week, the week of Easter, the week of Passover, one of the saddest and most joyous times of the year. I go on the streets at other times of the year, too, and each occasion is special in its own way, but the streets feel different during Holy Week. The re-membrance and caring that spring to life during that time are unmistakable and unforgettable To give you a feel for what I mean, let me describe the 1996 Holy Week street retreat. We spent our first night sleeping–or trying to sleep–in Central Park. It was so cold that at about 4 a.m. we gave up and began to walk downtown, stopping for breakfast at the Franciscan Mission on West 31st Street en route to our hangout at Tompkins Square Park. We were tired and it didn’t help when we heard that it was going to rain that night, the first night of Passover. Walking past St. Mark’s Church in the East Village, I ran into its rector, Lloyd Casson. Notwithstanding the smell of my clothes after a night in the park, Lloyd gave me a hug. I knew Lloyd from the time he’d served as rector of Trinity Church, and before that, as assistant dean at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. When he heard that we would be in the area, Lloyd suggested we come to the Tenebrae service at St. Mark’s after our Passover seder and then spend the night in the church. Rabbi Don [Singer] had flown in from California to join us for Passover on the streets, but he’d disappeared in the middle of our night in Central Park. For purposes of the seder, we begged for food in the Jewish restaurants on Second Avenue and in Spanish bodegas by Tompkins Square. One retreat participant, a Swiss woman, was given twenty dollars by the Franciscans when she attended their mass that morning before breakfast. Suddenly, as we began to give up hope, Don appeared. He explained that he’d been so cold during the night that he’d gone into the subway to keep warm. After riding the trains all night he’d visited a...

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Bearing Witness to Pine Ridge Indian Reservation

Bus Trip Monday, August 10, 2015 The Native American Bearing Witness Retreat, which will take place at the Black Hills, goes hand in hand with the history and present circumstances of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, home to the Oglala Lakota, eighth largest reservation in the country. Pine Ridge is the locus of several historic events in the history of the Lakota Nation, including the Badlands site where the last of the Ghost Dances was held, the ensuing massacre at Wounded Knee, the takeover of Badlands areas by the US government for bombing purposes in the 1940s, and occupation of Wounded Knee by members of the American Indian Movement in the 1970s. This is also an area of deep-seated poverty and hardship. On Monday, August 10, at 8:00 am, buses will pick up participants from designated locations near the Rapid City airport in South Dakota to bring them to the Reservation. Every hill and valley on the Reservation has stories that reveal the people and the place. Oglala guides will not only provide a comprehensive history of the Oglala Lakota, their banishment to the Reservation and the state of the tribe now, but will also share personal stories and perspectives regarding the people and families who live there now. This is an opportunity to hear personal narratives rarely available to non-Indians. The tour will include a drive through Badlands National Park on the northern portion of the Reservation and on to the town of Kyle in its center. The bus will then drive south through Porcupine and make a stop for reflection and prayer at the Wounded Knee memorial site, where 300 of Big Foot’s band were massacred by the US Calvary on December 29, 1890. The route will then go through the town of Pine Ridge in the southwestern corner of the Reservation before continuing west into the Black Hills and dropping participants off at the Retreat Site. The buses will be equipped with toilets. Bag lunches will be provided since there are no convenient restaurants or dining spots. Dinner will be served at the Retreat Site. This trip will highlight some of the results of the historical relationship among Indians, non-Natives, and the US government. For this reason it is an essential...

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Gathering of Zen Peacemakers Family in Paradise

March 5-8, 2015 Imagine this: Rolling waves, laughter, healthy food, yoga, relaxation, connection and friendship!  As well as evening Satsang (Indian term for dialogue between Teacher and Student) with Roshi Bernie And Roshi Eve. To those interested in learning more about the Zen Peacemakers Family and the Zen Peacemaker Order please join us in a wonderful setting to share, study, do yoga, relax and swim in the Caribbean. We are planning a Gathering at the Sivananda Ashram on Paradise Island (www.sivanandabahamas.org) on March 5-8, 2015. You and your family are invited. The 83-affiliate Zen Peacemakers Family includes communities started by successors of Bernie Glassman, communities started by their successors and also spiritual groups from other lineages and traditions who want to find affinity in their commitment to social action. Within the ZP Family, a Zen Peacemaker Order was envisioned by Bernie Glassman in 1994 and formed in 1995. There is a limit of 185 in housing although the higher end housing is limited and will go quickly. Please submit the Registration Form posted below in the toggle “Registration Form and Payment Methods.” See the various rate structures below in the toggle “Rates.”You may also register now thru the Zen Peacemaker office by calling Laurie Smith at 1-(413) 367-5278 or by email.  She will help you walk thru the various options. Link here to take a virtual tour of the Ashram. Description of Gathering Besides relaxing in the sun and swimming in the ocean, there will be a variety of offerings. Yoga is offered several times per day. There is an evening meditation, kirtan and satsung every day. Roshis Bernie Glassman and Eve Myonen Marko will be giving the satsung (discussions.) Every day there will be breakout groups to discuss the Zen Peacemaker Family and the Zen Peacemaker Order. These discussions will include ways to hook up with either the Family, the Order or both. Accommodations Beachfront Suite Double Room w/Private Bath & Air Conditioning Single Room Beachfront Double Room Garden View Double Room Dormitory Tent Hut Tent Space   Luxurious air-conditioned beachfront suites are furnished with two double beds. Includes a private bathroom with tub and shower, a kitchenette (no stove), and a large balcony with a breathtaking view of the ocean. These villas are...

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Gloves4Gloves-Ebola Relief

To date, thousands of individuals have lost their lives to Ebola and the World Health Organization projects many more.While cases are currently in several countries including the United States, the major threat still remains in West Africa. There are too few resources available in these highly affected countries to prevent and treat this disease. It is critical that we are able to identify the signs and symptoms of Ebola and can more effectively prevent its transmission. Everyone can do something to help. Nurses are at the forefront of care for Ebola victims and it is important that the efforts of those in this global profession are widely supported. As students at Columbia University School of Nursing, we are standing in solidarity with our nurse colleagues in West Africa. We have designed fluorescent winter gloves to raise Ebola awareness. The sale of each pair of winter gloves will fund the donation of 100 medical supply gloves for communities heavily affected by Ebola. Hence, the name of our inititiave – Gloves4Gloves. Because Ebola is spread through contact with bodily fluids, medical gloves are essential to prevent the transmission of the disease. Please help us create awareness about this deadly disease and minimize the lives...

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Poem by Lilli Mösler read in the children‘s barracks by her at Nov 2014 Auschwitz Retreat

Können Blumen schlafen?Ist der Mond ein Mann?Bindet man im Hafen,auch das Wasser an?Kann man Liebe malen?Gibt es bunten Schnee?Wie erklärt man Zahlen?Tuen Schmerzen weh? Weist du kein Gedicht mehr? Werde ich bald groß? Brauch ich dich dann nicht mehr? Warum weinst du bloß? Can flowers sleep? Is the moon a man? Do you also tie the water in the harbour? Can you paint love? Is there coloured snow? How do you explain numbers? Does pain hurt? Don’t you know another poem? Am I gonna be grown up soon? Will I no longer need you then? Why, are you...

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What’s Love Got to Do With It? by Roshi Eve Marko

Eve’s Remarks on Bernie’s 1st 20 Years of his 60 Year Journey in Zen: Zendo Practice So what we plan to do this afternoon is that I took some notes on Bernie’s talk, and I will try to kind of uncover from my experience some of the issues that he related to, and what you also brought up. OK? And you can also ask questions as you did for him. And then after the break, I’m going to ask Barbara Roland, and also Cornelius who’s here to do his retreat, but since he’s a teacher, maybe he also has questions that he wants to relate to from his years of practice. And again, you can always come in with your questions and clarifications. And what I’d like to do is then sit again at 5:30, because this is a lot of talk. And I also want to really take the opportunity to thank our translators, who really are working hard, and great, great appreciation to you for doing this. So, Tootsie asked Rocky this morning, “What about love Rocky?” And for those of you who don’t know, we sometimes get bored with each other, you know. Like, oh we’re not married so long, but we know each other—teacher/student for almost thirty years. So we created these two characters, because we both like Italians. We love New York Italians. So Bernie created this character. He used to be a fighter when he was growing up, and he was called Rocky. Did you know that? So he created this Italian fighter/gangster called Rocky. And I loved my Italian friends when I was growing up. We used to wear these fishnet stockings, and long sweaters. Of course we always wanted to catch a man right away. And that’s how Rocky and Tootsie happened. And it’s nice because Rocky and Tootsie are not Buddhists. So when they explore things, they have to find a different language—not to use Buddhist terms, but to find different words to ask the same questions everybody else asks, but to ask it in different ways. And sometimes they get along better than Bernie and Eve. And sometimes they don’t, you know. OK. Some of you know I just came back from Israel—actually Tuesday afternoon...

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Upcoming September trip to Rwanda

At the invitation of the Zen Peacemaker Order, Center for Council has been working with NGOs in Rwanda to develop their capacity to facilitate council circles at a number of villages in-country and, now, inspired by our work in California, inside several prisons, where perpetrators of violence during the Genocide Against the Tutsis are being held. Many of these prisoners are reaching the end of their incarceration and are being released into the communities where the violence occurred and the Rwandan Correctional Service and associated NGOs have asked Center for Council to partner in developing programs to ease that transition and to promote...

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Rocky and Tootsie – Live!, Take It To the Cleaners!

Just Posted New Edition of Rocky and Tootsie – Live!, Take It To the Cleaners!, Hear it at http://zenpeacemakers.wpengine.com/rocky-and-tootsie-live/

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Plunging in Israel-Palestine

In January 1994—it was my 55th birthday—I did a retreat in Washington, DC, bearing witness to the question of what should I do to serve those rejected by society, those in poverty, and those with AIDS? As a result of bearing witness in that retreat—I had gone there with no ideas of what to do. I had completed work on a major project in Yonkers, NY called Greyston, but I had no idea what I should be doing. So I sat in a five-day retreat, and I sat with that question. I bore witness to that question. And out of that came the vision of a container for people wanting to do spiritually based social action. I discussed it with my wife at the time, Jishu, and we decided on developing the Zen Peacemaker Order. And that is now being revitalized. Now, in August 2014, I am faced with another question that has been burning a hole in my soul. For many years my wife Eve and I worked in the Middle East, in Palestine, in Israel, in Jordan. We had staff there. Eve was going there every two months. I was going every three or four months. We worked for many years. And then we stopped to build a big retreat center in Montague, NY. And recently—as most of you who are listening to this know—there’s been major battles going on between Israel and Gaza (Hamas and Gaza). Even before that happened, I had become so frustrated with what’s going on between Israel and Palestine that I took an easy way out, which many of us do. I boycotted. I decided I wouldn’t read anything about it, and I would stop going there—even though I had family there, even though my wife is Israeli, and all her family is there, and we had been going twice a year. I stopped going. And I stopped reading the Israeli newspapers, which I used to do on a daily basis. That is an easy way out called denial, boycotting, avoiding. And it’s not in my nature to do that—although it’s in the nature of all of us to do that with issues that are too frustrating to deal with. So recently, just within the past few...

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Hanuman-ji

Thirty-five years ago, Hanuman-ji flew onto this land and into our lives. Since that time, the number of devotees packed into the small shrine room grows year by year, and the need for a new temple becomes ever more clear. In the following video, Ram Dass remembers how the murti of Hanuman made his way to New Mexico. He talks about how Hanuman's arrival here represents the establishment of the spirit of love and service in America, and how Maharaji is manifesting his love in the West through the heart-felt service of his devotees. Please share this video with your friends and students and help us to hold the vision of Hanuman-ji in his beautiful new temple. We appreciate any support that you can give to make the new temple for Hanuman a reality. To explore the plans for the new temple and learn more visit http://www.nkbashram.org/newtemple/. Ram Dass Video Link:...

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Bernie’s 60 Year Journey in Zen

On the streets, At Refugee Camp in Chiapas, Auschwitz Interfaith Ceremony, Riverdale NY 1982 Bernie and Eve just returned from leading a retreat at Felsentor, Switzerland where Bernie spoke on his 60 year journey in Zen. The talks have been posted here (href=”/?page_id=10055). Transcripts will be posted as they are...

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Trauma, Survival, and Making Peace Written by Eve Marko with Bernie Glassman

           Eve’s mother is 86 years old. In her long life she survived the destruction of most of the Jews in Bratislava, in what is present-day Slovakia, immigrated illegally to Israel with a 3 year-old nephew whose mother had been killed at Auschwitz, fought in Israel’s War of Independence a year later, raised children in Israel and the United States, and now lives independently in Jerusalem, mother to three children, grandmother to five, and great-grandmother to seven. Did you expect to live so long and see all these generations, Eve asks her on Skype, and she shakes her head: Never.             But the last time mother and daughter spoke, on June 16, the vigorous smile was gone. Her mother sat hunched, head bent, crumpled in depression.             “You know,” she answered when Eve asked her how she was. “The news here isn’t good.” Three Jewish teenagers, students at a West Bank yeshiva high school, had been abducted. Even now the Israeli army is searching all over for the kids, as she calls them.             The next day Eve called again. Her mother had gone out that day but her tone was still flat and lifeless. We know that she’s hooked to the radio and television news, and that if she leaves the house to go anywhere, the first question on her lips when she sees someone she knows is: Have they found them?             Israel is a small country and most young men serve in the army, so when any soldier is hurt or killed the grief seems to resonate everywhere. It’s something we’ve always respected. Strangers murmur among themselves or else shake their heads. Everyone worries about the family. And in this case they’re not soldiers but religious students. We wonder where they are now, we think about the boys’ families and about what it is to wait for the phone to ring.             But something else seems to happen to Eve’s mother. The old trauma gets reawakened, the expectation of inevitable catastrophe. At times she’ll say it out loud: This will never end. They’re always out there. They won’t let us live.             Eve remembers how years ago, when she was working in Israel and Palestine, the day...

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Reflections of Malgosia Braunek by Marzena Rey

As the message of Malgosia’s death reached me on Monday, June 23, I was returning home to Germany from San Diego, planning to go see Malgosia in a few days in Warsaw. I had just received Dharma Transmission from my teacher, Nicolee Jikyo Mc Mahon Roshi, in California on June 20, and I had been very sad not to be able to be with Malgosia in the hospital and also sad that she could not be present at my transmission. But she had written to me, “Too bad it is so far and yet so close. I love you.“ and no more words were needed.

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Reflections on Rwanda (2): Bearing Witness by Russell Delman April 2014

It is the last day of the retreat; I am walking with Claudia (name changed for confidentiality), a new Rwandan friend. Earlier in the retreat, she asked for guidance in meditation to help with painful thoughts that won’t stop. I am grateful for the opportunity to offer some guidance. On this day she tells me about the killing of her parents and four of five siblings when she is about 6 years old. A Hutu man protects her. Later he is killed by other Hutu’s angered at his kindness. Luckily she meets her one remaining elder sister who can take care of her. Being with this tender young woman, bearing witness to her courage, pain, intelligence and life-forward intention my heart is deeply touched. Zen teacher Bernie Glassman has created forms for bring the practice of sitting meditation into social action. The “Bearing Witness Retreat”. For more than 20 years, the Zen Peacemaker Order (ZPO) has been conducting these retreats at Auschwitz and Birkenau, the concentration camps in Poland. About 6 years ago members of a Rwandan reconciliation group, Memos-Learning from History attended the retreat and asked for something similar in their country. This retreat grew from that request. ZPO has three main views or tenets: 1) Not-knowing (putting aside all opinions, conclusions, and certainties), 2) Bearing witness (being present with all the joy and sorrow within the situation you are in and 3) Loving actions (if some beneficial possibility arises to offer your care). At Auschwitz the practice is to invite healing by being present with the suffering of all beings: prisoners, guards, survivors, the dead and the land itself. Through meditation, chanting of names of the deceased, respectfully walking around the entire site, the history is recalled and experienced with tender, open and broken hearts. In the unique situation of Rwanda, where every person is carrying the trauma of the recent past (see previous writing), sitting with the intention of Bearing Witness is a huge challenge. Our group of about 56 was equally divided between Rwandans, plus two Congolese and westerners from seven different countries. We went every day to the Murambi Memorial Site, a place where 50,000 people were massacred. Each day we would start “council” sitting together around a candle...

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Reflections on Rwanda (3): Living with a Broken-Open Heart by Russell Delman

Recently I heard this story: A woman’s son is killed. The killer is convicted and sent to prison for a 10-25 year sentence. The distraught mother visits the man in prison trying to make sense of how he could do such a thing. After numerous visits, the woman’s heart softens to the man. She eventually adopts him. Upon release from prison, he lives with his new mother. As I reflect on the impact of my journey to Rwanda, a huge question emerges: how does a person live with an open, loving, heart that includes the rampant violence and suffering all around us? How does one live with a heart that has been broken open? Opening the newspaper this morning I see: 31 killed by a car bomb in Bagdad. Unlike in the past, before turning the page, I reflect that each of them was a father, mother, sister, brother, son, or daughter. Being in Rwanda creates this sense of intimacy, recognition that each of these victims are real people, like you and me. How did I filter that out before? How do I let that in now? 31people do not constitute genocide, but they are 31 individuals with pain and joy and dreams. Can one experience this and still turn the page? How can we live as empathetic people without turning away from this reality? This is a deep question living in me right now. When overwhelmed, humans have three stereotypical reactions: fighting, fleeing, or freezing. Our biology leans toward self-protection and protecting our identified social group. The impulse to fight, unless tempered by a sense of inter-connection will result in some kind of violence that perpetuates what we are fighting against. Fleeing or running away from the world by turning a blind eye to the violence around us creates an implicit sense of disconnectedness and isolation, a strategy with painful results. Freezing in shock hurts the frozen one and offers no beneficial action to the world. Sitting here with the morning newspaper I think, what is “right relationship” to all this? Or how does one open to the reality of 31 people dead and still enjoy the gift of the tulips sitting in front of me blossoming in the sunlight? Safety and Freedom...

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Creating a Compassionate World: The Power of One Conference

Sept. 12-14, 2014, at the Garrison Institute, New York Venerable Dr. Pannavati Bhikkhuni has long been known as an active advocate of “getting off the pillow”.  This has become known as engaged Buddhism and it is taking many forms and directions. On the weekend of September 12 through 14, 2014, Ven. Pannavati is gathering a few special colleagues to share their thoughts and experience with those drawn to this path. Through panel presentations and interactive small group sessions, we will receive the wisdom and experience of the following leaders in those fields: Roshi Bernie Glassman, Founder, Zen Peacemakers Venerable Bhikkhu Bodhi, Founder, Buddhist Global Relief Father John Dear, Jesuit priest and peace advocate Venerable Ani Drubgyuma, Founder, SOCW, former missionar Venerables Pannavati and Pannadipa, Founders of MyPlace and My Gluten Free Bread Company, Co-Abbots of Embracing Simplicity Hermitage The conference will focus on eight areas of mindful social action: Ecologic Sustainability Peace and Reconciliation Education Restorative Justice Gender Equality Social Enterprise Human Trafficking Youth homelessness There will be an opportunity for participants to present information on their current or intended projects in any of these areas. Mini-grants will be awarded at the conclusion of the conference to further the work of those identified as having the greatest potential. The weekend is open to the public, and includes a Saturday-only attendance option. To attend the Power of One Conference, either as a weekend resident or a Saturday-only participant, contact the Garrison Institute, (845) 424-4800....

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Bearing Witness Day of Reflection at the Flight 93 Memorial

Please join Zen Peacemaker minister, Anthony Stultz, for a Bearing Witness Day of Reflection at the Flight 93 Memorial and Memorial Chapel, August 16, 2014. Tony was a chaplain to the victim families of Flight 93 and along with three other clergy, performed the burial at the national memorial in 2011 ( see ‘the One Heart of Flight 93′ – Buddhadharma Magazine)  for a reflection on the experience via the ZPO Three Tenets.) The day will begin at 10am with the Gate of Sweet Nectar liturgy and the chanting of the names of all who died there on 9/11. We will then have meditation, Council, a shared meal together and reflection on the Zen Peacemaker Order Precept, “Recognizing that I am not separate from all that is. This is the precept of Non-Killing.” If you would like to participate, Please contact Tony at...

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Photo Essay of Bernie Glassman by Peter Cunningham

“The Thousand Armed Bodisahatvha”, or “Kannon” is a traditional Buddhist symbol. He/She symbolizes an enlightened being who chooses, rather than departing for Nirvana, to remain on Earth until all “sentient beings” are also enlightened. In statuary she is often depicted as a sensuous female with a thousand arms indicating the myriad ways in which she is attempting to serve all human beings. Assembling 33 years of photographs from my adventures with Bernie, I was struck with the incredible variety of skillful means this human from Brighton Beach has managed to embody, thus the title. Bernie sometimes works with people who feel discarded. The photograph on the cover of this book is scanned from a kodachrome slide I discovered under a leg of my desk where, covered with dust, it had molded for years. It was ruined, a piece of trash nearly tossed in the rubbish years ago. When assembling the pictures for this book, this old slide jumped to my attention and resurrected itself, and now, reimagined and repurposed, it’s become the cover of Bernie’s birthday book. To view the book and/or purchase it, link...

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Optimism, Pessimism, Hope and Expectations

I’d like to share with you some thoughts of mine—I should say “opinions”—about optimism, pessimism, hope, and expectations. And maybe we can throw in vow—no, I think that’s a whole other subject. So, I’m not very optimistic. And I’m not very pessimistic. I have a lot of hope, and hardly any expectations. Expectations pop up all the time. And I have to admit that even though I feel we shouldn’t have expectations, I have them all the time. And one of the signs of having expectations is that I get frustrated. I think expectations inevitably lead to frustration. I define hope as basically hoping that something will happen, therefore working as hard as I can to make that thing happen. And having goals—for example, when I started to work in Yonkers and homelessness, I said, “we’re gonna end homelessness.” That was my hope—in Yonkers, in Westchester. That was my hope. But I had no expectation—therefore, I wasn’t frustrated—although we did reduce homelessness by 75 percent over the years. But we worked as hard as we could, and what happened is what happened. It reminds of a time when we were working in the Middle East. And many groups were working in the Middle East. And there was a period around the year 2000 where everybody thought there would be peace. It was so close. Between the Israelis and the Palestinians—it was so close. And then, it all fell apart. And there were so many different groups working for peace—both on the Palestinian side and the Israeli side. And most of those groups fell apart. And they fell apart because of frustration. Their expectation was so high. And it didn’t happen. And the frustration became unbearable, and the groups fell apart. Those groups that continued, in my opinion, basically were working for peace because that’s what you should do. They didn’t have any expectations, even though it was so close. They had a lot of hope. And they worked very hard. But because there were no expectations, there were minimal frustrations. And they could continue working. So that leads me to optimism and pessimism. I tend to—in my opinion—I do fairly good at leading my life based on what is happening.  That is, I’m not...

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Are you listening?

You can also hear this schmoozing on listening by linking here. Hi. Are you listening? So, I’ve been thinking about listening. I just did a workshop in Seattle, Washington, at a synagogue called Bet Alef. It’s a meditative synagogue. And the workshop was on Saturday. But the evening before—Friday evening—I attended the services, and they asked me to lead them in meditation. And it was a beautiful service. And of course, we chanted the Shema. The Shema is a prayer that’s chanted many times a day by religious Jews. And some of the words of the Shema are placed in mezuzahs. Mezuzahs are the items that you see in Jewish households when you enter the doorway. And in that item that’s nailed to the doorpost are some words from the Shema. Shema means listen. And it reminded me that the beginning of all the Buddhist sutras is “listen” (“thus have I heard” actually). And we use that phrase, “thus have I heard” as a koan. Because that first phrase “thus have I heard,” in a sense we call that “listen.” In a way, that’s the essence of all of the sutras. That’s the essence of all of the teachings. And the rest of the sutras I would call commentary. The Bodhisattva of Compassion, the Icon of Compassion in Japanese is called Kannon, or Kanzeon. And Kan is to deeply listen, on—the sounds, ze—the earth. Kanzeon is to deeply listen to the sounds of the Earth—Shema in Hebrew. In Zen Peacemakers, one of the important practices that we do is the way of council. And one of the principals in the way of council is to listen from the heart. Not from the brain, from the heart. At the workshop in Seattle, I met Leah Green who is the founder of a beautiful not-for-profit called the Compassionate Listening Project. And whenever we do peace work at our bearing witness retreats, we do council and talk about listening from the heart. I studied for a year with Krishnamurti. It was quite a while ago. We would meet, for about a year, on weekends, a group of people, he’d talk with us. And he would try to bring us to a state of what he called “learning.”...

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Transcriptions of Schmoozing Podcasts

The Schmoozing Podcasts I have posted via Sound Cloud can be heard by linking here. I have had a request to have these podcasts transcribed so those in the deafhood can read them. Scott Harris has volunteered to do the transcriptions and they will be posted here as he completes the transcription.

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Most Intimate: A Zen Approach to Life’s Challenges by Roshi Pat Enkyo O’Hara Just Released

For Roshi Pat Enkyo O’Hara, intimacy is what Zen practice is all about: the realization of the essential lack of distinction between self and other that inevitably leads to wisdom and compassionate action. She approaches the practice of intimacy beginning at its most basic level–the intimacy with ourselves that is the essential first step. She then shows how to bring intimacy into our relationships with others, starting with those dearest to us and moving on to those who don’t seem dear at all. She then shows how to grow in intimacy so that we include everyone around us, all of society, the whole world and all the beings it contains. Each chapter is accompanied by practices she uses with her students at the Village Zendo for manifesting intimacy in our...

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A quick look back over 2013 by Steven Brown, Greyston President & CEO

Greyston served more than 2,800 Yonkers residents through an array of results-driven programming designed to help individuals achieve self-sufficiency. A detailed study conducted last year revealed that our programs truly create a measurable, long term impact within the community: for example, Greyston Bakery – a world recognized social enterprise, paid nearly $1.2 million in salaries to our Open Hire employees while saving over $1 million in taxpayer funds through reduced recidivism. Greyston’s Workforce Development program trained over 120 individuals, with graduates achieving job placement in a variety of in-demand fields that included Culinary Arts, Building Maintenance, Security Guard, Home Health Aide and more. Our  fall 2013 WD graduation saw 59 clients obtain their certificates and was attended by local, county, and state officials who praised the program as a key economic and workforce development initiative within the city of Yonkers. Greyston’s NAEYC-accredited Child Care Center provided high-quality, affordable child care to more than 70 children, and our Community Gardens program served more than 2,000 through our six garden sites and our environmental education initiatives. In 2013, the program piloted a new initiative in which youths grow and sell produce, learning valuable entrepreneurial skills while gaining a green thumb. And, of course, we launched a great new website, www.greyston.org, that communicates Greyston’s story in an easy to navigate way that makes buying brownies and supporting Greyston easier than ever. And, 2014 looks even brighter! I am proud to say that Greyston was just awarded a grant from the New York State Department of Labor to expand our Workforce  Development program which now provides the nationally-recognized Work Readiness Credential and has also added Certified Nursing Aide and EKG/Phlebotomy Technician as new job training tracks. The Bakery has launched a new cookie product in Whole Foods that hasreceived rave reviews. As we work to ramp up production, our expectation is that we’ll be creating even more new...

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Just My Opinion on The Use of the Word Tradition, Man

Merriam Webster Definition: a way of thinking, behaving, or doing something that has been used by the people in a particular group, family, society, etc., for a long time. When I hear the word tradition used by Buddhist practioners, I believe they mean a practice that has been around for a long time as in the dictionary usage of the word. When I probe further, in my opinion, they are referring to a practice that was developed by their teacher or by their teacher’s teacher. In my case, my teacher, Maezumi Roshi, was considered very untraditional when I met him. His father was a well-established Japanese Soto Zen teacher and Maezumi Roshi spent his college years practicing Zen in a Dojo run by Koryu Roshi. Koryu Roshi was the head of the Shakyamuni Kai, a lay group of Zen teachers and students whose main study was koan study. Maezumi Roshi was also studying with Yasutani Roshi who founded the San Bo Kyo Dan a group of Zen teachers (both lay and ordained) that practices koan study, shikantaza and breathing practices. Maezumi Roshi created many new forms of practice and also taught us the forms he learnt from his teachers. He constantly told me to create new forms of study that would be relevant in this time and place (western countries.) I believe that I have done that and have been labeled as untraditional. In my opinion, I have followed a tradition that I inherited from my teacher and from my genes. Coming from a Jewish heritage and founding the Zen Peacemakers Order of DisOrder, I love the Jewish word mishegass which Leo Rosten defines as:  An absurd belief; nonsense; hallucinations A fixation I prefer to use mishegass instead of tradition when I hear folks talk about their Buddhist Tradition. After all, Shakyamuni Buddha is quoted as expressing the opinion that the only constant in life is that life is constantly changing. ……Read More...

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Note from Jared Seide after Rwanda Council Training

This journey has been amazing, emotional, powerful, heartbreaking, connected, overwhelming, impossible, beautiful. The training itself well surpassed our already high expectations and feels now to have been life changing for all involved, as well as a significant contribution to the healing field here, both internally, for the participants involved, and in introducing and embodying a new set of tools, ready to be carried by organizations and initiatives.  The journey to set aside all of the ego, psychological, cultural attachment to ways of thinking about identity and ideology – and “healing” — was surprisingly challenging and very fruitful.  The quality of the listening and  attunement was deeply moving and remarkable.  And the emergence already witnessed in this field has been striking. Already, a participant who has been silently grieving about the improper burial of her relatives killed in the genocide had her story witnessed by someone working on relocation of human remains to memorial sites and plans have now been made to address this issue and relocate the remains.  Another participant who had been carrying deep wounds around childhood experiences, and who had begun the training rather closed and leery, found courage to tell stories never spoken, found consolation and connection and expressed feeling a relief never experienced.  Yet another participant’s family, struggling with resentments and disconnection has begun a home-practice of council that has surprised and delighted everyone; the children have asked every evening: “Can we do council again tonight?”  And one group of colleagues held a council in which doors opened that had been slammed shut for months, with tears, honest naming of pain and sadness, requests for forgiveness, granting of forgiveness, heartfelt laughter, commitment to heal together, more tears, and prayers of thanks for this field of compassionate arising; important steps for this group were taken, witnessed, acknowledged and watered with abundant tears. May these seeds of healing and recognition grow inside us all, nourish cohesion and inclusiveness and generate more resources for the big work...

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Feedback by Rwanda Council Trainees

“This training has changed a lot of things in my life and I know it will change others who are in my life.  I think these changes will lead to greater peace.” “Council brings a great methodology that gives participants permission to be really there and bring up what is alive inside himself or herself naturally and without forcing emotions.” “Through studying Council these days, I have learned important things about conflict exploration, healing, working with trauma and so much more.” “This training has helped me find my own peace so that I can be better at helping my community find peace.” “If we can stay together, work together like this, our efforts will change our country and the world – but only if we stay connected!  This light that the trainers have lit will continue to light flames for many other through our work together.” “The foundation of peace is in our hearts and this training emphasized how to go more deeply to that place.” “I think Council is about caring for ourselves, helping us heal wounds of the heart and bringing parts of ourselves to share with our groups and our communities.” “This training helped me personally and has also shown me new ways to do my work with my community.  It has taught me to take care of myself, first, and understand where to start in restoring peace for my family, my country and the world.” “This Council training feels to me like visiting a doctor who really understands his patient and has a deep knowledge of how to help the patient heal.” “I have already transformed, the change is already in me.  And now I feel responsible to help other people to understand this process of council.  This training has helped me rebuild and restore trust in myself that I think I had lost.” “I feel this training has helped me know myself better, understand my heart and help me understand others better – and how change happens.  This training has left me with a capacity I can use to help others bring out their own deeper self.” “Council teaches ‘peace from the heart’ and points to a way that people can live together in a more unified and loving...

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Council Training in Kigali, Rwanda by Jared Seide

At the invitation of Bernie Glassman and the Zen Peacemakers, I travelled to Kigali to work with a group of peaceworkers committed to healing their country.  The lead NGO, Memos, had assembled a group of fourteen participants for an Introduction to Council training workshop, culled from 10 local NGOs.  These fourteen were to participate in the upcoming Bearing Witness Retreat, offered as part of Rwanda’s commemoration of The Genocide Against the Tutsis that took place 20 years ago, in 1994. The Rwanda government has been very active in promoting this commemoration, launching a variety of initiatives labeled with slogans like “Rwanda Proud” and “Never Again.”  Rwandans are deeply engaged in a healing process that impacts the entire population, including the generation born in the post-trauma period and very much touched by it; NGOs are profoundly aware of the challenges of reintegrating the perpetrators of genocide, many of whom have served twenty-year sentences and are approaching the end of their punishment, ready to return to the communities in which the crimes were committed.  Many communities are already addressing this reintegration issue, as “perpetrators” and “victims” have already returned to co-habitating in neighborhoods, as well as places of work, and communities are struggling to find deep healing.  It may be, in fact, that the focus on these labels has both helped frame the current commemoration preparations and reactivated an “us”/”them” sensitivity amongst Rwandans.  In any case, the modality of council – and its invitation to go beyond attachment to knowing who is who, beyond what one thinks about another member of the circle, and how it might be to set aside all we believe we know to be truly present with the emerging moment felt like an important and challenging practice.  I asked Siri Gunnarson, another Council Trainer certified by Center for Council, who had been working in Kenya, to join me in co-leading this training. Council practice will be part of the activities of this retreat and developing a core group of Rwanda NGO workers trained and ready to facilitate council circles was the primary goal of the workshop.  The NGOs invited to participate were eager to have staff trained in innovative tools and modalities for peacework and council represented an intriguing new technology.  The...

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I (Bernie) just received this: The Purpose Economy 100 is being released shortly and I am thrilled to share that you are on the list. In partnership with CSRWire, we conducted a three month search for the most inspiring pioneers of the new economy. We received hundreds of nominations and finally narrowed it down to the 100 who we felt best exemplified the spirit of the new economy, including you. The Purpose Economy 100 highlights disruptive innovators, policy-setters, taste-makers and researchers who are transforming our innate need for purpose into the organizing principle for innovation and growth in the American economy. I am honored to be included in a list with Ben & Jerry and 97 others. Following is their press release: NEW YORK, Jan. 28 /CSRwire/ – Imperative and CSRwire today unveiled The Purpose Economy 100 (PE100), a list of the top 100 pioneers shifting the economy to better serve people and the planet. Selected based on their innovative models, philosophies and inventions, these 100 catalysts span a wide array of industries and geographies, all united by a common purpose. The Purpose Economy 100 are the first to research, develop, and shape markets that foster community, personal development and impact. Inspired by the upcoming book The Purpose Economy, by Aaron Hurst, the PE100 highlights leading examples of a global economy where ‘purpose’ is supplanting ‘information’ as its primary driver. Based on his research, Hurst articulates personal growth, relationships and societal impact as the principal factors affecting the next economy. For Hurst, the PE100 pioneers are living proof of his research in action. “Just as Steve Jobs and Bill Gates were crucial in bringing about the Information Economy, the PE100 will be catalysts of this new phase of the economy in the US and worldwide,” says Hurst, CEO of Imperative. “These pioneers have proven that new models driven by purpose are not just advantageous, they’re necessary.” The Purpose Economy 100 cohort spans every sector of the U.S. economy, from startups, corporations and academia to government and nonprofits. Covering nearly 20 industries and almost every state in the US, the list spans from people of great notoriety to emerging innovators. It includes social entrepreneurs such as Patagonia’s Yvon Chouinard and Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield...

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Gratitude

Saturday, January 18, 2014 Dear Friends, Many of you have called, emailed, written, Facebooked, and Skyped to wish me a happy birthday. I am grateful for your words and friendship. As many of you know, I was born to a Jewish Brooklyn family, so as I turn 75 I’m reminded of the Jewish blessing: Blessed be the One that has brought us to this day. Since all of us are this One, I am thinking today of the many people who have brought me to this day through their work, energy, devotion, and love. I think of my parents, one of whom died just seven years after she gave me this life, and the sisters who helped raise me in her absence. I think of my teachers who continue to teach me long after they left this realm of existence. I think of my students, their devotion to the dharma, and their openness and willingness to work with me even as my understanding and teaching evolved and changed over many years. I am so grateful to the folks at Greyston who continue even now, almost 35 years after our shaky start, to bring spiritual, social, and economic change to the people and community of southwest Yonkers, New York. I appreciate all of us in our wonderful diversity—the political leaders, business people, artists, social workers, householders, priests and monks, Americans, Europeans, Africans, and Asians of all religions—who responded to a vision of spirit and social action that guides the Zen Peacemakers. And my heart continues to crack wide open remembering the street people who accompanied and cared for us on the streets, and the souls of Auschwitz. Every one of you has deeply enriched this world and life. The future seems so bright when I think of my dharma successors and their students and successors opening up new paths of practice. I owe a debt of gratitude to the board of Zen Peacemakers that has aided me in my transition to elder with patience and dedication. And I am deeply moved by my own children and the wonderful human beings they’ve become—real mensches—in the face of my own shortcomings as a father, and the happy, healthy families they’re raising. Finally, there are no words to...

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Report from Rwanda: Loving Action Arising

Report by Jared Seide, Director, Center for Council, on leaving Rwanda after training Rwandans to be Council Facilitators for the upcoming Rwandan Bearing Witness Retreat in April 2014. This journey has been amazing, emotional, powerful, heartbreaking, connected, overwhelming, impossible, beautiful. I will detail the events in a more comprehensive report; for now I want to let you know that the training itself well surpassed our already high expectations and feels now to have been life changing for all involved, as well as a significant contribution to the healing field here, both internally, for the participants involved, and in introducing and embodying a new set of tools, ready to be carried by organizations and initiatives.  The journey to set aside all of the ego, psychological, cultural attachment to ways of thinking about identity and ideology – and “healing” — was surprisingly challenging and very fruitful.  The quality of the listening and  attunement was deeply moving and remarkable.  And the emergence already witnessed in this field has been striking. Already, a participant who has been silently grieving about the improper burial of her relatives killed in the genocide had her story witnessed by someone working on relocation of human remains to memorial sites and plans have now been made to address this issue and relocate the remains.  Another participant who had been carrying deep wounds around childhood experiences, and who had begun the training rather closed and leery, found courage to tell stories never spoken, found consolation and connection and expressed feeling a relief never experienced.  Yet another participant’s family, struggling with resentments and disconnection has begun a home-practice of council that has surprised and delighted everyone; the children have asked every evening: “Can we do council again tonight?” Feeling so much gratitude for this opportunity, humbled by the work and by the courageous partners who have stepped up.  Feeling deeply grateful and energized. Palms Together,...

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Launching Elder Fund for Bernie Glassman

On the streets, At Refugee Camp in Chiapas, Auschwitz Interfaith Ceremony, Riverdale NY 1982 Donate to the Elder Fund In honor of Bernie’s 75th Birthday and the work he has done, Zen Peacemakers has established an Elder Fund to sustain Bernie and Eve when Bernie can no longer maintain his schedule of retreats and workshops and the related income ends. A leader among the first generation of American Zen teachers, Bernie Glassman served as abbot of various Zen centers, was the first President of the Soto Zen Buddhist Association of America, and has some 40 successors that teach in various countries around the world. But he is mostly known for his fierce advocacy of Buddhism and social action. Named by Business Week Social Entrepreneur of the Year in 1993, he founded the Greyston Mandala of for-profits and non-profits to benefit homeless and low-income families and served, along with Ram Dass, as Spiritual Director of the Social Ventures Network. He founded Zen Peacemakers, an international movement of Zen social activists working in many different areas of peacemaking, social and economic justice, end-of-life care and sustaining of the earth. As he approaches his 76th year he continues to do street retreats and lead multifaith, multinational bearing witness retreats at places of searing trauma like Auschwitz and Rwanda. Bernie doesn’t plan to retire. But he does tire.   Please contribute to this Elder Fund: If you would like to make a one-time contribution to this special fund, please enter your Donation amount below and click on the “Add to Cart” Button. Your Price: $  If you would like to make a monthly contribution of $25 to this special fund, please use the Subscription button below. Note to Bernie & Eve   Peter Cunningham is preparing a digital book of photos of Bernie. If you would like to add a message for Bernie at the back of this book, please link...

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In Memoriam: Bhante Suhita Dharma

From San Francisco Zen Center Blog As we will be chanting the Great Compassionate Mind Dharani in a memorial service next week acknowledging Venerable Bhante Suhita Dharma’s passing, we thought to offer this article written by Lee Lipp for the Windbell, a publication of San Francisco Zen Center. Here are some excerpts from the article in Windbell’s Summer 2001 edition that point to Venerable’s continuing generosity to SFZC as he engaged with our sangha’s Teachers in Residence Program, which had started that year. … Zen Center hopes to to promote diversity within our sangha and to be more inviting to the multicultural populace in the Bay area. Venerable Bhante Suhita Dharma, our first teacher to participate was in residence at City Center from February 9 through February 25, 2001, engaging with us in a variety of activities. Bhante was born in Texas, then moved with his family to San Francisco at the age of two weeks. He lived in the Bay Area for many years. Bhante has followed a spiritual path through monastic traditions of a variety of religions. A monk since the age of 15, he has lived as a Christian Trappist and has been ordained in the Tibetan Buddhist and Vietnamese Zen traditions. Presently he also affiliates with the Coptic Church. As an African American teacher he has engaged with a wide range of cultural and ethnic environments. He is remarkable in that he has delved deeply into the contemplative life as well as engaging in and bringing his practice to the social difficulties of the world. He has a degree in social work and has worked extensively with the homeless, people with AIDS, in the field of geriatrics and with people who are in prison. Ordained as a teacher by Dr. Thich Thien-An in 1974, he served as a vice abbot at the International Buddhist Meditation Center in Los Angeles in the 1980s with Ven. Karuna Dharma. He is also one of the initial members of the Zen Peacemakers Order and continues to work with that group and its founder, Bernie Tetsugen Glassman Roshi. Bhante’s schedule while in residence at Zen Center included dharma talks and informal teas for many groups, including the Hartford Street Zen Center, the Berkeley Zen Center,...

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Peter Matthiessen to Publish New Novel

Peter Matthiessen, a National Book Award winner, Zen teacher, in the Zen Peacemakers tradition, and a founder of The Paris Review, has written a new novel, his publisher said on Tuesday. Roshi Matthiessen, a renowned writer of fiction and nonfiction, said in a statement that “at age 86, it may be my last word.” The book, “In Paradise,” is the story of a group that comes together “for a weeklong meditation retreat at the site of a World War II concentration camp, and the grief, rage, bewildering transports and upsetting revelations that surface during their time together,” the publisher, Riverhead Books, said in a statement. Riverhead will release it in spring 2014. The novel will be Matthiessen’s first since “Shadow Country,” a compilation of three previous novels. “Shadow Country” won the National Book Award in 2008. Matthiessen, who has participated in three Zen retreats at Auschwitz, said he has long wanted to write about the Holocaust, but that because he is not Jewish, he did not feel qualified. “But approaching it as fiction — as a novelist, an artist — I eventually decided that I did,” he said. “Only fiction would allow me to probe from a variety of viewpoints the great strangeness of what I had felt.”  ...

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The Dude and the Zen Master receives Award

Guys Choice gives out Awards in various categories at their Annual Event in Los Angeles. This year the Outstanding Literary Achievement Award went to The Dude and the Zen Master. In their words, “We blazed through these books and we think you will too. But was it the Dude or Willie who dropped more ounces of enlightenment through their Outstanding Literary Achievement?” see:...

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Roshi Anne Seisen Saunders voted in as the new President of the White Plum Asanga

Roshi Anne Seisen Saunders has been voted in as the President of the White Plum Asanga during its annual meeting in May 2013. She replaces Roshi Gerry Shishin Wick, the 3rd President, who served in that role for 6 years. Roshi Anne Seisen Saunders is the founder and head teacher of Sweetwater Zen Center. She has been practicing and teaching Zen Buddhism for over 30 years. Seisen was a student of the late Taizan Maezumi Roshi and is a Dharma successor of Roshi Bernie Glassman from whom she also received Inka (Roshi status.) The White Plum Asanga is an affinity organization of peers in the lineage of Hakuyu Taizan Maezumi, Roshi. The Asanga provides opportunities for amicable association and for sharing common experiences, and a forum through which members can support each other. The Asanga is not a sanctioning or disciplinary organization. Asanga membership is open to all Dharma Successors in the direct lineage of Maezumi Roshi who are approved by 2/3 of the existing members at the meeting where the proposal for membership is presented. Membership can be revoked upon a vote of a similar percentage of the members as provided in the bylaws. The White Plum Asanga is a not-for-profit entity organized under the laws of the State of New York. The White Plum Asanga affirms integrity, honesty, and humility as central to the practice of our Dharma teaching. We affirm non-harming in our relations with all those whom we encounter. We collectively vow to maintain our lineage as a vital branch of the Dharma tree, and to keep it as clear as possible from harmful actions.We also recognize that, from the very root of our lineage, we have experienced misconduct in the areas of sex and alcohol. And, there have been occasions of abuse of power, sex and money in succeeding generations. We express our sincere apology to all those who have been harmed in any way by these actions. We resolve to act affirmatively to transform our collective karma by censure, healing and...

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Receive the Dude and the Zen Master

I met the Dude on DVD sometime in the late 1990s. A few years later I met Jeff Bridges in Santa Barbara and we started hanging, as he likes to put it, often while smoking cigars. Jeff has done movies from an early age; less known, but almost as long-standing, is his commitment to ending world hunger. I was an aeronautical engineer and mathematician in my early years, but mostly I’ve taught Zen Buddhism, and that’s where we both met. Not just in meditation, which is what most people think of when they hear Zen, but the Zen of action, of living freely in the world without causing harm, of relieving our own suffering and the suffering of others. We soon discovered that we would often be joined by another shadowy figure, somebody called the Dude. We both liked his way of putting things and it’s fun to learn from someone you can’t see. Only his words were so pithy they needed more expounding; hence, this book. Donate (tax deductible, proceeds go to supporting the work of the Zen Peacemakers) to receive Signed Book by Jeff Bridges and Bernie Glassman. $100 or more. Looks like you have entered a product ID (64) in the shortcode that doesn't exist. Please check your product ID and the shortcode again! Purchase (unsigned) to support work of Zen Peacemakers and to Enjoy! $28 The Paperback version is now available.    Table of Contents JUST THROW THE FU**ING BALL, MAN! 1. Sometimes You Eat the Bear, and Sometimes, Well, He Eats You 2. It’s Down There Somewhere, Let Me Take Another Look 3. Dude, You’re Being Very UnDude THE DUDE ABIDES AND THE DUDE IS NOT IN 4. Yeah, Well, Ya Know, That’s Just Like, uh, Your Opinion, Man 5. Phone’s Ringin’, Dude 6. New Sh** Has Come to Light THAT RUG REALLY TIED THE ROOM TOGETHER, DID IT NOT? 7. You Know, Dude, I Myself Dabbled in Pacifism at One Point. Not in ’Nam, Of Course. 8. You Mean Coitus? 9. What Makes a Man, Mr. Lebowski? 10. What Do You Do, Mr. Lebowski? 11. Nothing’s Fu**ed, Dude ENJOYIN’ MY COFFEE 12. Sorry, I Wasn’t Listening 13. Strikes and Gutters, Ups and Downs 14. Some Burgers, Some Beers,...

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The Dude and the Zen Master Has Arrived

The book is on the New York Times hardcover and nonfiction Best Sellers List. It is #9 on the combined hardcover and paperback nonfiction Best Sellers List. Donate (tax deductible, proceeds go to supporting the work of the Zen Peacemakers) to receive Signed Book by Jeff Bridges and Bernie GlassmanPrice: $Looks like you have entered a product ID in the shortcode that doesn't exist. Please check your product ID and the shortcode again! Purchase to support work of Zen Peacemakers and to Enjoy! The Dude and the Zen Master [Hardcover] Jeff Bridges and Bernie GlassmanPrice: $28:00 All my life I’ve been interested in expressing my truth in ways that almost anyone can understand. A famous Japanese Zen master, Hakuun Yasutani Roshi, said that unless you can explain Zen in words that a fisherman will comprehend, you don’t know what you’re talking about. Some fifty years ago a UCLA professor told me the same thing about applied mathematics. We like to hide from the truth behind foreign sounding words or mathematical lingo. There’s a saying: The truth is always encountered but rarely perceived. If we don’t perceive it, we can’t help ourselves and we can’t much help anyone else. I met the Dude on DVD sometime in the late 1990s. A few years later I met Jeff Bridges in Santa Barbara and we started hanging, as he likes to put it, often while smoking cigars. Jeff has done movies from an early age; less known, but almost as long-standing, is his commitment to ending world hunger. I was an aeronautical engineer and mathematician in my early years, but mostly I’ve taught Zen Buddhism, and that’s where we both met. Not just in meditation, which is what most people think of when they hear Zen, but the Zen of action, of living freely in the world without causing harm, of relieving our own suffering and the suffering of others. We soon discovered that we would often be joined by another shadowy figure, somebody called the Dude. We both liked his way of putting things and it’s fun to learn from someone you can’t see. Only his words were so pithy they needed more expounding; hence, this book. May it meet with his approval, and may it...

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It’s Not Just About Fear, Bibi, It’s About Hopelessness

by Nomika Zion, with an introduction by Avishai Margalit The following statement was written during the Israeli bombing of the Gaza Strip in late November by Nomika Zion, a member of Migvan, an urban kibbutz in Sderot, the Israeli city about a mile from the Gaza Strip border that has been a primary target of rockets launched from Gaza since the second intifada started in 2000. In 2008, fifty rockets a day hit Sderot, and in late December 2008 Israel launched Operation Cast Lead, leading to three weeks of armed conflict in Gaza. The Migvan urban kibbutz was founded in 1987 by a relatively small group, most of whose members had been raised in the agricultural kibbutz movement. The first wave of residents of Sderot, which now has more than 24,000 people, came in the 1950s and was largely made up of Moroccans. A second wave came in the 1990s from the Soviet Union and from Ethiopia. The members of the urban kibbutz in Sderot lead a communal life, handing over their incomes to a common pool that is divided equally between the families, whatever their contribution. They run a successful business providing high-tech services; according to the members, they do this and other work because it is personally fulfilling, and financial profit is not a priority. Nomika Zion, who was raised in a rural kibbutz, is the granddaughter of Ya’akov Hazan, a leader of Mapam, the United Workers Party. A well-known figure in the history of Israel’s labor movement, he was committed to the idea of the kibbutz as a rural way of life. Nomika Zion is one of the founders of Migvan and a member of Other Voice (2008), a grassroots organization of citizens from Sderot and the region who call for a nonviolent solution to the ongoing conflict. Her letter to Benjamin (Bibi) Netanyahu translated here was first posted on the Web. —Avishai Margalit Sderot, November 22, 2012 This wasn’t my war, Bibi, and neither was the previous cursed war: not in my name, and not in the cause of my security. Neither were the boastful, theatrical assassinations of Hamas military chief Ahmed al-Jabari in November, and Hamas leader Abdel Aziz Rantisi in 2004, and Hamas founder Sheikh Yassin, and Al-Kaysi,...

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Bernie Glassman’s Boots-On-The-Ground-Secular Buddhism

“Who says you need robes and a bald head?” he asked. I was driving the much-beloved RoshiBernie Glassman from the airport, my Path-of-Service assignment as a resident at the Upaya Zen Center in Santa Fe, truck wheels hurling us through that impossibly blue horizon. We were heading north to a workshop he was teaching with a roster of neuroscientists and scholars in the exquisitely lush high desert of New Mexico. Who could forget such a moment? Or not love the swirling, warm, sage-scented air through windows rolled down to soothe the skin, baked so easily in the southwestern heat? The mahogany-hued earth profile of the Sangre de Cristo mountains shifted with the miles in the hour-long drive as Bernie talked about Buddhism, how its cultural forms adapt through each new cultural meme and topography. Arroyos, those deep clefts between rock and soil in low plains, cut curious angles to the left and right of us on the long road. The conversation cut just as deep an impression in me of something true. I felt my private fortune — time with this man, a deeply wise exemplar of what some of us called “boots on the ground Buddhism.” Bernie Glassman has soft, observant eyes. His suspenders might just be surgically attached, supporting as they do his playfulness where others lead with a sober reserve. One feels steady in Bernie’s presence and attunes quickly to his many years of wisdom using great imagination as skillful means in service to our better angels. Especially the ones found on gritty streets and prisons, the disenfranchised who fall too easily through clefts in the rock. Bernie leads people to places like Rawanda and Auschwitz, what he calls “bearing witness” retreats, to anchor practice in the full spectrum of who we are as human beings. A 35-year student of Hakuyu Taizan Maezum, Roshi, Bernie took seriously his teacher’s analogy of the egg. Namely, that dharma teachings are the yoke, the whites are the context in which one lives. He encouraged his students to develop appropriate Western forms of practice. Like my Catholic childhood heroes, Bernie teaches through re-enchantment! A clown’s nose is always within reach. Like him, the Berrigan brother priests dared to provoke the comfortable; Sister Corita Kent, the...

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Bernie’s Journey to Yonkers La Perla (Cigar Store)

  Video of Making a cigar: IMG_1232  

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An Evening with Jeff Bridges and Bernie Glassman

BIG ANNOUNCEMENT: I Will Be Moderating “An Evening with Jeff Bridges and Bernie Glassman” for the Library Foundation of Los Angeles’ [ALOUD] Series This January I’m very excited to tell you all that I will be moderating an upcoming event with Academy Award-winning actor Jeff Bridges (The Big Lebowski, True Grit, Tron) and Zen master Bernie Glassman the Library Foundation of Los Angeles’ [ALOUD] series this coming January 10th, 2013!! I’m delighted and shocked that this opportunity has come my way, and am very much looking forward to it. Tickets for “An Evening with Jeff Bridges and Bernie Glassman” are on sale now. Reserve yours today! Proceeds will benefit the Library Foundation of Los Angeles (which is a great cause to support). Don’t miss The Dude and the Zen Master — the book that Bernie and Jeff will be promoting — by the way. You can pre-order a copy at Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble or your local book...

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Forget outer heroes; bring out your innner ones Main

Originally posted by No Impact Man.   No Impact Man Runs For Office……..   Please check out my article on the Atlantic Monthly’s website about my activist run for Congress and how citizen politics can help do something about climate and other problems: My unlikely course in activist politicking started with a May call from a member of the executive committee of the Green Party of New York State. The call came, I understood, because of the notoriety of my very-publicly performed 2007 experiment in extreme environmental living in the middle of Manhattan. The project had been intended to question and look for alternatives to the typical American’s consumption-based way of life. It was also a vehicle to help bring broader public attention to the range of our environmental crises — from ocean depletion to species extinction to climate. To that end, I wrote a book and starred in a documentary filmabout the experience, both titled No Impact Man. The book, translated into a dozen languages, has been required reading for more then 100,000 American college students. The film has received over a quarter of a million ratings on Netflix, in addition to screenings in theaters and on television around the world. My non-profit, NoImpactProject.org, whose main program is an immersive, educational week of environmental living, had attracted over 50,000 participants. While all that notoriety may have attracted the Green Party to me, it did not attract me to the idea of running for office. I said no. As far as I could see, the entire political process was corrupt. I’d become fond of calling the presidential election “a big sports-like event paid for by the multinational corporations in order to distract us from the possibility of real change.” At that time, I had the same mistaken instinct as so many despairing Americans — to abandon the political system and look for hope elsewhere… Click here to read the rest....

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Bernie Glassman joins Penguin Speakers Bureau

Zen Master Bernie Glassman is Available for Speaking Engagements and Workshops thru the Penguin Speaker’s Bureau. Please Contact: Tiffany Tomlin at [email protected] 212.366.2518

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The Dude and the Zen Master

Arriving Jan 8 Pre-Order Now! Amazon, Barnes & Noble or at your local Book Seller  The Dude and the Zen Master By Jeff Bridges & Bernie Glassman For more than a decade, Academy Award–winning actor Jeff Bridges and world-renowned Roshi Bernie Glassman have been close friends. In The Dude and the Zen Master, they offer an intimate glimpse into the conversations between a student and his teacher, a shared philosophy of life and spirituality, and the everyday wisdom of Buddhism. Inspiring, insightful, and often hilarious, The Dude and the Zen Master captures a freewheeling dialogue about life, laughter, and the movies, from two men whose charm and bonhomie never fail to enlighten and entertain—and their remarkable humanism reminds us of the importance of doing good in a difficult world. Pre-Order Now at Amazon, Barnes & Noble or at your local Book Seller. PR Schedule Thursday, December 27     10 am ET BY PHONE                 DuJour.com – feature interview with Bernie only 30 minutes               Writer: Ms. Daryl Chen, 646-532-5002, [email protected] *online culture and arts magazine. http://www.dujour.com/. Will run 1/7.     First Week of January Time date/time BY PHONE                 USA TODAY – Life Section 20 minutes               Writer: Craig Wilson, feaures Tuesday, January 8 – New York City *Happy Publication Day! LIVE 5-7 min segment Xx arrival                  NBC/ “Today” 8:00am hour            30 Rockefeller Plaza, NYC Interviewer: tk *Jeff & Bernie interviewed together LIVE                            NPR/”On Point” 10:50 am arrival      location: 160 Varick St, WNYC Studios 11:00 am start         Jeff and Bernie interviewed together Noon finish               Host: Tom Ashbrook LIVE 12:30 pm start         WNYC/”Leonard Lopate” with guest host Julie Burstein 1:00 pm finish          Jeff & Bernie interviewed together  TAPED 2:30 pm arrival        NPR/”Bullseye with Jesse Thorn” 2:40 pm start           11 W. 42nd St (19th floor) btwn 5th/6th Aves 3:30 pm finish          *Jeff & Bernie interviewed together 4:30pm tape             NBC/ “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” 5:30 pm finish          30 Rockefeller Plaza, NYC *Jeff only interviewed          *Airs tonight   7:00pm start                        Barnes & Noble Union Square 9:00 pm finish          33 East 17th Street, NYC *Jeff & Bernie interviewed together Moderator: James Shaheen, EIC of Tricycle 7:05 pm – introduction by B&N manager 7:10 pm –moderated discussion for 30 minutes followed by 15 minutes of Q&A with audience...

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A message to Israel’s leaders: Don’t defend me – not like this.

As she listens to the rockets mortar bombs raining in her yard, a resident of Kibbutz Kfar Aza asks the government to rethink its operation on the Gaza Strip. By Michal Vasser The first thing I want to say is: Please don’t defend me. Not like this. I am sitting in my safe room in Kibbutz Kfar Aza and listening to the bombardment of the all-out war outside. I am no longer able to distinguish between “our” bombardments and “theirs.” The truth is that the kibbutz children do this better than I do, their “musical ear” having been developed since they were very young, and they are able to differentiate between an artillery shell and a missile fired from a helicopter and between a mortar bomb and a Qassam. Good for them. Is this what “defending the home” looks like? I don’t understand – did all our leaders sleep through their history classes? Or maybe they studied the Mapai school curriculum or that of Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar (to my regret, the difference is not all that great) – and have wrongly interpreted the word “defense”? Does defending the well being of citizens mean a war of armageddon every few years? Hasn’t any politician ever heard of the expression “long-term planning?” If you want to defend me – then please: Don’t send the Israel Defense Forces for us in order to “win.” Start thinking about the long term and not just about the next election. Try to negotiate until white smoke comes up through the chimney. Hold out a hand to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Stop with the “pinpoint assassinations” and look into the civilians’ eyes on the other side as well. I know that most of the public will accuse me of being a “bleeding heart.” But I am the one who is sitting here now as mortar bombs fall in my yard, not Sa’ar, not Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and not Labor MK Shelly Yacimovich or Yesh Atid party head Yair Lapid, either. I am the one who has chosen to raise her children here even though I had and still have other options. It is possible to accuse me of a lack of Zionism, it is possible to accuse me of...

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Obama plans historic trip to Burma

Originally posted by The Buddhdharma. No sitting US president has ever visited Burma or Cambodia……… On his first international trip since being elected to a second term, US President Barack Obama will visit Burma later this month. The White House announced Thursday that Obama would attend an international economic summit in Cambodia, then stop in Thailand and in Burma, where he’ll meet with Aung San Suu Kyi (whom he met when Suu Kyi visited the US earlier this fall) and  President Thein Sein. No sitting US president has ever visited Burma or Cambodia. Some human rights groups, including the US Campaign for Burma, expressed concerns that Obama’s visit to Burma might be premature as the country transitions to democracy, and urged Obama to cancel the visit. Ethnic violence is prevalent in Burma, and many political prisoners are still being held. Read more at the New York Times. (Official White House photo by Chuck Kennedy)  ...

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Check Out My Buddhadharma Report from Amnesty International’s Town Hall in Washington, DC, with Aung San Suu Kyi

Originally posted by Rev. Danny Fisher “The Lady” shines her light in DC… Photo by the author.     I still can’t quite believe what happened last week: I was in our nation’s capital with Amnesty International, my palJoshua Eaton, and others for a very special event with none other than Daw Aung San Suu Kyi herself! As a practitioner who has long been an admirer of “the Lady,” as well as a scholar with an abiding research interest in her, I can’t even begin to tell you how thrilled I was to see her in person — and from the press box with Joshua no less! On that note, I hope you will head on over toBuddhadharma: The Practitioner’s Quarterly Online, where my report on the event has just been posted (along with full video of the town hall). I’ve blogged a lot about “Daw Suu,” as a search of her name at this website will reveal. Most recently before this report, though, I reviewed Luc Besson’s recent biopic The Lady for Shambhala Sun Space. (The film comes out on DVD and Blu-Ray in the U.S. this coming Tuesday, October 2nd, by the...

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Report: Christians in Burma forced to convert to Buddhism

Originally posted by Buddhadharma The report reveals ongoing violations of religious freedom in Burma’s Chin State under……..     The Chin state. Photo courtesy CHRO. According to the Chin Human Rights Organisation (CHRO), Christians from the Chin ethnic minority group are being forced to convert to Buddhism in Burma. Stating that the coerced conversions are the result of state policies, the CHRO has released a 160-page report titled ” ‘Threats to Our Existence’: Persecution of Ethnic Chin Christians in Burma.” The report is based on more than 100 interviews conducted over the last two years. In the CHRO press release, the group states: “The report reveals ongoing violations of religious freedom in Burma’s Chin State under the new government led by President Thein Sein, including violations of the right to freedom of religious assembly; coercion to convert to Buddhism, the religion of the majority ethnic Burman population; and the destruction of Christian crosses in Chin State.” For more on this story, you can also read a report by Stoyan Zaimov, a reporter for...

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Please Take a Look at the Entire “Human Rights and Film” Mini-Course at My Patheos Blog

Originally posted by The Danny Fisher Blog.   “Human Rights and Film” ???? Tom Hardy stars as international terrorist Bane in Christopher Nolan’s epic “The Dark Knight Rises.” Image via Warner Bros. Pictures. As I previously mentioned, I’ve been hosting another social media mini-course on“Human Rights and Film” at my Facebook fan page. The course is over, but I’ve put all the material from it into a post for my Patheos blog Off the Cushion. Please take a look and let us know what you think! Regular readers might remember that I’ve fiddled with social media mini-courses before: inspired by our friend and past interviewee Stephen Prothero, I did courses on “Religion and Film” and “Buddhism and Film” at Twitter. (Just click on the titles to view those courses in their...

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Watch a new documentary on the Tibetan self-immolation phenomenon

Originally posted by The Buddhadharma   THE BURNING QUESTION: Why are Tibetans Turning to Self-immolation? The Central Tibet Administration has released a 30-minute documentary titled The Burning Question: Why are Tibetans Turning to Self-Immolation?The film focuses on the self-immolations in Tibet that started in 2009. It looks at why the self-immolation protests might be happening in the first place, despite efforts by the CTA to persuade Tibetans to not take such action. Watch below. See the video here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=1HhKF4_-9g8 (Photo by framesofmind via Flickr, using a CC-BY license.)      ...

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How to Find Right Livelihood

Originally posted by The Jizo Chronicles   If you are considering making a shift in your professional life, starting to work for yourself or…….   Posted on September 25, 2012 by Maia Duerr   Occasionally I like to cross-pollinate here from my other, more stealth Buddhist blog,The Liberated Life Project. I thought that you — my Jizo peeps — might enjoy knowing that I’m offering an e-course in October through the LLP called “Fall in Love with Your Work.” This is a month-long adventure into the heart of ‘right livelihood’ and how you can make it happen in your life. If you are considering making a shift in your professional life, starting to work for yourself or starting a business, or if you need to re-align your relationship with your current job so that it feels more meaningful, “Fall in Love with Your Work” may be right up your alley You can find out more on this page. Registration closes this Saturday, September 29, and the course starts on October 1. I hope that some of you will join me for this! Palms together...

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Reflecting on a Year of Occupy

Originally posted by The Jizo Chronicles. But the more I followed what was happening, and as I got involved myself, I could see something special was transpiring. I wrote about what…….. (Video) Aung San Suu Kyi Receives the Congressional Medal How to Find Right Livelihood Day 31 at Occupy Wall Street (photo by David Shankbone) This week marked the year anniversary of the Occupy Movement (aka “Occupy Wall Street”). I’ve been thinking a lot about what’s transpired this past year – … from the heady days in September and October when it seemed like this was the vehicle to ride to social transformation… …through the long, hard winter when some of our fragile alliances began to crumble… …into spring and summer of this year as the movement grappled with finding new ways to connect and express itself. To be honest, the first couple of weeks of Occupy, I was pretty skeptical and my skepticism was reinforced when I’d stop by local demonstrations here in my hometown of Santa Fe and found few people who could articulate why they were there other than, “I’m just mad… about everything!” But the more I followed what was happening, and as I got involved myself, I could see something special was transpiring. I wrote about what I was seeing and feeling in this piece, “This is What Compassion Looks Like,” co-authored along with Roshi Joan Halifax. An excerpt: Some have criticized or ridiculed Occupy Wall Street because it has not formed a list of clear demands for change. Instead, it has relied on a participatory, emergent process, even inviting the public at large to weigh in on what issues are of most importance. What is really remarkable about this movement is that somehow it has raised the process of “how” change happens to being more important than the “what” of change. The people on the streets in New York are in the process of being the change they wish to see, to use Gandhi’s phrase. They have organized to provide health care for each other, to feed each other, to clean up their space together, to deal with difficult situations using creative solutions. They have intentionally refused alignment with any political party in order to keep their message open to the widest audience. They are...

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Adam Yauch’s “Bodhisattva Vow” skateboard decks to go on auction for charity

Originally posted by The Worse Horse  “Bodhisattva Vow” (off the Beasties’ 1994 LP, Ill Communication) — and not on paper, but across three skateboard decks   The late musician/filmmaker/pro-Tibet worker/human rights advocate/Buddhist Beastie Boy Adam Yauch once wrote out the lyrics to his classic song, “Bodhisattva Vow” (off the Beasties’ 1994 LP, Ill Communication) — and not on paper, but across three skateboard decks. Now those decks will be auctioned online for in a charity effort for the Tony Hawk Foundation. For more, check out the rest of the story by way of Rolling...

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Check Out My Buddhadharma Report from Amnesty International’s Town Hall in Washington, DC, with Aung San Suu Kyi

Originally posted by Danny Fisher Just a Buddhist Minister Trying to Benefit Beings “The Lady” shines her light in DC… Photo by the author. I still can’t quite believe what happened last week: I was in our nation’s capital with Amnesty International, my palJoshua Eaton, and others for a very special event with none other than Daw Aung San Suu Kyi herself! As a practitioner who has long been an admirer of “the Lady,” as well as a scholar with an abiding research interest in her, I can’t even begin to tell you how thrilled I was to see her in person — and from the press box with Joshua no less! On that note, I hope you will head on over toBuddhadharma: The Practitioner’s Quarterly Online, where my report on the event has just been posted (along with full video of the town hall). I’ve blogged a lot about “Daw Suu,” as a search of her name at this website will reveal. Most recently before this report, though, I reviewed Luc Besson’s recent biopic The Lady for Shambhala Sun Space. (The film comes out on DVD and Blu-Ray in the U.S. this coming Tuesday, October 2nd, by the...

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Buddhism and Politics: A Dialogue

Originally posted by Upaya News   There is no universal agreement among Buddhists about the right solutions to political issues or even how to prioritize them                       by Maia Duerr Several years ago on my blog, The Jizo Chronicles, I posed a question to readers: How relevant is your Buddhist background when you consider how you are voting, or to take a step further back, how you relate to the whole electoral/political process in general? (Here is the original post, which also included a 2004 Election Guide to Candidates and Issues published by the Buddhist Peace Fellowship.) A rich conversation ensued from that question. Here are some excerpts:   Shodo Spring (Soto Zen priest and author of Take Up Your Life) In response to your questions, I would say that my Buddhist orientation determines everything about my politics. How could freeing all beings NOT be relevant to how we vote and act in the realm of politics?   Seth Segall (Zen practitioner and blogger) If you are a Buddhist there is no non-Buddhist part of your life. There is a Buddhist way that you try to engage in relationships, a Buddhist way that you look at the way you spend your time, a Buddhist way you look at how you spend your income, a Buddhist way you look at how you earn your livelihood, and a Buddhist way you to decide how to cast your vote and how to express yourself politically. There is no universal agreement among Buddhists about the right solutions to political issues or even how to prioritize them. There can be agreement, however, about trying to not make one’s political actions the product of greed, aversion, or delusion, and about acting mindfully and employing right speech, etc. There also should be some degree of non-attachment and non-self in the way we conduct ourselves as well. We care deeply about outcomes and work hard for what we belieive, but the outcomes are not about ourselves, and we understand that the universe is not going to comply with all our wishes. We are going to need a good deal of equanimity and a deeper perspective on how causes and conditions evolve over time to deal with what, at least for...

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Support Buddhist Global Relief’s Walk to Feed the Hungry

Originally posted by Jizo Chronicles   The UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights declares that food is a basic human right, which must be fulfilled without discrimination of any kind     Over the next couple of weeks, there are eight “Walks to Feed the Hungry”happening all around the U.S., organized by the good folks at Buddhist Global Relief (BGR). These walks were initiated in 2010 by Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi and BGR as a way to raise both awareness and funds for food-related projects around the world. He writes: A walk like this offers us, as Buddhists, a chance to express our collective compassion in solidarity with the world’s poor. It’s also a great form of exercise and an opportunity to make new friends. To walk a few miles may not seem like a demanding act, but when we view this event in context we can see that it has far-reaching implications. The UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights declares that food is a basic human right, which must be fulfilled without discrimination of any kind. Sadly, our world has fallen terribly short of this commitment. Every year governments spend billions of dollars on weapons and wars, yet close to a billion people suffer from hunger and chronic malnutrition and two billion endure serious nutritional deficiencies. A walks like this is a great source of merit and blessings and a collective expression of conscience on the part of us Buddhists. While some of the walks have already taken place, there are more happening the rest of October. Here are the locations and dates: Saturday, October 13 Ann Arbor / Metro Detroit, MI Chicago IL New York City, NY San Francisco CA Willington CT Sunday, October 14 San Jose–Mountain View CA   Saturday, October 20 LA–Santa Monica CA   Thursday, October 25 Escondido CA You can find out more information on this page – and you can also make a donation there even if you’re not able to join a walk. Help ‘em out — the folks at BGR do great...

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New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care announces new board members

Originally posted by Buddhadharma. The Board of Directors of New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care is pleased to announce their new board members.   Robert Chodo Campbell and Koshin Paley Ellison of NYZCCC The New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care(NYZCCC), which trains individuals to care for the terminally ill and sick, welcomes three new members to their board. The news comes from theNYZCCC Facebook group: “The Board of Directors of New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care is pleased to announce our new Board Chairman, Terrence Meck; our new Board President, Joanne Heyman; and our new Board member, Fran Hauser. We look forward to continuing to bring this important and vital work into the world.” Find out all about these newest members and more at the NYZCCC...

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Buddhist monks’ art project spreads message of peace

Originally posted by Buddhist Channel. A reminder that all we have — no matter how beautiful or carefully created — is impermanent.   Seven Buddhist monks was at the Spencer Museum of Art this week painstakingly constructing a sand painting called dul-tson-kyil-khor, meaning “mandala of colored powder.” On Friday, the monks will tossed the sand painting into Potter’s Lake in a symbolic gesture. Lawrence, KS (USA) — Yes, Tenzin Dekyong confirms, creating sand paintings is as difficult as it looks. Photo by Richard Gwin Monks’ necks and backs hurt from hunching over their work, faces just inches from the sand. And, yes, sometimes they make mistakes, which must be mended just as carefully – if not more so – as the purposeful details are created.     On Tuesday, Dekyong and six other Buddhist monks from the Drepung Gomang Monastery in India took a four-day process of creating a 5-by-5-foot mandala out of millions of grains of colored sand, painstakingly funneled into intricate designs on a platform in the Spencer Museum of Art Central Court, 1301 Miss. On Friday, they swept up their entire project and poured the sand into Potter Lake. The temporary display, Dekyong said, is a reminder that all we have — no matter how beautiful or carefully created — is impermanent. Friday’s events included chanting and prayers and a procession from the museum to the lake. The monks believe placing the sand in a nearby body of water enables the water to carry the mandala’s healing energies throughout the world, according to an announcement from Kansas University. Mark King and Rhonda Houser of Lawrence brought their 7-year-old son, Liam Kinghouser, to see the mandala in progress. “We thought he might enjoy seeing them concentrating and creating something beautiful,” Houser said. King said he’d watched monks creating a sand mandala once before, in Virginia, and that he’d wanted to visit since he heard the Spencer would be playing host to a similar event. “It was such a good experience,” King said. “It’s just amazing — so peaceful.” Through the course of building the mandala, a Sanskrit word for circle, the monks hope to spread their message of peace, love, compassion, unity and healing, Dekyong said. He said that specifically includes their hope for...

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This is racism, not Buddhism

Originally posted by Buddhist Channe. Monks did when they took to the streets in temple-studded Mandalay on Sunday to support the government’s brutal persecution of stateless Muslim Rohingya. Bangkok, Thailand — How do you feel when you see rows of stern-looking Buddhist monks marching through the streets in full force to call for violent treatment of the downtrodden?  Myanmar Buddhist monks rally on the streets of Mandalay (AFP) That was what thousands of Myanmar monks did when they took to the streets in temple-studded Mandalay on Sunday to support the government’s brutal persecution of stateless Muslim Rohingya. What were they thinking? The world is full of injustice. But isn’t it the business of monks to advise against it, and not to be supportive of any form of prejudice and human cruelty? Aren’t empathy and non-exploitation the key words in Buddhism? Aren’t monks supposed to devote their lives to deepening spiritual practice in order to see through the different layers of we-they prejudice so that compassion prevails in their hearts, words, and actions?  Many people outside Myanmar were asking these questions because the anti-Rohingya monks were the same ones who dared challenge the government in 2007 to champion the people’s cause, and who themselves faced a violent crackdown by the military junta. If the Buddha’s words were not important to them when they took to the streets, then what was? The answer is quite simple – racist nationalism. The monks do want justice for people, but just for their own kind. As part of the dominant ethnic Bama Buddhists, they believe deeply the dark-skinned Rohingya are illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, aggressive outsiders who will steal land from the Buddhist folk. The monks therefore feel that it is just to support the government to eliminate the perceived threats to their motherland, their ethnicity, and their religion. Call it patriotism, ultra-nationalism, ethnic prejudice, or racism. Whichever the label, it is mired in the we-they prejudice that divides people, fosters hatred, and triggers violence – everything Buddhism cautions against. But should people who live in glass houses throw stones? Our monks may still stop short of marching in the streets to call for the elimination of Malay Muslim separatists, but they have done so several times to call for a law which will...

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Report: Christians in Burma forced to convert to Buddhism

Originally posted by Buddhadharma. Christians from the Chin ethnic minority group are being forced to convert to Buddhism in Burma.    According to the Chin Human Rights Organisation (CHRO), Christians from the Chin ethnic minority group are being forced to convert to Buddhism in Burma. Stating that the coerced conversions are the result of state policies, the CHRO has released a 160-page report titled ” ‘Threats to Our Existence’: Persecution of Ethnic Chin Christians in Burma.” The report is based on more than 100 interviews conducted over the last two years. In the CHRO press release, the group states: “The report reveals ongoing violations of religious freedom in Burma’s Chin State under the new government led by President Thein Sein, including violations of the right to freedom of religious assembly; coercion to convert to Buddhism, the religion of the majority ethnic Burman population; and the destruction of Christian crosses in Chin State.” For more on this story, you can also read a report by Stoyan Zaimov, a reporter for theChristian...

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Authorities Nurture Burma’s Buddhist Chauvinism, Analysts Say

Originally posted by The Buddhist Channel  Saffron Revolution called for love and democracy, hundreds of monks marching this week in Mandalay called for the expulsion of one of the world’s most oppressed minorities, the Rohingya.   BANGKOK, THAILAND — Burma’s Buddhist monk-led demonstrations this week against the Muslim minority Rohingya surprised many observers.  Analysts say the country’s Buddhist chauvinism was shaped by authorities’ attempts to form a national identity.  But there are worries it could get out of control.  Burma’s Buddhist monks stage a rally to protest against minority Rohingya Muslims in Mandalay, central Burma, September 2, 2012. This week’s protests were the first large monk-led demonstrations in Burma since the 2007 uprising against military rule. But they were a stark contrast to that earlier movement. While the 2007 Saffron Revolution called for love and democracy, hundreds of monks marching this week in Mandalay called for the expulsion of one of the world’s most oppressed minorities, the Rohingya. The monks were supporting a suggestion by President Thein Sein that the Muslim minority, numbering close to a million, should be segregated and deported. The extremist calls follow violent summer clashes between Buddhists and Rohingya in western Rakhine state that left 90 people dead. Sectarian tensions are so high they overshadowed the fact that President Thein Sein was Prime Minister in 2007 when the military government violently cracked down on Buddhist monks. Maung Zarni, a visiting researcher at the London School of Economics, says authorities are harnessing Buddhist nationalism. “These generals are considered monk killers,” he said. “And, you know, the world [has] seen images of like troops shooting Buddhist monks in the Saffron Revolution.  Now, they have successfully refashioned themselves as defenders of Buddhist faith, protectors of Buddhist communities in western Burma.  And, it’s actually extremely brilliant, if dangerous, you know, political calculation.” Burma’s monks have taken lead roles in times of popular unrest, earning them the reputation of being champions of democracy and freedom. The 2007 Saffron Revolution takes its name from the color of monks’ robes. Buddhist monks were also key supporters of a 1988 student democracy uprising that the military similarly put down by force. But while those struggles were noble, analysts say historically Burma’s Buddhism has been influenced by a racist nationalism that...

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New Pew Survey on Asian-Americans and Religion, and an Old Controversy

Originally posted by Buddhism About.Com. Asian-Americans and religion, the numbers!   The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life has come out with a new survey, this time focusing on Asian-Americans and religion. I haven’t had time to look through it carefully, but one thing jumped out at me right away. “While Asian Americans make up a majority of U.S. Buddhists, roughly a third of American Buddhists are non-Asian; the Pew Forum estimates that 67%-69% of Buddhists in the U.S. are Asian,” it says. That’s not a startling statistic, but it is very much at odds with a Pew survey released in 2008, which said that only 32 percent of Buddhists in the U.S. are ethnic Asians. Big difference.   I see, however, that the older survey — still online — has not been corrected.Arun of Angry Asian Buddhist has written several posts about this, demonstrating that the older numbers just don’t crunch. See, for example, “Stop Using the Pew Study” from September 2010. Arun’s “back-of-the-envelope” rough calculation found that the percentage of U.S. Buddhists who are ethnic Asians had to be closer to 62 percent than 32 percent. Turns out Arun was right.  The 32 percent figure from 2008 has been picked up by journalists and sociologists ever since it was published. From this number many conclusions have been drawn about Buddhism in the U.S. that are, obviously, invalid. Arun has argued that the older Pew survey numbers have the effect of marginalizing Asian Americans.  Other than that — and again, I’ve only looked through the new survey quickly —  the next most interesting thing was comparing Buddhists in the 2008 survey and the new survey in areas of social issues. From this I take it that ethnic Asian Buddhists tend to be more conservative than the Buddhists sampled in 2008.  The 2008 crew tended to lean heavily toward being liberal in political and social outlook, whereas the new survey shows Asian American Buddhists tend to be closer to the U.S. general public in political and social outlook. That’s hardly startling, but it suggests that the 2008 survey did not present an accurate picture of U.S....

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Hunger in America: Rescuing Food, Rescuing People

Originally posted by Buddhist Global Relie. To cherish one’s blessings, no food should be wasted.   More than 1 billion people suffer from hunger. Yet, a federal study found nearly 100 billion pounds of edible food was wasted by U.S. retailers, food service businesses, and consumers in a single year. For a family of four, that amounted to 122 pounds of food thrown out each month in grocery stores, restaurants, cafeterias, and homes. All of the food we receive comes, at least in part, from the effort and generosity of others.  We have every reason to receive it with a sense of gratitude and thankfulness.  To cherish one’s blessings, no food should be wasted. To remedy the shameful waste of food, Buddhist Global Relief supports the practice of “food rescue“: safely retrieving edible food from grocery stores, vendors, farmers’ markets, and restaurants that would otherwise go to waste, and distributing it to those in need.  For example, one of BGR’s newest partners,City Harvest, Inc. of New York City, responds to the urgent needs of thousands of hungry NYC residents, rescuing 29 million pounds of food this past year and delivering it free of charge to food pantries and soup kitchens. For information on food recovery organizations in your area, contact Feeding America at             1-800-771-2303      .  You can learn more about hunger in America and what you can do to help at www.Feeding America.org.  For information on “gleaning” (collecting leftover crops from farmers’ fields after they have been commercially harvested or on fields where it is not economically profitable), contact The Society of St. Andrew‘s national office at            1-800-333-4597      . Restaurants and grocery stores interested in donating food can contact Food Donation Connection at             1-800-831-8161      . They link donors with food recovery organizations. Businesses can also make donations of food by becoming a Feeding America “product partner“. We are grateful that there are so many ways to...

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Zen Hospice Project to mark 25th anniversary with celebration

Originally posted by Buddhdharma.  “One Night One Heart”   Zen Hospice Project will mark its 25th anniversary with a celebration at the  Fort Mason Center in San Francisco on October 18. The event, “One Night One Heart,” will include “a live documentary, a unique combination of media, music, narrative, and storytelling, to capture the deep meaning and joy in our work,” and organizers except over 300 to be in attendance. Zen Hospice Project, founded in 1987, has provided care for “over 3,000 terminally ill people and their families by training and supporting more than 1,500 volunteer caregivers. [In addition,] over 18,000 people, including many health and social care professionals, have attended [the organization’s] workshops and support groups.” For more information about the event, contact Eden Penfield [email protected] call             (415) 913-7682      , ext. 106. You can also find information about sponsoring the...

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Patrick Groneman to transition out of role as Executive Director of Interdependence Project

Originally posted by Buddhadharma  “What a privilege it is for me to help lead, in passionate service……. The NYC-based Interdependence Project has announced that Patrick Groneman will transition out of his role as the organization’s executive director. It’s been a year since Patrick has begun serving in this capacity, and we’re all grateful for the service that he has provided to the organization and the community,” write IDP Executive Committee members Kat Hendrix, Jerry Kolber, and Ethan Nichtern in their email. The committee also goes on to say that Gronemen will serve part-time as transition consultant, and that MV Sweeney, the organization’s creative capital director, has been invited to serve as interim executive director. They quote her as saying, “What a privilege it is for me to help lead, in passionate service, the extraordinarily kind and innovative community that is IDP!”  Groneman adds, “I feel as connected to IDP’s mission as ever and plan to remain involved remotely in IDP’s leadership, as a meditation instructor and online contributor.” You can read the full announcement here....

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Journey to the Field: Brazil

I just returned from Sao Paolo and Porto Alegre in Brazil. I visited various developments in slum areas and a wonderful birthing center. I will give reports on my journey to Brazil in upcoming blogs and at Reports From Journeys to Brazil. Interview of Bernie by Alessandra Kormann journalist of Folha de S.Paulo Alessandra: I read in your website that you found your way into Zen practice after reading the book World’s Religions, when you were studying to be an Aeronautical Engineer. But how was your life before that? Did you always want to change the world (or at least try to make it better)?  Bernie: I was born into a Jewish Socialist environment and so social action was in my bones since childhood. At the age of 12 years, I began an intensive search in World Literature regarding the existence of God. I have never felt I want to change the world. I am attracted to situations that I don’t understand or that give me fear. I respond to the ingredients I see before me and make the best meal I can out of them. Alessandra: What was your family like? Have your upbringing influenced your social engagement in any way?  Bernie: I was born into a Jewish Socialist environment and so social action was in my bones since childhood. My mother died when I was 7 years old. My father was not involved in social engagement, but all my aunts and uncles on both sides were heavily engaged and thus I feel I was definitely influenced in social engagement by them.  Alessandra: How did the idea of creating a bakery to employ Yonkers’ homeless came to you? Did you have any previous experience with bakery or cooking before? Why to make cakes instead of bolts, bricks or clothes?  Bernie: I wanted to create a livelihood training space for zen students, I call it work-practice. I wanted a livelihood that didn’t require experience, a place where we could train people from scratch. I also wanted our zen center to have a livelihood and not only depend on donations. I made a list of criteria that the livelihood should have. The list included: can accept workers with no experience, has the potential to support...

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Hungarian Buddhists oppose new law’s narrow definition of religious congregations

Originally posted by Buddhadharma. Fidesz – Hungarian Civic Union claimed a two-thirds majority in Parliament watch the video    The Buddhist Channel offers an interesting post this week concerning the recent regime change in Hungary and its effects on the nation’s Buddhist population. Buddhist groups in the country will no longer be recognized as religious groups. In the most recent elections, Fidesz – Hungarian Civic Union claimed a two-thirds majority in Parliament. Socially conservative, one of Fidesz’s first acts was to enact the new “Law on the Right to Freedom of Conscience and Religion, and on Churches, Religions and Religious Community,” which has drawn criticism because it privileges certain religious communities over others. The new legislation, which is popularly referred to as “the Church Law,” only recognizes churches with long traditions in Hungarian history: Catholic, Lutheran, Calvinist, Orthodox, other Protestant denominations, and some Jewish congregations (excluding reform). No Hindu, Muslim, or Buddhist organization is accepted, and the law stipulates that to be recognized, an organization must have a membership of over one-thousand and “have been in existence for more than twenty years.” Officially recognized religious groups have access to government subsidies and tax advantages, which all the country’s Buddhist and other unrecognized groups lost in January. Only a two-thirds vote by parliament can decide if an organization meets these criteria. Among the Buddhist organizations in Hungary, the Jai Bhim Network has taken the lead on opposing the law and seeking recognition for the country’s Buddhist groups. You can sign their petition here. For more on the story, visit the Buddhist Channel, and watch the video with this post.   Hungary Dispatches; October...

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World Fellowship of Buddhists promotes ethical treatment of animals

Originally posted by Buddhadharma.  The Call on humanity to extend compassion and loving-kindness to all living beings in the final declaration at its 26th General Conference. The World Fellowship of Buddhists, established in 1950 to foster cooperation between Buddhists of different sects all over the world, called on humanity to extend compassion and loving-kindness to all living beings in the final declaration at its 26th General Conference, held in South Korea last month. This action was prompted by Ven. Senaka Weeraratna of the German Dharmaduta Society, who handed in a draft resolution at the conference calling for an animal welfare subcommittee of the WFB Standing Committee for Humanitarian Services. To read the full text of the draft resolution at lankaweb.com, click...

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13 Photos From Taiwan’s First Same-Sex Buddhist Marriage

Originally posted by Buzzfeed.    Taiwan, WHAT, same sex Buddhist marriages, who would of thought? Huang Mei-yu (left) and Yu Ya-ting (right) have been together for seven years. On Aug. 11, they married in a Buddhist ceremony in Taiwan, where homosexuality is widely accepted, though same-sex marriage is still not recognized. Image by SAM YEH / Getty Images 2. Here, the women hug entertainer Chu Hui-chen, whose 26-year-old lesbian daughter killed herself in May. Image by PICHI CHUANG / Reuters 3. The brides wore matching veils at the ceremony. Opinions on gay marriage range within Buddhism, though modern teachers generally don’t condemn homosexuality. Image by PICHI CHUANG / Reuters 4. They told reporters that they hoped the Buddhist ceremony would move more Taiwanese people to support legalization. About 80 percent of Taiwan’s population is Buddhist. Image by Wally Santana / AP 5. Buddhist Master Shih Chao-hwei performed the ceremony, giving the women his full support: “I am certain you will lead a life of happiness together, especially after you have overcome so much difficulty and societal discrimination,” he said. “You have blessings not only from the Buddha, but also from those whom you may or may not know who are in attendance.” Image by Wally Santana / AP 6. The brides exchanged beads — the Buddhist equivalent of “You may now kiss the bride.” Image by SAM YEH / Getty Images 7. Their wedding comes one year after an enormous demonstration in Taipei, where 80 lesbian couples staged a Barbie-and-Barbie wedding. Image by Wally Santana / AP 8. Since 2003, Taipei has also been host to the largest gay pride parade in Asia. Image by PICHI CHUANG / Reuters 9. A same-sex marriage legalization bill has been spurring debate in Taiwan for nearly 10 years. Although the bill hasn’t been approved, it was the first of its kind in Asia. Image by Wally Santana / AP 10. In 2006, Taiwan president Ma Ying-Jeou, then the mayor of Taipei, said “gay rights are part of human rights.” Since becoming president, however, he’s done little to get the bill approved. Image by SAM YEH / Getty Images 11. Here, the brides stamp their names in front of a Buddhist statue in the prayer hall. Image by Wally Santana / AP 12. Their parents did not attend the ceremony. “My parents have known my sexual orientation for many years, but at first, they couldn’t really accept it,” Huang told reporters. “Our parents...

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Jeff Bridges to Address Childhood Hunger at Political Conventions

Jeff says he hopes to get both Republicans and Democrats working to help kids battling poverty and hunger. Jeff Bridges isn’t about to let political partisanship get in the way of his crusade against childhood hunger. “Well, I don’t dig party lines, so I’m heading to both the Republican National Convention AND the Democratic National Convention to get people talking about an issue in our country that knows no party — childhood hunger. I’ll be at both conventions, meeting with leaders, appearing on behalf of No Kid Hungry, and telling officials of both parties that America’s future depends on their supporting America’s kids today.” The Academy Award winning actor has been actively involved in fighting hunger for nearly 30 years; founding the End Hunger Network back in 1983 and later partnering in 2010 with the children’s charity Share Our Strength. Through the No Kid Hungry campaign, Bridges has expressed optimism that with the right focus, childhood hunger in the U.S. can be solved by 2015. Jeff is also a major supporter of the Zen Peacemakers’ Let All Eat Cafés. “Ending hunger is not a mystery,” he says. “By building on successful federal programs like the school breakfast program, our nation’s hungry children can get the food they need to perform well in school and stay healthy. Childhood hunger in America is a hidden epidemic that robs children of the opportunity to grow up healthy and learn well in school, but we see an end in sight. This is a problem we can solve.” Bridges will make an appearance at the IMPACT Film Festival in Tampa during the RNC festivities to screen “Hunger Hits Home,” a film he narrated that “takes a first-hand look at child hunger through the eyes of those affected by and engaged in the fight against child...

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Buddhist Contemplative Care Symposium set for November at Garrison Institute

Originally posted by Buddhadharma. Most effective palliative and end-of-life care possible….     The Shambhala Sun Foundation is pleased to cosponsor the first-ever Buddhist Contemplative Care Symposium, which will run November 8–11 at the Garrison Institute in Garrison, New York. The conference focuses on providing the most effective palliative and end-of-life care possible, drawing together neuroscience researchers, doctors, nurses, and other health care providers, Buddhist teachers, and patient advocates. Keynote speakers include Buddhist teachers Koshin Paley Ellison, Judy Lief, and Robert Chodo Campbell, and doctors Anthony Back, Diane Meier, Radhule Weininger, Michael Kearney, and BJ Miller. More information, including registration, is available here....

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Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center moves US office to Cambridge, MA

Originally posted by Shambhala Sun.  TBRC is excited to announce that they have started a new internship program in collaboration with the Harvard Divinity School and the Department of South Asian Studies at Harvard.    The Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center (TBRC) has moved from the Rubin Museum of Art to a new office space in Cambridge, Massachusetts, right in Harvard Square. The TBRC was originally founded by the late Tibetan scholar E. Gene Smith in Cambridge back in 1999. According to a recent blog post on the move, TBRC is excited to announce that they have started a new internship program in collaboration with the Harvard Divinity School and the Department of South Asian Studies at Harvard. They’ve also set up a kiosk and seminar room on site for visitors and students, to assist them in their research. In the post at TBRC’s blog, the staff writes, “Our new location is spacious and bright, and we are thankful for the support we have received from patrons, board members, supporters, and friends. We are also appreciative that all of TBRC’s core staff members have made the transition.” The Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center exists to preserve, organize, and distribute works of Tibetan literature. To find out more about TBRC, visit their website. We recently asked Jeff Wallman (Executive Director of TBRC) about the move and TBRC’s future. Here is what Wallman had to say: “We are excited about being in Cambridge. Its a fresh start. Everyone on staff is dedicated to the mission and made some big sacrifices to get here. Its more peaceful in Cambridge and sometimes we miss the excitement of New York.But things are happening here after one month and I am confident it is a good direction for us. The most exciting aspect of being in Cambridge is that we can cultivate the organization on all the levels it exists on. Different people see TBRC in different ways. For some TBRC is a mission, a noble endeavor, a website, a brainchild of Gene Smith, a text delivery system, an archive of Tibetan treasures, for some even a file system and hard disk. Its all of these things but the structure of TBRC is complex and it needs nourishment on each level to grow. We have really talented people working at TBRC and I have...

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Psychiatrist incorporates Buddhist philosophy to heal patients

Originally posted by Buddhist Channel.  Decades of research and clinical practice using traditional psychoanalysis, neuroscience and Buddhism in the practice of achieving wholeness. New York, USA — In the practice and study of Buddhism, non-duality or wholeness is a binding philosophy and critical to achieving enlightenment. All beings are equal in wanting happiness and not wanting pain; therefore one should protect others as one protects the self. This is called “the exchange of self for others,” or mindfullness.   Joseph Loizzo, founder and director of The Nalanda Institute for Contemplative Science, has written a book called Sustainable Happiness in which he shares decades of research and clinical practice using traditional psychoanalysis, neuroscience and Buddhism in the practice of achieving wholeness. “The main problem in our human condition has to do with the fact that our natures were adapted for life in the wild, and that because of civilization, we are living in very unnatural conditions,” says Loizzo, who believes this is the primary source of stress for most people. “The stress instincts are what prepare us to fight or fly or freeze sometimes in dangerous situations. But since civilization began to sort of take over our whole lives, these stress reactions are a less and less useful part of our makeup,” according to an interview with Voice of America.     Controlling involuntary responses in stressful situations result in shortness of breath, sweating, and adrenaline surges alerting the body it is in possible danger.  “And because really what is challenging us is not a predator, but is another human being,” he says, “whom we need to cooperate with and we need to negotiate with, essentially we become maladapted.” Buddhist practices and philosophy have long been used for conflict resolution. Dr. Loizzo says by incorporating Buddhist techniques into his medical practice using meditation and breathing techniques, one can re-train the brain to control the body responses to reduce the stress which can lead to depression, chronic anxiety, hypertension and heart disease. “The idea is that if you’re mindful, you are able to assess things more clearly, and you are able to catch the misperceptions and over-reactions as they occur and opt out of them and choose the alternative [and] to see what is happening to you. Meditation...

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Myanmar to examine Muslim-Buddhist violence

Rohingya are viewed by the United Nations as one of the world’s most persecuted minorities [Reuters] Myanmar’s government has formed a commission to investigate the causes of recent sectarian violence between Muslim Rohingya and ethnic Rakhine Buddhists, in which at least 78 people were killed. President Thein Sein’s website announced the commission on Friday, more than two months after the June clashes that also displaced tens of thousands of people. The nation’s authorities have faced heavy criticism from rights groups after the deadly unrest in western Rakhine state raised international concerns about the Rohingya’s fate inside Myanmar The 27-member commission, which includes religious leaders, artists and former dissidents, will “expose the real cause of the incident” and suggest ways ahead, state mouthpiece New Light of Myanmar said. The newspaper said the commission will aim to establish the causes of the June violence, the number of casualties on both sides and recommend measures to ease tensions and find “ways for peaceful coexistence”. The commission is expected to call witnesses and be granted access to the areas rocked by the violence, which saw villages razed and has left an estimated 70,000 people – from both communities – in government-run camps and shelters. ‘Sensitive issue’ Sein, who has introduced political reforms to Myanmar since taking over as president last year following decades of repressive military rule, has rejected calls from the United Nations and human rights groups for independent investigators, saying the unrest is an internal affair. “As an independent commission was formed inside the country… it is a right decision which showed that we can create our own fate of the country,” Aye Maung, the chairman of Rakhine Nationalities Development Party, told the AFP news agency. The commission will be headed by a retired Religious Affairs Ministry official and include former student activists, a former UN officer and representatives from political parties and Islamic and other religious organisations. They include several government critics who served jail time as political prisoners, including the widely respected activist and comedian Zarganar, and Ko Ko Gyi, who helped lead a failed student uprising against the former junta in 1988. “The president wants to show the international community that he is trying his best to deal with this extraordinarily sensitive issue,” said Hkun Htun Oo,...

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Shrine’s IPO plan sparks public outcry

Originally posted by Buddhistchannel Visitors gather near the Goddess of Mercy statue at Putuo Mountain, known as a holy Buddhist mountain, in Zhoushan, Zhejiang province.    Shanghai, China — The latest effort to float on the capital market by Putuo Mountain, a Buddhist site, has renewed discussions over whether religious venues should turn into high-profile commercial entities through initial public offerings.   Visitors gather near the Goddess of Mercy statue at Putuo Mountain, known as a holy Buddhist mountain, in Zhoushan, Zhejiang province. Putuo Mountain Tourism Development Co Ltd is gearing up to go public on the domestic capital market. [Photo / China Daily] Putuo Mountain Tourism Development Co Ltd, a subsidiary company under the Putuo Mountain Scenic Management Committee, is gearing up to go public on the domestic capital market after prudent considerations and a year of preparation, a committee official told China Daily on Monday. “We are set to raise around 750 million yuan ($118 million) to bolster the site’s development,” said Zhang Shaolei, who works for the committee, which is affiliated to the Zhoushan municipal government in East China’s Zhejiang province. But he declined to reveal the timetable or comment on the revenue source or composition of the planned listed company. Putuo Mountain Tourism Development Co Ltd was unavailable for comment. The listing of companies linked to world-famous Chinese heritage sites is not new in the country’s capital market. For instance, Emei Shan Tourism Co Ltd, which is primarily engaged in the sales of admission tickets and the operation of tramways and hotels in Emei Mountain, another renowned Buddhist mountain, was listed in Shenzhen in 1997. A more recent example is Famen Temple, another high-profile temple in Northwest China’s Shaanxi province, which put the brakes on its IPO in May after preparing for a Hong Kong listing, according to the China Securities Journal. The issues seemed to have touched the nerves of the government, which has criticized plans to promote tourism via temples, or temples banding together to go public for fundraising. Xinhua News Agency quoted Liu Wei, an official with the State Administration for Religious Affairs, as saying last month that such plans violate the legitimate rights of religious circles, damage the image of religion and hurt the feelings of the majority...

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Practices Derived from Buddhist Meditation Show Real Effectiveness for Certain Health Problems

Originally posted by The Buddhist Channel. Zen mediation have helped to resolve mental and physical health problems.   New Delhi, India — According to a report in the July Journal of Psychiatric Practice, mindfulness practices including Zen mediation have helped to resolve mental and physical health problems. ”An extensive review of therapies that include meditation as a key component – referred to as mindfulness-based practices – shows convincing evidence that such interventions are effective in the treatment of psychiatric symptoms and pain, when used in combination with more conventional therapies,” according to Dr William R. Marchand of the George E. Mindfulness based therapies or exercises show clear results of health benefits. Mindfulness is described as “the practice of learning to focus attention on moment-by-moment experience with an attitude of curiousity, openness, and acceptance. In other words a part of practicing mindfulness is simply experiencing the present as it is rather than trying to change anything.     Dr. Marchand focused on three techniques: Zen meditation, a Buddhist spiritual practice that involves the practice of developing mindfulness by meditation. Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) a combination of Buddhist mindfulness with meditation related to yoga as well as stress coping stretegies. The third type of technique he reviewed is Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT), which combines MBSR with principles of cognitive therapy.  As a result of Dr. Marchand’s study it has been revealed that MBSR is effective in reducing stress and promoting general psychological health in patients with various medical or psychiatric diseases. These practices in addition help to affect mental and physical health in that they impact brain function in structure, which they believe is the reason for the practices helping decrease stress levels as well. The use of such mindfulness practices are promising and overtime should be used consistently in clinical settings....

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Mitt Romney’s Burma problem

Originally posted by Shambhala Sun. Republicans and Democrats acting like children again and showing our countries…….   While Republicans and Democrats alike have been criticizing U.S. Olympic uniform designer Ralph Lauren’s decision to outsource production to China, Mitt Romney has been noticeably silent on the issue, calling the debate “extraneous” and saying the focus should be on the athletes. Throughout his presidential campaign, Romney has repeatedly promised to “get tough on China,” so his decision not to speak out was initially surprising. But, it turns out, he may have a reason for keeping quiet—the torchbearers’ uniforms for the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics, for which Romney served as president and CEO of the organizing committee, were made in Burma, which until last year was controlled by a brutal military junta. One of the 2002 torchbearers, Susan Bonfield, tipped off a Burmese democratic group when she received her uniform in 2001. Trade unions and human rights groups protested and called on the International Olympic Committee to apologize and promise not to support the Burmese regime...

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Lambs to the Settlers’ Slaughter

Few people understand that “the Occupation” by Israel of the Palestinian people translates into regular violent assaults by jewish settlers on Palestinian civilians. This story from Ha’aretz by widely respected journalist Amira Hass gives us part of the picture. Lambs to the settlers’ slaughter, screaming and unheard. There were more than 50 reports of Israelis assaulting Palestinians in the West Bank last month. In the start of a regular series, Haaretz (Israeli newspaper) details one particularly violent attack. By Amira Hass     | Aug.05, 2012 More reports from Israel and Palestine can be found at “Reports from Journeys to Israel and Palestine.“ There is still a bruise under Ibrahim Bani Jaber’s left eye. The blows his brother Jawdat received to his right ear didn’t leave any marks, but they still make his head feel heavy. During our meeting at their home in the West Bank village of Akraba last week, they did not spend much  time describing the fear and pain they felt when they were attacked. Instead, they spoke about the family’s sheep, that they had rushed to try and save that day, July 7, when they heard that settlers were attacking them. The violent confrontation – between settlers from Itamar and Giva 777, and Palestinian residents of Akraba – was the worst such incident last month. But it was, nevertheless, merely part of the daily routine of assaults, attacks and incursions. It is only on rare occasions that these incidents become news. In most cases, if there is an investigation there is no indictment. The map presented here shows the various assaults from last month alone, but it is not complete because it does not include Jerusalem. It is based on reports that have been cross-checked, and eyewitness testimonies from the Ta’ayush Arab Jewish partnership, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, and the B’Tselem: The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories. Haaretz will continue to follow events on a regular basis and the way they are handled by the authorities. On Saturday July 7, when the Bani Jaber brothers were working in a wheat field, their brother Jihad – who was tending the sheep – telephoned them in a panic. “Settlers have arrived at...

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No Impact Man

Originally Posted by No Impact Man.   My Speech At Green Party National Convention with, Colin Beavan US Congress 8th District NY Candidate. Watch video below Here is the speech I made at the Green Party National Convention on Saturday. It’s 20 minutes long so if you don’t want to watch it but you want to know the themes: 1. Democracy works on the principle that wisdom is collected from a group in order to make decisions that result in the greatest good for the greatest number. 2. The two old-fashioned parties have betrayed that ideal and are so frightened by the crises that face us that they no longer trust the people. 3. Instead, they meet behind closed doors with their corporate campaign contributors and make decisions from there how our country should move forward. 4. This approach is failing, not least because attempts to be practical instead of idealistic. 5. By no longer being idealistic, we find ourselves in wars for other people’s oil, letting the rich have too many privileges, torturing people, keeping people in jail without due process of law etc. 6. Americans can handle hard times but not when they have no sense of meaning or purpose. When the politicians betray our ideals, people feel meaningless and they abandon the political system in droves. 7. But this is just the time when we need everyone involved. To keep the boat afloat we need all hands at all oars. 8. The only way to get the American people back into our democracy is to cloy to our ideals rather then abandon them in this time of crisis. 9. We need to be more idealistic rather than less if we hope to get through. 10. And that is why I am running for Congress with the Green Party, because the Green Party does not truck with corporations and lobbyists. 11. It trucks with people. And with ideals. That approach will draw people back into the democratic process. 12. If that happens we might get back to the idea of the greatest good for the greatest number. 13. And then maybe we have a chance. Follow the link to watch Colin  Beavan`s talk! : http://youtu.be/S4lKWCJyglo Subscribe to this feed • Digg This! • Email this • Save to del.icio.us • Technorati Links • Stumble It! • AddThis! • Share...

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All you need is a little faith

The West Bank’s Rabbi Menachem Froman has the solution to the conflict ‘All you need is a little faith,’ says the Tekoa leader, who isn’t averse to quoting Sheikh Ahmed Yassin. More reports from Israel and Palestine can be found at “Reports from Journeys to Israel and Palestine.“ How do you feel today? First of all, I want to apologize. I am tired and not very lucid or focused. The morning hours are hard for me, after prayer. I also had a bad night. So my wife Hadassah is with us. You will hear things from her, too. I can see this is not easy for you. I’m sorry. I will try not to impose on you. Let’s talk about your activity for peace, about the meetings you have been holding for years with leaders and clerics from the Arab world. For almost 40 years I have maintained that it is impossible to forge peace here without taking into account the religious element, which is very powerful in the Arab public and also stronger than what some readers of Haaretz would like to believe in the Jewish public. [Sheikh] Ahmed Yassin once told me: You and I could make peace in hamsa dakika − five minutes. How so? Because we are both believers. In recent years I mentioned this to everyone who was ready to listen, and it was considered bizarre and crazy. Suddenly, the situation is slowly beginning to change. A senior Israel Defense Forces officer who was in charge of collecting intelligence once told me: There is no one who understands Hamas like you, who meets with them and talks to them like that. But to make peace with Hamas? That is crazy. And then Hamas came to power. But most people hold the opposite view. For them, religion, which you regard as a common denominator, is the cause of war. That is true. And I say: Not only in Israel, but the whole Middle East will go the same path. I was in Egypt and Jordan and met with the most extreme clerics. Before bin Laden’s assassination, I used to say that the rumor that he is in our house, in the attic, is untrue. Now, with [Mohammed] Morsi’s election [as...

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Aung San Suu Kyi to visit United States for first time in decades

Originally posted by Buddhadharma.  Visit the United States for the first time in decades    The Associated Press reports that Aung San Suu Kyi will visit the United States for the first time in decades this September to collect an award. The Atlantic Council will present her with its Global Citizen Award at a ceremony in New York. There are no other details about Suu Kyi’s trip at this time, though the AP quoted the US State Department as saying that she would be invited to meet with US government officials during her trip as well. Before her marriage to the late Oxford Tibetologist Michael Arris in the 1970s, Suu Kyi lived in New York for three years and worked for the United Nations. The Leader of the National League for Democracy in Burma, Suu Kyi spent 15 of the 21 years between 1989 and 2010 under house arrest. this September to collect an award. The Atlantic Council will present her with its Global Citizen Award at a ceremony in New York. There are no other details about Suu Kyi’s trip at this time, though the AP quoted the US State Department as saying that she would be invited to meet with US government officials during her trip as well. Before her marriage to the late Oxford Tibetologist Michael Arris in the 1970s, Suu Kyi lived in New York for three years and worked for the United Nations. The Leader of the National League for Democracy in Burma, Suu Kyi spent 15 of the 21 years between 1989 and 2010 under house...

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School for homeless kids to receive $51K donation from Dalai Lama

Originally posted by Buddhadharma Homelessness, will receive $51k from His Holiness the Dalai Lama today San Diego’s Monarch School, which offers education to children impacted by homelessness, will receive $51k from His Holiness the Dalai Lama today. The money comes from surplus funds raised during His Holiness’s April 2012 visit to the city, an event that nearly 20,000 people attended. Erin Spiewak, Chief Executive Officer of the Monarch School, said, “This generous contribution allows Monarch to continue to support our students’ growth and learning with the intention that they will follow in the example of significant leaders such as His Holiness.” Venerable Lama Tenzin Dhonden, Peace Emissary for His Holiness, will be speaking on behalf of the Dalai Lama during the gift-giving...

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August Kowalczyk, he last surviving member of a group of prisoners that escaped from the German Nazi concentration camp Birkenau, died Sunday at a hospice he helped found in the town of Oświęcim in southern Poland where the former camp is located. He was 90 years old. Kowalczyk was brought to Auschwitz in December 1940. In June 1942 he was among 50 Polish inmates who tried to flee the camp while working in the fields. Most were killed in the attempt and only nine escaped. Kowalczyk was the last known survivor. Kowalczyk became a popular actor and spent his lifetime telling his story to younger generations. August attended the Zen Peacemakers 2nd Auschwitz/Birkenau Bearing Witness Retreat (15 years ago)  and at the end of the retreat, he joined the Zen Peacemakers. He attended almost all of the annual retreats since then talking to many retreat participants about his experiences in the camp. He was the head of the Polish Auschwitz Survivers Group for many years and at one point spoke to Bernie Glassman and Andzej Krajewski about developing a tribute for the survivers. They decided on a hospice to be built in Oświęcim. This is where he...

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Opinions vary widely on Tibet’s self-immolation protests

Originally posted by Buddhadharma Two Opinions, what do they really mean to yours? The New York Times Belief Blog recently ran two opinion pieces on Tibet’s self-immolation phenomenon by Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and writer, and Tenzin Dorjee, Executive Director of Students for a Free Tibet. The two writers, both supporters of the Tibetan cause, show us just how strong and divergent opinions on this sensitive issue are. Please follow the links below: Stephen Prothero, My Take: Dalai Lama should condemn Tibetan self-immolations Tenzin Dorjee, My Take: Why the Dalai Lama cannot condemn Tibetan self-immolations (Photo by SFT HQ via Flickr, using...

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New Pew Survey on Asian-Americans and Religion, and an Old Controversy

Originally posted by Abount Buddhism.com.   I like to how who`s really practicing, do some pew on that, it`s what really matter……   The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life has come out with a new survey, this time focusing on Asian-Americans and religion. I haven’t had time to look through it carefully, but one thing jumped out at me right away. “While Asian Americans make up a majority of U.S. Buddhists, roughly a third of American Buddhists are non-Asian; the Pew Forum estimates that 67%-69% of Buddhists in the U.S. are Asian,” it says. That’s not a startling statistic, but it is very much at odds with a Pew survey released in 2008, which said that only 32 percent of Buddhists in the U.S. are ethnic Asians. Big difference. Arun of Angry Asian Buddhist has written several posts about this, demonstrating that the older numbers just don’t crunch. See, for example, “Stop Using the Pew Study” from September 2010. Arun’s “back-of-the-envelope” rough calculation found that the percentage of U.S. Buddhists who are ethnic Asians had to be closer to 62 percent than 32 percent. Turns out Arun was right. I see, however, that the older survey — still online — has not been corrected. The 32 percent figure from 2008 has been picked up by journalists and sociologists ever since it was published. From this number many conclusions have been drawn about Buddhism in the U.S. that are, obviously, invalid. Arun has argued that the older Pew survey numbers have the effect of marginalizing Asian Americans. Other than that — and again, I’ve only looked through the new survey quickly —  the next most interesting thing was comparing Buddhists in the 2008 survey and the new survey in areas of social issues. From this I take it that ethnic Asian Buddhists tend to be more conservative than the Buddhists sampled in 2008. The 2008 crew tended to lean heavily toward being liberal in political and social outlook, whereas the new survey shows Asian American Buddhists tend to be closer to the U.S. general public in political and social outlook. That’s hardly startling, but it suggests that the 2008 survey did not present an accurate picture of U.S....

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World Fellowship of Buddhists promotes ethical treatment of animals

Originally posted by Shambhala Sun. A resolution at the conference calling for an animal welfare subcommittee of the WFB Standing Committee for Humanitarian Services. The World Fellowship of Buddhists, established in 1950 to foster cooperation between Buddhists of different sects all over the world, called on humanity to extend compassion and loving-kindness to all living beings in its final Declaration at its 26th General Conference held in South Korea last month. This stemmed from Ven. Senaka Weeraratna of the German Dharmaduta Society, who handed in a draft resolution at the conference calling for an animal welfare subcommittee of the WFB Standing Committee for Humanitarian Services. You can read the full text of the draft resolution at lankaweb.com, available...

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A Declaration of Interdependence

Originally posted by Jizo Chronicles. How about a day of remembering how interdependent we all are?   Photo: Paul Davis As the Fourth of July approaches, I’d like to offer an alternative way to think about and celebrate the day. How about a day of remembering how interdependent we all are? The essay below was originally written in 2004 by Alan Senauke of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship, and presented to delegates of the Republican and Democractic conventions that year. Read more… 1,282 more words Re-posting this perennial favorite… Happy Interdependence Day to...

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From the July 2012 magazine: “Politically Aware”

Originally posted by Shambhala Sun. In a mindful nation, we’d begin to see……. Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan is a vocal advocate for incorporating mindfulness into all aspects of American society. In this Q&A from the July 2012 Shambhala Sun magazine — now online in its entirety — Ryan talks about his own meditation practice and his vision for more mindful country, which he outlined in his book A Mindful Nation. “We’d all slow down and reprioritize our values. Today, consumerism seems to be front and center and caring about one another is on the back burner. In a mindful nation, we’d begin to see and appreciate that we are all connected—we are all part of the 100 percent. It would lead to an education system that’s more mindful in teaching social and emotional skills. It would lead to a health care system that focuses on prevention. Our neighborhoods would start to look different. There would be more urban farms and parks and bike trails—things that connect us. In a mindful nation, the pressure would go down. There’d be more time off with your family, like it was for my grandparents.” Read the rest of Andrea Miller’s interview with Ryan here. And click here to browse the entire July 2012 magazine...

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Dalai Lama Taps Nicholas Vreeland, American Buddhist, To Bridge East And West At Rato Monastery In Southern India

Originally posted by Huffington Post.  The Dalai Lama has given Nicholas Vreeland, director of The Tibet Center in New York, a daunting new assignment. READ THIS!!, WOW!!!! The Dalai Lama has given Nicholas Vreeland (pictured here), director of The Tibet Center in New York, a daunting new assignment. On July 6, Vreeland will be enthroned as the new abbot of Rato Monastery in southern India, one of the most important monasteries in Tibetan Buddhism. He will be the first Westerner to hold such a position. RNS photo courtesy Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly NEW YORK (RNS) The Dalai Lama has given Nicholas Vreeland, director of The Tibet Center in New York, a daunting new assignment. On July 6, Vreeland will be enthroned as the new abbot of Rato Monastery in southern India, one of the most important monasteries in Tibetan Buddhism. He will be the first Westerner to hold such a position. In making the appointment, the Dalai Lama told Vreeland, “Your special duty (is) to bridge Tibetan tradition and (the) Western world.” “His Holiness wishes to bring Western ideas into the Tibetan Buddhist monastic system, and that comes from his recognition that it is essential … that there be new air brought into these institutions,” Vreeland told the PBS program “Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly.” For many observers, the choice of an American for the role may be a surprising one, and perhaps even more surprising given the background of this particular American. Vreeland had a privileged upbringing — the son of a U.S. diplomat and the grandson of Diana Vreeland, the legendary editor of Vogue magazine during the 1960s. When he first encountered Tibetan Buddhism in his 20s, he was working as a photographer in some of the industry’s top studios. “What is it about Tibetan Buddhism that interested me? I think that it’s this very linear, very carefully organized, path to enlightenment that I liked,” Vreeland said. Vreeland sees a linear progression in his own path into Buddhism. He was born in Switzerland and also lived in Germany and Morocco before his family returned to New York. They were Episcopalians and sent 13-year-old Nicky to a boys’ boarding school in Massachusetts. He was miserable there, until he discovered photography.  “I don’t know what it...

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Japanese Buddhists’ Increasing Involvement in Anti-Nuclear Activism

Originally posted by Buddhist Channel. What was different that stood out was…………. Yokohama, Japan — The massive, by Japanese standards, protest against the restart of the Oi nuclear reactors which took place Friday night (June 29) in downtown Tokyo in front of the parliament building and the official residence of the prime minister felt different, historic even, and perhaps a watershed in Japan’s now two decade struggle to find a new post-industrial social paradigm. Rev. Kobo Inoue leads the call “Against the Start Up”! What was different that stood out was: A marked increase in diversity of the participants Most of the demonstrations I have attended since April of 2011, shortly after the Fukushima incident happened, have been dominated by long time social activists over the age of 50, often representing labor groups but also including the wide variety of citizens groups that have arisen over the last 15 years in Japan. Demonstrations that have been held in the western parts of Tokyo near trendy centers of youth such as Shibuya, Harajuku and Shinjuku have often been well attended by the increasing numbers of furita/freeter.  These are young Japanese in their 20s and 30s who have dropped out of mainstream employment in companies and are developing various types of alternative lifestyles. Their numbers are estimated somewhere between 4 and 8 million people. However, within minutes of arriving at the protest site last Friday, I noticed a greater diversity, especially young working professionals who have generally kept quite a distance from previous demonstrations. Although less conspicuous, I also noticed for the first time at an anti-nuclear demonstration a university students group which was acting as a coalition of groups from different universities. While many university students did become involved in volunteer relief work in the tsunami affected areas, they have generally shown no interest in becoming involved in the nuclear issue. They have appeared not only fearful of endangering their job prospects by getting involved in civil disobedience but also completely out of touch and apathetic with social issues that go beyond their own interests in personal advancement. Real spontaneity and civil disobedience For foreigners, especially Europeans accustomed to taking the streets about social issues, participating in a demonstration in Japan feels like a shocking...

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Please Check Out My Article in the Special “Buddhist Chaplaincy” Issue of The Middle Way: Journal of the Buddhist Society from February 2012

Originally posted by Danny Fisher “Buddhist Chaplaincy,” and….. This has been quite a busy year for me so far, lemme tell ya. So it’s little wonder then that I hadn’t even noticed until today that an article I wrote for The Middle Way: Journal of the Buddhist Society was published back in February. It’s a special issue devoted to “Buddhist Chaplaincy,” and my contribution is a revised and expanded version of a paper I delivered to the Buddhist Critical-Constructive Reflection Group at the American Academy of Religion’s Annual Meeting in Chicago in 2008. It’s entitled “‘More Like This, Please’: On the Importance of Written Work about Buddhism and Chaplaincy,” and appears on pages 381-89 of volume 86, number 4 (the February 2012 issue). I was honored and touched to be asked to submit this piece by Dr. Desmond Biddulph, President of the The Buddhist Society, during his visit to University of the West (my home institution) some months back. Founded by Christmas Humphreys, the Buddhist Society is one of the oldest Buddhist groups in Europe, with an impressive history and track record of works. You can find out more about them (and the journal) here. Thank you for this opportunity, Buddhist Society! I hope the article is helpful to you and to...

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Japan must thoroughly re-examine nuclear energy policy

Originally posted by Buddhist Channel The myth about the safety of nuclear energy did not collapse with the Fukushima accident. It had already collapsed when nuclear plants were forced on isolated villages in various parts of Japan because……….   Tokyo, Japan — When I was a student, I was only interested in literature and the arts. Then in 1963, a friend took me to a peace march against nuclear weapons.  Officials in protective gear check for signs of radiation on children who are from the evacuation area near the Fukushima Daini nuclear plant in Koriyama, March 13, 2011. There I met a hibakusha (name given to surviving victims of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki) who had been exposed to radiation after the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. He had returned to Hiroshima from the war front and he told me about a poem he created in which he spoke about leaving for war prepared to die, only to return and be stricken by radiation sickness. He wrote in the poem that he had to hide his condition because of concerns about discrimination and prejudice toward those with illnesses caused by radiation. I was deeply moved by the internal conflict that he felt and became involved in the peace movement. The dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki came at the end of a war that was carried out as national policy. Last year, the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant came at the end of promoting nuclear energy that was also considered national policy. To me, those two occurrences overlap. Neither happened overnight. There is a need for a sense of history that allows us to reflect on why these two phenomena occurred. If a hasty resumption of operations at the Oi nuclear power plant is allowed, that could lead to a “second Fukushima” accident. Only after that happens will the people in the nuclear energy village finally give up on their policy of promoting nuclear energy. Many people have still not reached a point of making a clear decision to move away from nuclear energy. << Rev. Tetsuen Nakajima: One part of the ethics that is taught in Buddhism is to learn about the pain and suffering of...

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‘Serve humanity’, urges Dalai Lama

Originally posted byBuddhist Channel   London, UK — The Dalai Lama has urged religious people to work for the good of humanity and care for the environment in an address at Westminster Abbey. Easily Learn To Meditate  “Discover 3 New Ways How To Meditate Get Your Free Meditation Tracks!” (www.OmHarmonics.com/GetFreeAudio)   The Tibetan spiritual leader said it was important that religious faith was not confined to holy books or buildings but that it had an impact upon lives. “I think millions of people have a genuine sense of spirituality, we must work together to serve humanity,” he said.   “We now also have responsibility for the care of the planet. “I am quite sure that religions still have an important role to make a better humanity,” he added. The 76-year-old was addressing representatives from different religious groups and denominations including Anglican, Roman Catholic, Jewish, Sikh, and Hindu leaders at the event described as a service of prayer and reflection. The Dalai Lama, who shook hands with a row of schoolboys as he entered the abbey, was welcomed at the start of the service by the Dean of Westminster The Very Rev Dr John Hall. The service heard a reading from the Venerable Bogoda Seelawimala, head priest of the London Buddhist Vihara, and prayers read by Lord Singh of Wimbledon, representing the Sikh community and Anil Bhanot, of the Hindu faith. The service was part of an eight-day UK tour by the Dalai Lama to promote his message of non-violence, dialogue and universal responsibility. The address comes after the Dalai Lama’s official website said he met Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi privately on Tuesday. According to his website, he told her: “I have real admiration for your courage. I am very happy we’ve been able to meet.”    ...

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Buddhist Global Relief, Help on the Way: New Buddhist Global Relief Programs in the U.S. and Africa (Part I)

Ordinarily posted by Buddhist Global Relief. This year, BGR funds will support City Harvest’s Healthy Neighborhoods, an integrated series of interventions in some of the most food-insecure areas in the United States….. Buddhist Global Relief is pleased to announce new support for a number of programs to help combat the chronic problem of hunger in urban communities in the United States and childhood hunger in West Africa. City Harvest Healthy Neighborhoods Program, New York City, NY One of BGR’s newest partners, City Harvest, Inc. of New York City, responds to the urgent needs of thousands of hungry NYC residents. It meets the challenges of urban poverty with a remarkably creative range of services, such as the rescuing of 29 million pounds of food this past year that would otherwise have been discarded at restaurants and grocery stores, and delivering it free of charge to food pantries and soup kitchens. This year, BGR funds will support City Harvest’s Healthy Neighborhoods, an integrated series of interventions in some of the most food-insecure areas in the United States, including neighborhoods in the South Bronx and Bedford-Stuyvesant. We’ll support mobile “farmer’s markets” that will provide some 800,000 pounds of fresh, free produce directly to neighborhoods with more than 2,000 low-income households. Addressing the links between poor health and poor nutrition, these “mobile markets” are also used as hubs to provide additional services such as food stamp screenings and health education. Glide Sustainable Nutrition Program, San Francisco, California Located in the heart of San Francisco’s poverty-stricken Tenderloin district, the community group Glide has provided help to the homeless and hungry since 1969, when a dedicated group of community members gathered to offer a free potluck dinner to anyone in need of a meal. Since then, Glide has skillfully developed its Sustainable Nutrition Program that provides food and nutrition and wellness education. BGR is partnering with Glide this year to support this multi-pronged program. Our program funds will help provide three healthy meals each day to anyone in need, healthy meals and snacks for children in the local childcare center, workshops on family nutrition cooking, information on healthy food sources, youth classes in gardening, ecology and health, and visits to local farmers’ markets. Helen Keller International Child Feeding Program, Côte...

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From The Under 35 Project: “The social action of letting

Originally posted by Shambhala Sun The ability to sit, breathe and be still helped me realize just how ridiculous it all was. Here’s the latest from The Under 35 Project, by Laura Randeles. When I first moved to Washington, DC in November of 2009, I didn’t know what to expect. I had only visited briefly as a tourist with my parents a few months prior for the mandatory photos in front of monuments and landmarks. But a burning desire for a change of scenery inspired me to quit my jobs in family law and yoga teaching in Florida, pack all my belongings in two suitcases and buy a one-way ticket to live our Nation’s capital. It seemed like a cool city with a good vibe, plus my friend had an empty office nook I could crash in for a while. Adjusting to DC was challenging. I felt out of place in an environment where everyone was so accomplished and successful. In social situations, I stuck out like a sore thumb. I was the girl that went to a university no one had ever heard of, I didn’t graduate with honors, I spoke only two languages and my limited knowledge of politics was pretty embarrassing. While most of my new friends were off helping refugees, or drafting progressive legislation or finishing up their fourth advanced degree, I was a sitting in front of a computer reviewing documents as a temp with a forgettable law degree. DC was way out of my league. Not that I felt like a complete loser, but a general sense of being underqualified, inadequate and different.  Adding to my shortcomings was rarely meeting anyone who wasn’t fighting for a particular movement or taking a stand for a noteworthy cause in their spare time.  How did these people manage to do it all? In a city where everyone had a platform and a proud flag to wave, I found myself isolated and without much of a voice. I did what anyone struggling to fit in would do. I conformed. My new DC wardrobe consisted of black, gray and navy. I attended boring lectures for the sake of networking and looking smart. I suppressed my sense of humor in order to be serious...

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Two Buddhist Nobel Peace Prize winners in UK

Originally posted by Buddhist Channel. The monk and the lady: Two Buddhist Nobel Prize winners meet face to face. London, UK — By a quirk of coincidence, two Buddhist winners of the Nobel Peace Prize the Dalai Lama and Aung San Suu Kyi are in Britain at the same time, one spreading his spiritual message and the other on a homecoming of sorts after 24 years. The monk and the lady: Two Buddhist Nobel Prize winners meet face to face. It is not known if the two would meet on British soil, but this morning both were in academic environs London the Dalai Lama delivering the C R Parekh Lecture at the University of Westminster, and Suu Kyi at a seminar at the London School of Economics. Suu Kyi arrived here from Ireland on the second-last leg of her European tour (she will travel next to France before returning to Myanmar). This is the first time she is in Britain since 1988, when she left Oxford to look after her ailing mother in Myanmar, never to return, until today. Sceptics quipped that since the two Nobel Peace laureates were in the UK, they were in a good position to advise Prime Minister David Cameron and his government on how to prevent conflict and ensure peace amidst economic depression and job losses in the country. Controversy has dogged the visits of both: China reportedly objected to the Dalai Lama addressing a business convention in Leeds, where it has signed a 250,000 pounds contract with the city council to set up pre-Olympic training camp for its athletes. His address went ahead after the city council withdrew its involvement with the business convention, but not before China was accused of trying to pressurise the local council. China-UK ties have turned frosty since Prime Minister David Cameron and his deputy, Nick Clegg, met the Dalai Lama in London last month. Suu Kyi”s visit has been hit by accusations that Cameron had ”hijacked” her and was using her as a ”political shield”. Amidst her packed schedule, Suu Kyi will spend some time with Cameron in his constituency of Witney, and accompany him on a walk in the sylvan countryside. Suu Kyi”s schedule, drawn up by the Foreign Office, has...

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Auschwitz Bearing Witness Retreat Nov 5-9, 2012

Originally posted by Zenpeacemakers. Auschwitz Bearing Witness Retreat Nov 5-9, 2012 READ MORE/REGISTER Bernie Glassman and the Zen Peacemakers are returning for the 16th year to the old site of the concentration camps of Auschwitz-Birkenau, in Oświęcim, Poland, for a Bearing Witness Retreat in November 2012. Bernie Glassman began the annual Bearing Witness Retreats in 1996, with help from Eve Marko and Andzej Krajewski. They have taken place annually every year since. “I so connect with last year’s (2010) experience in Oswiecm [the original Polish name for Auschwitz], I so long to go again, at least part of me does.  My parents never went back to Poland and in some ways something about that feels like how I can align with them in a deep way, my yearning to go back.”–Estelle Hackermann, USA     Most of each day is spent sitting by the train tracks at Birkenau, both in silence and in chanting the names of the dead. There is time to walk through the vast camps, do vigils inside women’s and children’s barracks, and memorial services. Prayer Services from various religious traditions are offered daily. Participants meet daily in small Council groups designed to create a safe place for people to share their inner experiences. The whole group meets in the evenings to bear witness to oneness in diversity.   Auschwitz Bearing Witness Retreat Nov 5-9, 2012 READ MORE/REGISTER Just My Opinion, Man! ~Bernie Glassman   I have started a new webpage as a way to discuss issues that you, the reader, would like to discuss. I have started off with some questions that I frequently am asked. I will provide my thoughts on these questions, once per week. Please email me with questions you would like my opinions on and remember that the thoughts I have are just my opinions, man! What is Bearing Witness?  Read the answer here! Friend of Bernie today....

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Entering the Market Place: A Review of a Really Important New Book, “The Zen Leader” by Ginny Whitelaw

Originally posted by Sweeping Zen. “To the old man in the woods/who has nowhere to go/and to you/who are going somewhere.”   About a week ago, I had a really rough day at work with three events that left me limping home, thinking, “Gawd, I’ve gotta make some kind of inner shift!” As synchronicity would have it, there in the mail box was a new book for review, The Zen Leader: 10 Ways to go From Barely Managing to Leading Fearlessly, by Ginny Whitelaw. Fortunately, I was going for a week-long vacation to the Northeast the next day – sweet! Now I’m back and feeling really refreshed, thanks to a lovely time with my sweetie and some friends, old and new. And thanks too to Ginny’s book. Whitelaw is a successor to the Chozen-ji line of Rinzai Zen, a line I don’t know much about. Tanouye Roshi got it going in Hawaii and there is a branch in Chicago with a monastery that’s developing in Wisconsin. They don’t seem to have much of a web presence and they’re barely mentioned in Zen Master Who? Like I said in the title, this is a really important book and speaks very well for the Chozen-ji training, which appears to be a combination of zazen (koan?), martial arts, and brush work. Whitelaw was an astronaut candidate and NASA administrator and has been leading leadership training for about fifteen years. With The Zen Leader, she has made a major contribution in unpacking the most important insights in Zen and providing a way to practice them in the world. No kidding. Whitelaw’s dedication page has this nice verse: “to the old man in the woods/who has nowhere to go/and to you/who are going somewhere.” That says a lot. If you’re a hermit or attached to nonattachment, this book might not ring true. If you’re involved in leadership in the corporate world especially, but also in nonprofits or even Zen Centers, I wholeheartedly recommend this book and this way of work. I’ve read through once and am now going to go back and work through it all slowly. Beware, this isn’t a “just be mindful, keep a calm mind and follow the precepts” approach. Well, that’s hard enough … and one reason that...

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Saturday: Aung San Suu Kyi delivers 1991 Nobel Prize speech

Originally posted by Shambhala Sun. “Aung San Suu Kyi, awarded the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize for her non-violent struggle for democracy and human rights.”  Watch the lecture live, see link below.. Via NobelPrize.org: “Aung San Suu Kyi, awarded the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize for her non-violent struggle for democracy and human rights, is finally coming to Oslo, Norway, to deliver her Nobel Lecture.  […] Suu Kyi was under house arrest and unable to collect the award in Norway 1991. The Nobel Lecture will be delivered on Saturday 16 June 2012, at 1.00 p.m.” Watch the lecture live at Nobelprize.org. This entry was created by Rod Meade Sperry, posted on June 16, 2012 at 9:16 am and tagged Activism, Burma, Leadership, Politics, Video. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.  ...

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Mindfulness for Military Vets

Originally posted by Jizo Chronicles. “Suicides Outpacing War Deaths for Troops,”   Maxine Hong Kingston, author of “The Woman Warrior” On a day when the New York Times headline story is  “Suicides Outpacing War Deaths for Troops,” I wanted to call your attention to some good work going on with returning combat veterans. To be clear — I want to see the day when military action becomes entirely replaced by skillful and persistent diplomatic efforts, and when the U.S. as a whole (government and citizens) is able to look deeply at the root causes and conditions of war and understand our place in that karma. Until that day comes, we have vets coming home who are wounded physically and emotionally. Here are a few contemplative and mindfulness-based initiatives that I’m aware of that are serving this community (one of which is time-sensitive, with a retreat coming up this July). If you know of more, please share them in the comments below. July 6 – 11: Writing & Meditation Retreat for Veterans and Their Families. Led by Maxine Hong Kingston with Therese Fitzgerald. Takes place at Ala Kukui, a spiritual center in Hana, Maui (Hawaii). For more info, see http://www.alakukui.org/veterans-retreat-July2012.html  “The Coming Home Project” is a non-profit organization founded by Dr. Joseph Bobrow, Roshi, a Zen teacher. The project, begun in 2006, is devoted to providing expert, compassionate care, support, education, and stress management tools for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, service members, their families, and their service providers. Visit their website to find out more about their services. The Buddhist Military Sangha is a nonpolitical and nonsectarian forum for Buddhists serving in the US Armed Forces. This website includes quite an extensive collection of links on pastoral care, mental health, and re-entry/readjustment websites. Honoring the Path of the Warrior is a program sponsored by the San Francisco Zen Center, that has been assisting post-9/11 and Persian Gulf veterans in making a positive transition from military to civilian life since 2007. Finally, here’s a moving account from the Shambhala Sun website on how meditation has helped one vet to work with his mental health...

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National Media Asks If Diamond Mountain Is a Cult

Originally posted by About.Com I myself have no comment, i studied his teachings before i came to Zen. They are no Cult!! If you missed last night’s Nightline on ABC television, you can watch the segment on Ian Thorson’s death online. The word “cult” crops up frequently. ABC News stops short of calling Diamond Mountain a cult, but the innuendo is laid on pretty thick. Since I don’t know anyone involved in Michael Roach’s group personally I’m refraining from using the C word myself, but at the moment I have no quarrel with others who use it. My biggest concern is that this could be a black eye for all Buddhism in the West. The bright light of media attention now turned on Michael Roach and his followers may — probably, I would say — be short lived. Or, if more newsworthy information comes to light, this may be just the beginning of media scrutiny. Right now I have just a few observations. First, one hears a lot of griping about organized religion. It’s said that religious institutions inevitably become corrupt and stodgy and self-protecting, and true spirituality can be found only outside of them. Yes, religious institutions do become corrupt and stodgy and self-protecting. This is true of Buddhist institutions also.  But that doesn’t mean that what you find outside the institutions necessarily is any better. In my lifetime the really destructive cults that turn up in the news generally involve some charismatic leader who is not part of any established religious institution.  Someone may be able to think of some  modern-era exceptions. But generally the leader is someone who has either dissociated himself from an institution or never belonged to one to begin with. For example, David Koresh was “dis-fellowshipped” from the Seventh-Day Adventist church. Jim Jones had been ordained in the Christian Church/Disciples of Christ, which I understand to be a mainline Protestant organization, but for several years Jones operated on his own, with no church supervision. Shoko Asahara of Aum Shinrikyo was strictly freelance from the beginning of his guru career. Michael Roach appears to be following that pattern, although the degree to which his organization is or isn’t cult-like, I do not know. Long-established religious institutions may tend to...

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The cultivation of Buddhist Ethics

Originally posted by Buddhist Channel. London, UK — We are fortunate as Buddhists to have such a well developed ethical system in place which promotes the cultivation of such a positive and rewarding outlook and the ability to respond with such clarity and measure to difficulties that may arise both in our practice and situations that may arise in every day life. I would like to touch upon what I believe are the advantages of the Buddhist ethical standard over secular viewpoints but first I want to make a brief comment about translation relating to our ethical guidelines. I noticed this recently when I was thumbing through an older translation of the Anguttara Nikaya, and it struck me how someone new to the practice might, if they were reading one of these earlier texts misinterpret the meaning based on their westernised understanding of the work.  Personally speaking I prefer in many instances the older copies of the canon in English but I have the advantage of having many years of study behind me relating to the texts, as such I am not prone (although admittedly, not immune) to the occasional ‘blunder’ when it comes to reading the works.   As far as the differences in style go the newer translations on the whole appear to be much more stylised, but this tends to make them more accessible, and as a consequence, more readable.  In contrast the antiquated language of some of the older transcriptions seems to appear ‘stuffy’ and long-winded.  I think in the interests of balance though we can say that the early texts were pioneers, without which Pali language resource would still be in its infancy.  Some of the early translators themselves acknowledge such difficulties. I.B. Horner in the introduction to his 1938 edition of the Sutta Vibhanga (Published by the Pali Text Society as the Book of the Discipline Volume 1) notes that when revising his own work he made significant changes to the way he translated certain words.  I think these pioneers of the Pali texts were, as were many translator of their time, more inclined to put a philological spin onto words that may have been difficult, that is to say, they were more inclined to put words into...

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In Occupied Tibetan Monastery, a Reason for Fiery Deaths

Originally posted by Buddhist Channel. One of the biggest waves of self-immolations in modern history. DHARAMSALA, India — One young Tibetan monk walked down a street kicking Chinese military vehicles, then left a suicide note condemning an official ban on a religious ceremony. Another smiled often, and preferred to talk about Buddhism rather than politics. A third man, a former monk, liked herding animals with nomads. All had worn the crimson robes of Kirti Monastery, a venerable institution of learning ringed by mountains on the eastern edge of the Tibetan plateau. All set themselves on fire to protest Chinese rule. Two died. At least 38 Tibetans have set fire to themselves since 2009, and 29 have died, according to the International Campaign for Tibet, an advocacy group in Washington. The 2,000 or so monks of Kirti Monastery in Sichuan Province have been at the center of the movement, one of the biggest waves of self-immolations in modern history. The acts evoke the self-immolations in the early 1960s by Buddhist monks in South Vietnam to protest the corrupt government in Saigon. Twenty-five of the self-immolators came from Ngaba, the county that includes Kirti; 15 were young monks or former monks from Kirti, and two were nuns from Mame Dechen Chokorling Nunnery. Chinese paramilitary units are now posted on every block of the town of Ngaba, and Kirti is under lockdown. Journalists are barred from entering the monastery, which has made the question of how Kirti became the volcanic heart of this eruption of self-immolations something of a mystery. But monks and laypeople from Ngaba who have fled across the Himalayas to this Indian hill town said that Kirti had been radicalized in the last four years by an occupation of the monastery that amounted to one of the harshest crackdowns in Tibet. Chinese security measures have converted the white-walled monastery, with its temples and dormitories and rows of prayer wheels, into a de facto prison, which has fueled the anger that the measures are aimed at containing. After a five-week lull, the self-immolations picked up again last week. On May 27, two men in Lhasa, the Tibetan capital, set fire to themselves outside the Jokhang Temple, the holiest in Tibetan Buddhism. It was the first...

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Religious leaders call on higher power against nuclear reactor restart

Originally posted by Buddhist Channe. “We want to think together about how to create a prefecture that does not depend on nuclear power,” said Buddhist monk Tetsuen Nakajima. l FUKUI, Japan — Religious leaders from Buddhism, Christianity and other faiths are calling on a higher authority as they join the campaign against the restart of two idled reactors at the Oi nuclear power plant, operated by Kansai Electric Power Co. Buddhist monk Tetsuen Nakajima submitting the petition to Mikio Iwanaga, a Fukui prefectural government official They submitted a petition to Fukui Governor Issei Nishikawa asking him not to agree to the restart, which the Noda administration is pushing for before midsummer. On May 30, about 100 members from the Interfaith Forum for Review of National Nuclear Policy gathered in the prefectural government office in Fukui. “We want to think together about how to create a prefecture that does not depend on nuclear power,” said Buddhist monk Tetsuen Nakajima, who is serving as the chief priest of Myotsuji temple in Obama, Fukui Prefecture. Mikio Iwanaga, a Fukui prefectural government official who accepted the petition, said, “We want to ask the central government to ensure safety at nuclear power plants.”   In the petition, the leaders criticized government leaders for only thinking about jobs, the need for electricity and safety from a technological aspect as they seek to restart the reactors. They also demanded that the Fukui prefectural government share some of the hardships resulting from the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant and awaken to the “stupidity” of the operation of nuclear reactors, which is conducted even knowing that residents and workers will be exposed to radiation. One of the 100 religious leaders was Tokuun Tanaka, 37, a priest at Dokeiji temple in Minami-Soma, Fukushima Prefecture, who evacuated to Sakai in Fukui Prefecture after the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in March 2011. Tanaka evacuated to Fukui Prefecture along with his wife and four young children as he had previously received his ascetic training in Eiheiji temple in Eiheiji, also in Fukui Prefecture. Since coming to Fukui Prefecture, he has often returned to Fukushima Prefecture where many of his Dokeiji temple’s parishioners are still residing. He has talked...

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China Forbids International Tourism to Tibet Indefinitely

Originally posted by abc-news-topstories Chinese authorities alerted foreign travel agencies Tuesday that they would no longer be issuing entry permits to Tibet. Audrey Wozniak and Gloria Riviera report: BEIJING – In a matter of days, the number of expected foreign visitors to Tibet has gone from millions to zero. Chinese authorities alerted foreign travel agencies Tuesday that they would no longer be issuing entry permits to Tibet, the latest in a series of regulations being put on travelers to Tibet. The announcement follows the self-immolation of two Tibetans last week. Tibet is no stranger to Chinese interference in its tourism industry. Tibet’s failed rebellion in March 1959 and the event’s annual memorial on National Uprising Day has chronically put the region at odds with the People’s Republic of China. In 2008, protests after National Uprising Day turned into riots that were met with violence by PRC forces. The Chinese government temporarily closed Tibet to foreign visitors. That is a now-annual practice in March, and during other national events significant to the Chinese government. Now, many are saying that the latest in a string of Tibetan self-immolations led to the country’s shutdown to outsiders. According to Free Tibet, a campaign promoting Tibetan independence from China, there have been more than 30 self-immolations since March 2011. Most recently, on May 27, 2012 two Tibetans were the first to set themselves on fire in Lhasa, Tibet’s tightly-controlled administrative capital. The shutdown also coincides with the Saga Dawa festival, which celebrates the Buddha’s birth and draws many Buddhists to Tibet. This year, the festival began on June 4, which is also the anniversary of the Chinese government crackdown on the Tiananmen Square protests. While many tourism agencies have learned to adapt and predict the trends on tourism bans, this closure comes as something of a shock. According to Nellie Connelly, marketing director of WildChina, a prominent travel company that regularly coordinates trips to Tibet, Chinese authorities informed the company in mid-May that travelers would only be allowed to visit Tibet in groups of five people of the same nationality. Last week, the government stopped issuing entry permits to Tibet altogether.  Connelly is in the process of rerouting customers whose Tibetan vacations are affected by the new ban. Only...

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James Daikan Bastien interview

Originally posted by Sweeping Zen. Daikan began training with Zen Master Soeng Hyang in the Kwan Um School of Zen  where he trained for the next 10 years while administering human service organizations…. James Daikan Bastien began his Zen training under the direction of senior monastic students of Dainin Katagiri Roshi at the Nebraska Zen Center in Omaha, Nebraska in 1979. In 1990, Daikan began training with Zen Master Soeng Hyang in the Kwan Um School of Zen where he trained for the next 10 years while administering human service organizations in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. In 2005, he was asked to serve as President of the Zen Peacemakers organization while doing “work practice” with Roshi Bernie Glassman from whom he received Dharma Transmission in March of 2011. Daikan was also given transmission as a Lay Preceptor in the Zen Peacemaker Order by Roshi Eve Myonen Markoin August of 2011. Daikan’s practice centers on the provision of dharma informed human services which he has implemented across a diverse number of human service settings including group homes, foster homes, residential treatment centers, residential schools, child and adult psychiatric hospitals and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Websites: http://www.howlingdragon.org/ http://www.zenpeacemakers.com/ Thanks to Janet Pal for he excellent transcription help! Transcript SZ: How did you get involved with Zen practice? What was going on in your life at the time? JB:  I think my first encounter with Zen was when I was in college back in the 1970s while living in Massachusetts. I took a class in comparative religion and during the class I read a book by D.T. Suzuki; that got me interested initially. About six months later, I took up the practice of transcendental meditation (TM). It was popular at that time. My experience of the effects of meditation motivated me to continue a regular meditation practice. Then I moved to Nebraska. I had been sitting by myself and thought it would be interesting to sit with other people. I got out the phone book for Omaha, which is where I was living, and went to the last page where I found a listing under ‘Zen Center’. I dialed the number and reached the Nebraska Zen Center. It is a satellite group of the Minnesota Zen...

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From the Under 35 Project: Heart on Fire

Originally posted by Shambhala SunSpace. I came to Zen in the tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh with my heart on fire           Here’s the latest installment in the Under 35 Project, “Heart on Fire” by Brian Otto Kimmel. It’s the first post about the project’s theme for June, Social Action. Finding Zen          I came to Zen in the tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh with my heart on fire. I came without knowing I was in need of inspiration. I came without recognizing the sufferings in my life as unnecessary burdens. I was a survivor of sexual child abuse; a queer teen coming out; a singer-songwriter, pianist and accompanist for local choirs and bands; and an activist for causes important to my community—the protection of forests, clean water and an absence of bullying at elementary schools which I was victim. I had a momentary glimpse of freedom the first time I sat, my eyes closed and butt cushioned by a tuft of moss underneath a cherry tree in my Dad’s front yard. I was inspired to sit after reading the first few pages of Thich Nhat Hanh’s Being Peace. A classmate at the community college I attended for high school credit introduced me. For a few small seconds as I sat under the cherry tree I was aware of having no burdens, no obtrusive thoughts, no catastrophic emotional meltdowns, no worries, and no concerns. For a moment I was being peace. That one moment inspired me to return. Returning to the cushion, to my freedom seat, did not come naturally at first and it did not always feel enlightening.  Deeper Peace and Courage to Stay For a period of time after high school I attempted to sit every day, once a day, in a small nook in my studio apartment I designated as a breathing room. At the time I was only looking for peace. I did not understand that practice, sitting and the like, was about more than peace. Practice was also about liberation and the peace that comes from liberation—a deeper peace. In the first few years of learning Zen mindfulness meditation I would find a seat, close my eyes and focus on my breath. When I felt discomfort...

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26th World Fellowship of Buddhist Conference to discuss theme on “Solving Social Issues with Dharma”

Originally posted by Buddhist Channel. General Conference to be held at Yeosu International Expo from the 11 to 16 June B.E. 2012 (B.E. 2556) in Yeosu City, Korea. Seoul, South Korea — The 2012 World Fellowship of Buddhist Conference will be held in Korea, and hosted by the Jogye Order. The decision came during the 25th WFB Conference on November 13 in Colombo, Sri Lanka.  The 26th World Fellowship of Buddhist Conference will be organized by the Jogye Order and the Jogye Order’s Central Council of the Laity. The 26th World Fellowship of Buddhist Conference, 17th WFBY, and 9th WBU Conference. This General Conference will take place during the 2012 Yeosu International Expo from the 11 to 16 June B.E. 2012 (B.E. 2556) in Yeosu City, Korea. The representatives from the various regional centers all over the world will participate and the 6th District Temple of the Jeonam North and South Province of the Jogye Order will take the central role in preparation of the event. Jogye Order plans to make strong efforts in seeing the conference to be successful. In this way, the success can be carried over to the 2013 World Religious Leaders Conference, also hosted by the Jogye Order. Director of Social Affairs Ven. Hyegyeong said, “The reason for coinciding the conference with the expo and the Lotus Lantern Festival is that it would be a good way to show the world the beauty and richness of Korean Buddhist tradition and to promote Korean Buddhism. We will have a tentative six-day visit plan with half the time spent in Yeosu City and the conference, and the other days to see the Lotus Lantern Festival”. Korea hosted the 17th World Fellowship of Buddhist Conference in 1990 in Seoul. Now the conference returns after 22 years. The opportunity to host the WFB conference will be a chance to showcase the excellence of Korean Buddhism and share with the world Korean Buddhist cultural treasures such as templestay, temple food, and the Lotus Lantern Festival. The World Fellowship of Buddhist Conference first began in May of 1950 in Sri Lanka as Buddhist representatives from 27 countries met to transcend sectarian barriers. This year marks the 60 year anniversary. Now, 153 WFB branches in 40 countries...

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Journeys to the Field, September 20-26, 2012

                                                                       Journeys to the Field Experience what Bernie Glassman is doing around the world to wage peace and build hope. Join him and an intimate group (at most 5) of supporters in making children laugh, feeding the hungry, promoting love not hate and bringing peace instead of war. Participate in this unique way of studying with Bernie while providing service to those in need. Rwanda September 20-26, 2012 “Humanity’s darkest side is extraordinarily fresh in the raw memories of Rwanda’s survivors – and killers.  It is incredible that they can all live together.  Their path of forgiveness and reconciliation demonstrates humanity’s hope.” quote by Grant Couch, participant of Bearing Witness Retreat in Rwanda     The Rwanda Genocide was one of worst genocides to occur in the 20th century. Taking place in 1994, hundreds of thousands of Tutsis (a Rwandan ethnic class) were killed in the small African country of Rwanda. bWe will bear witness to the horror and tragic impact of the Rwandan Genocide as well as the current state of healing and reconciliation efforts in Rwanda. Grounded in our Three Peacemaker Tenets – not knowing, bearing witness and loving action – we will offer means for bearing witness to the realities and aftermath of genocide in ways that lead to healing, reconciliation, community-building and ultimately genocide and violence prevention. Bernie and the group will be hosted by Dora Urujeni  and Issa Higiro and will in turn assist in their projects in Rwanda which include Memos: Learning From History.   LEARN MORE ABOUT THE  SEPTEMBER JOURNEY TO RWANDA/REGISTER Upcoming Bearing Witness Retreats July 20-22, 2012 Streets of the Bowery in NY   Nov 5-9, 2012...

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From the May 2012 magazine: Sister Chan Khong’s path of peace

Originally posted by Shambhala SunSpace. “But, in fact, at the same time you stop the war outside, you have to stop the war inside yourself.” Sister Chan Khong is best known as Thich Nhat Hanh’s closest collaborator, but she’s also a dedicated activist and gifted teacher in her own right. Andrea Miller profiled her in the May 2012 Shambhala Sun magazine, and the entire piece is now online here.  “People think that engaged Buddhism is only social work, only stopping the war,” Chan Khong says. “But, in fact, at the same time you stop the war outside, you have to stop the war inside yourself.” Over her lifetime, Sister Chan Khong has learned the importance of not making peace, but rather being peace, being understanding, being love—and to embody this way of being twenty four hours a day. The key, she tells the Shambhala Sun, is to practice mindfulness. “When your body and mind are not one, you do not see deeply,” she says. Read the rest of “Path of Peace: The Life and Teachings of Sister Chan Khong” here. And browse our entire May 2012 issue online here. This entry was created by Sun Staff, posted on May 31, 2012 at 9:59 am and tagged Activism, In the magazine, Teachings, Vietnam, Zen. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this...

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Anzan’s Ordination

Originally posted by The Zen Buddhism Group, Anzan’s Ordination In Times Of Need, We all have been there.  Written by Garrett Bradbury   In the not-so-distant future, I’m to be ordained as a Zen Buddhist monk. This is an important commitment for me. I don’t ask that others try to understand the whys and wherefores of my actions, I just ask that my friends and family help me obtain the garments required of a monk. I will be making a portion of my garb by hand, but the remainder will have to be purchased. The cost of the robes is beyond what I can readily contribute, so I ask that you please click on the donate button and contribute whatever amount you see fit. Your help is most appreciated. Please follow the link to help in this cause:...

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Congressman Tim Ryan headlining Holistic Life Foundation benefit June 16

Originally posted by Shambhala SunSpace. Bringing yoga, meditation, and mindfulness training to disadvantaged kids. We’ve written before about the Holistic Life Foundation, a fantastic nonprofit that brings yoga, meditation and mindfulness training to disadvantaged kids in Baltimore. HLF is hosting a benefit on Saturday, June 16 at Baltimore’s Metro Galleryto raise money for its programs. Tim Ryan, Ohio congressman and the author of A Mindful Nation — and the subject of a Q&A in the July 2012 Shambhala Sun Magazine — will be the keynote speaker, with a reception following his speech. Prints from J. T. Liss (Photography for Social Change) will be on sale at the event, with 25 percent of proceeds going to The Bringing Holistic Life Foundation. Tickets for the evening are $30 and are available here. Founded by brothers Ali and Atman Smith and their friend Andy Gonzalez, HLF provides yoga, meditation and mindfulness instruction, mentoring and other programs for children and youth from impoverished neighborhoods. After bringing programs into public schools in Baltimore, students showed improvement in their responses to stress. To see some of the kids speak for themselves about what meditation has done for them, check out this video. And coming up next Monday, June 4, Ryan will be speaking at another fundraiser, this one for the InsightLA meditation and teaching center in Santa Monica, California. More information about that event is available here. This entry was created by Sun Staff, posted on May 29, 2012 at 9:15 am and tagged Activism, Events, In the magazine, Meditation, Mindfulness, Politics, Yoga & Bodywork. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this...

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Help Me Be a “Burma Champion”

Originally posted by Danny Fisher.  Ensure that the voices of the people of Burma get amplified and addressed on a global level. Every June the U.S. Campaign for Burma, an organization I support, asks its members to host fundraising events to help “ensure that the voices of the people of Burma get amplified and addressed on a global level.” I have never done this before…until now! Please consider contributing to my fundraising campaign, which will ultimately lead to an event here in Los Angeles. To find out more about what I’ve got planned (and to donate), just follow this...

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INEB Public Statement : Protect Jeju Island, South Korea‏

From: INEB Secretariat <[email protected]   The International Network of Engaged Buddhists A Plea to the Buddhists Worldwide! Please help protect the Peace of Gangjung Village on Jeju Island, South Korea by stopping the village from being a military base March 25, 2012 We, the International Network of Engaged Buddhists (INEB), along with other Buddhists in the world who practice the Buddha’s golden teaching against any killing, demand in unity to immediately discontinue the destruction at Gurumbi Rocks in the Gangjung Village of Jeju, South Korea, and the indiscreet administrative moves to build a naval base that started on March 19th 2012. The Gurumbi Rocks of Gangjung Village on South Korea’s southernmost island of Jeju are volcanic rocks in a unique coastal region. They form an exceptional rocky swamp where fresh water comes from deep inside the volcanic mountain island. Housing numerous rare species, the area has been renowned worldwide for its supreme ecological value, and thus has won the triple crown of the world’s three most prestigious titles endowed by UNESCO and one more space: a World Natural Heritage, a World Geological Park, and a Human and Biosphere Reserve. It was also designated in 2004 as an Absolute Preservation Zone, a title given to the area with the most extraordinary scenic beauty on Jeju Island. However, the South Korean government has decided to build a naval base in this highly prized ecological region, ignoring due procedures such as residential agreements and mandatory environmental analysis, while also illegitimately depriving the region of the pretigous title of Absolute Preservation Zone. Moreover, when 94% of the residents resisted having the naval base built in the area, the government forcefully expropriated their land and started construction with blasting on March 19th. During the process, the government broke up the residential community, disrupted peaceful family gatherings, and arrested hundreds of dissidents indiscriminately. What is more shocking about the Lee Myungbak Administration is that they have not given a second thought to using violent measures to stop non-violent peace activists from supporting residential efforts to preserve this area. The naval base, which is being thrust upon the people under the pretext that it is a military base against China’s advancement, cannot help but become an outpost of the United States...

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Just My Opinion, Man!

  Socially Engaged Buddhism around the World   Auschwitz Bearing Witness Retreat Nov 5-9, 2012 Deutsch: Zeugin-Ablegen-Retreat in Auschwitz-Birgenau       Street Retreat July 20-22, 2012 Just My Opinion, Man! A Dialogue with Bernie Glassman I have started this webpage as a way to discuss issues, you, the reader, would like to discuss. I have added some questions that I frequently am asked. I will provide my thoughts on these questions,as frequently as I can. Please email me with questions you would like my opinions on and remember that the thoughts I have are just my opinions, man! By linking below you can read my opinions on the items listed. About the Zen Peacemakers Three Tenets of the Zen Peacemakers Not-Knowing Bearing Witness Loving Actions Zen Peacemakers Affiliates (Who and Where They Are Bernie’s Zen Teachers and Dharma Successors     Deutsch: Nur Meine Meinung, Leute!...

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over $300,000at this year’s Greyston Annual Benefit.

Originally posted by Buddhadarma Over $300,000 raised at this year’s Greyston Annual Benefit. The Greyston Foundation — the Yonkers, NY-based “entrepreneurial and spiritually grounded not-for-profit organization” that began with Bernie Glassman and the Zen Peacemakers’ Greyston Bakery — raised over $300,000 at this year’s Greyston Annual Benefit. All of the funds raised will support the organization’s community development efforts, which are aimed at “achieving personal and community transformation.” Among other things, the Greyston Foundation provides jobs, affordable housing, medical and holistic care for HIV patients, child care, life skills and environmental education for children and teenagers, and employment and training for the homeless and previously incarcerated. The event, held at X2O Xaviars on the Hudson in Yonkers, honored Carl E. Petrillo, president and CEO of Yonkers Contracting, for “his dedication to Greyston Foundation.” Bernie Glassman presented Christopher Davis with the first-ever Bernie Glassman Award, which was given in recognition of “achievement in Davis’ personal growth and movement along his path toward self-sufficiency.” You can read more about the benefit...

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Naropa University names Charles G. Lief its new president

Originally posted by Shambhala Sun. Lief’s distinguished career as a nonprofit CEO Boulder, Colorado’s Naropa University, the contemplative university that was founded as Naropa Institute by Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, has announced Charles G. “Chuck” Lief as its new president. Along with the video, in which Lief discusses staying true to Naropa’s roots, the University has issued the following press release, which serves as a bio for Lief and gives an overview of the process behind his appointment. To watch the video please follow the link: http://youtu.be/YOg_AsOColE Naropa University’s press release: Naropa University (NU) is pleased to announce the appointment of Charles G. Lief, lawyer, social entrepreneur, nonprofit executive, and current board chair of Naropa University, as president of Naropa University, starting in August 2012. Charles G. Lief has been an active part of the Naropa community for 39 years, having participated in some of the earliest discussions that culminated in the creation of the Naropa Institute in 1974. An early North American student of Naropa’s founder, the Venerable Chögyam Trungpa, Rinpoche, he was an original member of the Nalanda Foundation board of directors (Naropa’s nonprofit home for its first decade). He has been a member of the board of trustees since its formation in 1986. Lief was elected as chair of the board of Trustees in May, 2011. Lief’s distinguished career as a nonprofit CEO, low and mixed income housing developer, and attorney, as well as his extensive background in businesses contributing to social and community health, and his nearly 40 years of experience working with Naropa University and its distinctive commitment to contemplative education, were all deciding factors in the Naropa board’s decision to elect him as university president. “Chuck’s enduring relationship with Naropa is inherently connected to Naropa’s founder and the school’s foundation, as well as Naropa’s future,” says Martin Janowitz, acting Naropa board chair. “During his time as Chair, he maintained a clear focus and steady hand, and during his many years of board service including more than a decade chairing the board’s finance committee, he played a leading role in moving the university in the direction of flourishing academic, strategic, and financial strength. Naropa University will benefit greatly from his broad experience in nonprofit and business management, law, social entrepreneurship,...

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Bernie’s Opinion on: What is Enlightenment?

The word Buddha means the Awakened One. Awaken to what? My opinion is that we awaken to the Oneness of Life, the One Body. That is my opinion of enlightenment. This awakening keeps deepening and deepening. What do I mean by deepening? Most of us are enlightened to the Oneness of our own body. I think that my arms, my legs, my face, etc. are all part of One Body. In fact I generally act according to that opinion without thinking about it. It is very natural to do so and, in fact, if I didn’t act that way, people might say I am deluded. Kōbō-Daishi (774–835, founder of Shingon Sect) said that we can tell the depth of a person’s enlightenment by how they serve others. If they are focused on themselves, they have awakened to the Oneness of themselves. If they are focused on their family, they have awakened to the Oneness of their family. If they are focused on their nation, they have awakened to the Oneness of their nation, etc., etc. In my opinion, the Dalai Lama has awakened to the Oneness of the Universe. …………………………………………………………………………….. From Deb Pond: I have a lot of questions about what it means to be clear-minded. -What does it mean to be “already” awake, if we do not seem to be experiencing it now?,,, Believing we are already awake, when we do not know we are experiencing it – is this just a concept? -I have heard about the “great functioning” as a being in tune with the environment and relating to it harmoniously – but not necessarily realizing one is doing so. Please clarify the great functioning. -Please clarify delusion and how it is different from awakening. -What sort of wakefulness exists in a coma? In the sleep state? My opinion: As you can see from my opinion on “What is Enlightenment”, we are “already” awake to the level that we are awake. There are many levels of enlightenment. This is not a concept, although I am confident there are many concepts out there about enlightenment and my opinion is just my opinion. For me, the great functioning is the functioning due to our level of awakening and it should be ovious to...

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Dharma of Food Justice: Call For Submissions! | Turning Wheel Media

Originally posted byJizo Chronicles.   See on Scoop.it – Socially Engaged Buddhism                             For the month of July at Turning Wheel Media, help us highlight issues of food justice! Submit your prose, poetry, photographs, interviews, video, audio, and multi-media work by June 15th… See on www.turningwheelmedia.org...

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Turning Wheel Media: Call for submissions

Originally posted by Buddhadharma.   Issues of food justice in the upcoming month of July Turning Wheel Media, published by the Buddhist Peace Fellowship, will be highlighting issues of food justice in the upcoming month of July. In a call for submissions published at their website today, Turning Wheel wants readers to submit their own “prose, poetry, photographs, interviews, video, audio, and multimedia work” by June 15, 2012, for possible inclusion in the publication. According to their website, Turning Wheel welcomes “submissions from Buddhist, spiritual, and secular perspectives, though we will usually prioritize work grounded in Buddhadharma. We will also prioritize work with strong analysis of racism, gender and sexuality justice, ableism, capitalism / class war, and internationalism.” You can read Turning Wheel’s submission guidelines here. Send your submissions to...

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Trying to get citizens engaged in our democracy

Originally posted by No Impact Man. Since the professional politicians aren’t being professional, it’s time for citizens to occupy politics. You may know that I’m running for Congress. In addition to the limited, old-fashioned goal of running a campaign merely to get elected, our campaign has three main non-electoral goals: 1. Bringing the conversation about the true nature of our planetary and economic crises into politics and disenfranchised communities. 2. Massive citizen engagement. 3. Modeling to the entire world community citizen occupation of politics (you should run, too!). For these reasons, as part of the campaign, we are today launching a massive voter registration drive with the goal of getting 5,000 more people to vote in the coming Congressional election in our district no matter which party they might vote for (only 114,000 voted last time). The first event in the drive will take place from 1PM to 5PM in four locations in Brooklyn. If you happen to live in Brooklyn, we need lots of volunteers. Please sign up here: http://bit.ly/JoT49A. You can read more about the voter registration drive here. Meanwhile, since the professional politicians aren’t being professional, it’s time for citizens to occupy politics. There are many elections taking place in the United States between now and November. What are you going to run...

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Human rights group criticizes detention of Cambodian Buddhist monk

Originally posted by Shambhala Sun Cambodian Buddhist monk, “unjustifiedly”, detained! Photo via dannyfisher.org An official speaking for Cambodian human rights group Licadho has called the arrest of Ven. Loun Savath, a human rights activist and Cambodian Buddhist monk, “unjustified.” Savath was detained for taking photographs of protesters and forced into a Land Cruiser by other monks, police, and plainclothes officers outside a Phnom Penh courthouse. More than 60 protesters were gathered outside the court, calling for the release of 13 Boeung Kak women inside. Savath was banned last year from all pagodas in Phnom Penh by the Supreme Patriarch Nun Nget. “All of us believe that there’s absolutely no basis for them to hold venerable Loun Savath, he did nothing, he was just standing there,” said the Licadho official. More than 60 protesters were gathered outside the court, calling for the release of 13 Boeung Kak women inside. Savath was banned last year from all pagodas in Phnom Penh by the Supreme Patriarch Nun Nget. “All of us believe that there’s absolutely no basis for them to hold venerable Loun Savath, he did nothing, he was just standing there,” said the Licadho official.  ...

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Do Buddhas Cry?

Originally posted by The Zen Peacemakers  Thich Nhat Hanh’s biography of the Buddha, Old Path White Clouds, didn’t quite jive with my understanding of my Buddhist practice with regards to death:   Enter a new era of peacemaking Same inspiration, new website, new approach Auschwitz Bearing Witness Retreat Nov 5-9, 2012   Do Buddhas Cry? By Ari Setsudo Pliskin Cartoon by Greg Perry Today’s article reflects themes that I explored in Was the Buddha a Social Activist?—almost two years ago.  Zen Peacemakers January pilgrimage in the Buddha’s footsteps to India and Bernie’s teachings reignited in me reflections on the role of the founder of Buddhism in my Buddhist practice. READ FULL ARTICLE.  The Buddha says, Don’t Cry. The Buddha’s response to his father’s death as portrayed in Thich Nhat Hanh’s biography of the Buddha, Old Path White Clouds, didn’t quite jive with my understanding of my Buddhist practice with regards to death: The king smiled weakly, but his eyes radiated peace. He closed his eyes and passed from this life. Queen Gotmai and Yasodhara began to cry. The ministers sobbed in grief. The Buddha folded the king’s hands on his chest and then motioned for everyone to stop crying. He told them to follow their breathing… [At the funeral, the Buddha said] “A person who has attained the Way looks on birth, old age, sickness and death with equanimity.” Becoming Suffering This seems different from what my teachers teach.  From What is Bearing Witness? by Bernie Glassman: It is the role of the Bodhisattva to bear witness. The Buddha can stay in the realm of not-knowing, the ream of blissful non-attachment. The Bodhisattva vows to save the world, and therefore to live in the world of attachment, for that is also the world of empathy, passion, and compassion. At a workshop at Rowe Camp, a participant once asked Bernie if he cries…  ...

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Socially Engaged Buddhism… Bits and Pieces

Originally posted by Jizo Chronicles.   A rare quiet night, Bearnie and The Jizo Chronicles                                                             Posted on May 13, 2012 by Maia Duerr   The author and Roshi Bernie Glassman at Upaya Zen Center (photo by Roshi Joan Halifax) For my longtime readers, I miss seeing you here… for my newer readers, just to get you up to speed, I don’t post very regularly on The Jizo Chronicles anymore. I am focusing my energy these days on my other blog, The Liberated Life Project, as well as on the work I do as Upaya Zen Center’s director of community outreach and development. I’m having a rare quiet night so thought I’d give this blog a little attention and share some news from the world of socially engaged Buddhism that’s come across my desk this past month:   • Kudos to the Buddhist Peace Fellowship for being smart enough to pick Katie Loncke as their Director of Media and Action. I’ve long been a fan of Katie’s blog, and interviewed her on TJC back in January. I’m really looking forward to hearing more of Katie’s voice on behalf of BPF. • Rev. Danny Fisher is now not only a reverend but a doctor! This week, Danny received a doctorate of Buddhist studies from the University of the West. Also of note is Danny’s excellent dharma talk based on the book Half the Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwide (Kristof and WuDunn). You can listen to Danny give the talk here. • There’s quite a good article on socially engaged Buddhism in May 9th issue of The Washington Post by Losang Tendrol, a Tibetan Buddhist nun. The piece focuses on Thai activist Sulak Sivaraksa. • I also haven’t updated the calendar on this site for a long time, but I can tell you that there are some fabulous engaged dharma programs scheduled at Upaya Zen Center this August and September. Make a trip to beautiful Santa Fe this summer to practice with Roshi Bernie Glassman (“Making Peace: The World as One Body”), Cheri Maples (“Transforming Systems: Using Buddhist Practice to Create Healthy Organizations and Systems”), Alan Senauke (“The Bodhisattva’s Embrace”), Fleet Maull (“Radical Responsibility”), or Noah Levine (“The Heart of the Revolution”)… it’s...

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Video: Pat Robertson advocates destroying Buddha statues

Originally posted by The Worst Horse.  You can destroy them, but it won’t change a thing. Watch this video published yesterday by http://youtu.be/suqPKlYAe-Y I have two reactions to this. My first is, Who in hell does Pat Robertson think he is? The second is, Who in hell does Pat Robertson think Buddhists are? He seems to think we’re the enemy. Well, we’re not the enemy, Pat. Buddhists are concerned with eliminating suffering, and deepening and harnessing our compassion. For ourselves, and for others. Including you. Or at least we’re trying. And those statues of ours? All they are to us, really, are reminders of that. Those statues help us to think about and re-engage with our motivation to eliminate suffering, and to deepen and harness our compassion. You can destroy them, but it won’t change a thing....

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Getting to Not-Know You: The Big Bang

Several years ago, I started to work on a book I tentatively called “The Dharma according to Groucho.” The first section is called Getting to Not-Know You. Not-knowing is the first tenet of the Zen Peacemakers. My opinion of Not-Knowing is entering a situation without being attached to any opinion, idea or concept. This means total openness to the situation, deep listening to the situation. It is the opinion of many scientists (including me) that about 15 billion years ago a tremendous explosion started the expansion of the universe. This explosion is known as the Big Bang. At the point of this event all of the matter and energy of space was contained at one point. What existed prior to this event is completely unknown and is a matter of pure speculation. This occurrence was not a conventional explosion but rather an event filling all of space with all of the particles of the embryonic universe rushing away from each other. The Big Bang actually consisted of an explosion of space within itself unlike an explosion of a bomb were fragments are thrown outward. The galaxies were not all clumped together, but rather the Big Bang laid the foundations for the universe. Where’s the beginning in the big bang? You can’t know what’s there before the big bang, right? You can go down pretty damn close i mean they’re going down in nanoseconds and seeing what happens in there. And they’re going forward and stuff like that. But in the very beginning, that’s what’s called a singularity. You can’t know. Now you may notice that in the Peacemakers, our first tenet is Not Knowing. It’s a state of not knowing, so what we say is if you’re going do something first approach it from that state of not knowing, that is get back to that initial singular point – to that point before the big bang. So if i can get back to that point of Not Knowing right now, and be there, then something happens and that’s the big bang. Now it starts unfolding. And it can unfold in a very creative way because it’s starting from this point of not knowing, this singular point. It’s starting from the beginning. Whatever you believe...

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First-Ever White House Conference of Dharmic Faiths

Originally posted by Buddhist Global Relief. Eager to translate their faith into programs of social justice and humanitarian service, followers of these Dharmic religions have sought dialogue with the U.S. government in order to find pathways along which they can contribute more effectively to their  communities, their nation, and the world. Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi Until recently conferences on interfaith cooperation in the U.S. have almost always centered on the Abrahamic religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Yet over the past forty years America has become a much more diversified and pluralistic society. The relaxing of restrictions on immigration, followed by the post-war upheavals in Southeast Asia in the 1970s, has dramatically transformed our population. Large numbers of Americans now have  religious roots that go back, not to the deserts of Judea and Arabia, but to the plains, mountains, and villages of ancient India. For convenience, these are  grouped together under the designation “the Dharmic faiths.” They include Buddhists, Hindus, Jains, and Sikhs, and their national origins range from Pakistan to Japan, from Burma to Vietnam, and from Mongolia to Sri Lanka. Not all are immigrants. At least one whole generation of people of Asian descent has been born and raised in America, and think of themselves principally as Americans following a Dharmic religion. L to R: Sikh, Jaina, Hindu, & Buddhist delegates offer prayers Eager to translate their faith into programs of social justice and humanitarian service, followers of these Dharmic religions have sought dialogue with the U.S. government in order to find pathways along which they can contribute more effectively to their  communities, their nation, and the world. On April 20, 2012, these efforts were rewarded by a historic conference convened at the White House, Community Building in the 21st Century with Strengthened Dharmic Faith-Based Institutions. Buddhist Global Relief was honored to be one of the Dharmic faith organizations invited to attend. Many Hindu, Jain, and Sikh organizations, as well as other Buddhist organizations, also participated. I went as the representative of Buddhist Global Relief. I was delighted to meet a number of old Buddhist friends and to make a few new ones. Among these was the popular Buddhist blogger Danny Fisher, who had interviewed me a few times by email over the...

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Dalai Lama passes on self-immolation question, citing retirement from politics

Originally posted by Shambhala Sun.  His Holiness, “You have no message for them? Your people”…on  self-immolation?….” Now I`ve become truly a simple Buddhist monk. No answer.” Watch a video of this exchange by following the link below. His Holiness the Dalai Lama has generated a bit of press for choosing not to answer a question on the self-immolation protests in Tibet. In London to receive the recently awarded 2012 Templeton Prize, His Holiness received the following question from a reporter at a media conference: “All over Tibetan areas, Tibetans have been setting fire to themselves — self-immolating in protest against Chinese rule. Can you tell us whether you think that they should stop this now, or should they continue?” After a brief pause, His Holiness replied, “I think that is a quite sensitive political issue. I think my answer should be zero.” The reporter, not expecting this, inquired further with, “You have no message for them? Your people?” His Holiness continued, “Since last year, I retired from political responsibility. Not only myself retired, but also almost 4 centuries old tradition of the Dalai Lama institution. [Inaudible]…that [has] now ended. So, in that sense, now I become truly a simple Buddhist monk. No answer.” You can watch a video of this exchange from CNN below: http://cnn.com/video/?/video/bestoftv/2012/05/14/dalai-lama-no-answer.cnn...

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Bernie’s Opinion on “What is Enlightenment”

The word Buddha means the Awakened One. Awaken to what? My opinion is that we awaken to the Oneness of Life, the One Body. That is my opinion of enlightenment. This awakening keeps deepening and deepening. What do I mean by deepening? Most of us are enlightened to the Oneness of our own body. I think that my arms, my legs, my face, etc. are all part of One Body. In fact I generally act according to that opinion without thinking about it. It is very natural to do so and, in fact, if I didn’t act that way, people might say I am deluded. Kōbō-Daishi (774–835, founder of Shingon Sect) said that we can tell the depth of a person’s enlightenment by how they serve others. If they are focused on themselves, they have awakened to the Oneness of themselves. If they are focused on their family, they have awakened to the Oneness of their family. If they are focused on their nation, they have awakened to the Oneness of their nation, etc., etc.  In my opinion, the Dalai Lama has awakened to the Oneness of the Universe. …………………………………………………………………………….. From Deb Pond: I have a lot of questions about what it means to be clear-minded. -What does it mean to be “already” awake, if we do not seem to be experiencing it now?,,, Believing we are already awake, when we do not know we are experiencing it –  is this just a concept? -I have heard about the “great functioning” as a being in tune with the environment and relating to it harmoniously – but not necessarily realizing one is doing so. Please clarify the great functioning. -Please clarify delusion and how it is different from awakening. -What sort of wakefulness exists in a coma? In the sleep state? My opinion: As you can see from my opinion on “What is Enlightenment”, we are “already” awake to the level that we are awake. There are many levels of enlightenment. This is not a concept, although I am confident there are many concepts out there about enlightenment and my opinion is just my opinion. For me, the great functioning is the functioning due to our level of awakening and it should be ovious to...

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Buddhist Chauvinism in Sri Lanka

Originally posted by About.com Buddhism. A “sacred site.” Dambulla!   For the past several days there have been news stories from Sri Lanka about Buddhist monks attempting to tear down a 50-year-old mosque. This morning I read that the government of Sri Lanka plans to relocate the mosque. Muslims are saying they will not relocate. I’ve been trying to sort out exactly what is happening, and why it is happening. I’m still not sure I’ve got the story straight, but here’s my best guess: Although the mosque, in Dambulla, has been where it is for 50 years, recent building expansion seems to have inflamed the more fanatical elements among the local Buddhists, because it is a “sacred site.” Dambulla is the site of some very old Buddhist temples and artifacts, according to some tourism information. A Hindu temple in the same area also is being criticized for being where it is. Some news articles also say the local Buddhist monastic sangha owns the property. According to the BBC, on Friday before last about 2,000 Buddhists, including monks, marched to the mosque and demanded its demolition. The demonstrations put a halt to Friday prayers. Protests continued last week, although rumors that the mosque actually was demolished by a mob of frenzied monks appear to have been wrong. But this past Friday a fire bomb damaged the mosque, and afterward another estimated 2,000 Buddhists attempted to storm the building. How much damage this group might have done I do not know. On Sunday the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka said the mosque would be relocated. But now Muslims in Sri Lanka are on strike, which has shut down public services in many areas. From here, this episode appears to be completely ridiculous. It appears that way to some people in Sri Lanka, also. Tisaranee Gunasekara wrote in Sri Lanka’s Sunday Leader, “The mob-like demonstrators and the monks who were leading and inciting them represented the ugliest face of Sinhala supremacism – intolerant of other races and contemptuous of other religions.”  (This opinion piece is interesting, btw; recommended reading.) However, if any of you are closer to this situation than I am and can offer another perspective, do speak up. I’ve been researching Sri Lanka a bit...

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Zen and Nonviolent Communication workshop: “Relationship with Self”

Originally posted by Furnace Mountain Retreat Center. A Public Event · By Daniela Myozen Herzo Furnace Mountain Retreat Center, Clay City, KY June 8th, 2012 Relationship with SelfA weekend retreat exploring Zen Meditation, Nonviolent-Communication & Empathic Self-Connection June, 8-10, 2012 Furnace Mountain Zen Retreat Center Start: Friday 7:00pm (check-in 5:00pm) End: Sunday 12:30pm After last years great success with our first Zen & NVC retreat at Furnace Mountain we are happy to offer a slightly different theme this year, still diving into practicing both Zen and NVC. Everyone is welcome at this training – prior NVC knowledge and some experience with silent meditation is helpful but not an absolute requirement. Together we will explore how the wisdom of Buddhist consciousness and the Buddha’s teachings about the non-existence of a fixed “Self” go together with the practice of NVC and empathic self-connection and self-expression. The workshop will include in introduction to the principles and basics of Zen practice and of Nonviolent Communication (NVC) as developed by Dr. Marshall Rosenberg. Together we will explore silent meditation and will observe the never-ending inner dialogue, our “monkey-mind”. In various and fun exercises we will explore ways to transform this inner dialogue from judgment, blame and analysis into a communication with ourselves that supports growth, aliveness and a compassionate and supportive connection with ourselves and the world around us. Practices will include learning to: • Sit upright with poise and grace in the middle of what is alive for you in the moment. • Connect with what is alive for you in the moment. • Listen to the inner dialogue and translate judgment, blame, criticism and analysis into a language that supports life • Identify the positive motivation that underlies all self-blame, self-judgment and self-criticism. • Shift patterns of thinking to transform depression, guilt, shame and fear. • Distinguish between observations and evaluations, feelings and thoughts, needs and strategies, requests and demands. • Attune to your own life-giving potential • Express yourself honestly and openly What is Zen? The term “Zen” derives from the Sanskrit term “Dhyana” – meaning dynamic stillness and meditation. To practice Zen is to give yourself wholeheartedly to what you are doing in each and every moment and to what is happening in each moment....

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Occupy: Bringing mindfulness and activism together

Originally posted by Shambhala SunSpace. How Buddhism can help people shed their deeply held veiws of the current economic system, back to the 60`s  as Jean Claude van Itallie explains.   Benjamin Riggs has found ways to bring Buddhist practices to his activism. The Occupy Wall Street movement is holding protests and strikes today to commemorate International Workers’ Day. The movement, which protested economic equality in cities around the world, had grown quiet over the winter, but organizers hope the May Day events will rejuvenate the protests. Shambhala SunSpace covered the Occupy movement extensively over the fall, with several authors writing about bringing Buddhist perspectives and practices to the protest movement. The principles in this coverage are useful even to those not involved in Occupy, as they help us bring mindfulness into standing up for what we believe in. See these below; links in open in new windows. Benjamin Riggs wrote about the dangers of alienating the 1%, while David Loy and Michael Stone focused on how the capitalist economy encourages greed, and how Buddhism can help people shed their deeply held views of the current economic system. The Occupy movement grew out of Buddhist and countercultural movements of the 1960′s, as Jean Claude van Itallie explains. For all of SunSpace’s coverage of Occupy Wall Street, click here. This entry was created by Sun Staff, posted on May 1, 2012 at 12:03 pm and tagged Activism, Engaged Buddhism, Occupy Wall Street. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this...

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Famed Buddhist nun in antinuclear hunger strike

Originally posted by Buddhist Channel. Buddhist nun Jakucho Setouchi and writer Hisae Sawachi join a hunger strike Wednesday in front of the industry ministry in Tokyo. KYODO Kyodo, Japan — Novelist and Buddhist nun Jakucho Setouchi joined a hunger strike Wednesday in front of the industry ministry in Tokyo in protest the government’s moves to restart idled reactors at the Oi nuclear power plant in Fukui Prefecture.  Starving ’em out: Nuclear foes (from left) writer Satoshi Kamata, novelist and Buddhist nun Jakucho Setouchi and writer Hisae Sawachi join a hunger strike Wednesday in front of the industry ministry in Tokyo. KYODO Setouchi, 89, together with writers Hisae Sawachi, 81, and Satoshi Kamata, 73, plans to stage her hunger strike until sunset. The antinuclear civic group began the hunger strike on April 17 in front of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, which oversees nuclear power plant operators, in Tokyo’s Kasumigaseki district, home to a number of government buildings. The group plans to continue its hunger strike until Saturday, when the country’s last operating commercial nuclear reactor, unit 3 of Hokkaido Electric Power Co.’s Tomari plant, is due to go offline for routine checks. Pinning a band with the message “no to reactivation” to her nun’s habit, Setouchi said Japan is in as bad a state as she has known in her almost 90 years of life. “I can’t hand over the current Japan to the younger generation,” she said. In the wake of the disaster-triggered nuclear crisis in Fukushima Prefecture, Setouchi described the government’s moves to restart two idled reactors at Kansai Electric Power Co.’s Oi plant as “scary.” “I think (the government) is acting strangely,” she...

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Bernie’s Reflections on Issan Dorsey

In my experience, many people come to Zen practice because they love the stories of Zen masters of long ago. They love reading about outrageous teachers who said strange things and acted in even stranger ways, seeming like children, fools, and even madmen to the rest of society. It has also been my experience that while we love these characters that lived hundreds of years ago, we don’t love them so much while they’re still living. We don’t always love our present day madmen and eccentrics, for these are the people who manifest our shadow. They live in the cracks – nor just of our society but of our psyche. They put in our faces those qualities in ourselves that we’d prefer not to see – a refusal to conform, a refusal to “grow up,” a human being who ignores conventions and acceptable standards of behavior and makes up his life as he goes along. I think of Issan Dorsey as the shadow in many people’s lives. He was a drug addict, he was gay, he appeared in drag, and he died of AIDS. For many years he lived right on the edge, befriending junkies, drag queens and alkies who lived precariously like him, on the fringes of society. When he died, a Zen teacher and priest, he was still befriending and caring for those whom our society rejected then and continues to reject now, people ill with the AIDS virus. Like the old Zen masters of old, Issan Dorsey was outrageous; he manifested the shadow in our lives. And he was loved not just after his death but also during his life. For Issan had exuberance for all of life, and that included death, too. I first met Issan Dorsey in 1980, just after he began the Maitri group on Hartford Street. I happened to be visiting San Francisco Zen Center and was in the zendo when Roshi Richard Baker, Abbot of the Center, announced that a satellite group of gay Zen practitioners was forming in the middle of San Francisco’s Castro District, under the leadership of Issan Dorsey. Baker Roshi strongly supported Issan’s work, as he would continue to do for years to come. That was my first meeting with Issan. By...

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Film Review: “The Lady,” Luc Besson’s Aung San Suu Kyi biopic

Originally posted by Shambhala SunSpace.   The Lady (2011) Trailer – HD Movie – Luc Besson Movie See it here by following the link below http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=SMYAzQC3UjI The Lady, which was released for awards consideration late last year, is now playing in limited release throughout the U.S. and Canada. At the time Danny Fisher saw the film at an advance screening, Burma was in the news as Hillary Clinton became the first U.S. Secretary of State to visit Burma in more than fifty years. Since then, the country, ruled by a military dictatorship for five decades, has shown even more signs of democratizing. Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy won 43 out of 44 seats they contest in last month’s parliamentary elections, and she took her seat in parliament last week, after ending the NLD’s boycott of swearing an oath to the country’s military-drafted constitution. Watch a trailer for The Lady above. Here now is Fisher’s advance-screening review.   History seems to be in the making in Burma as Luc Besson’s The Lady, about National League for Democracy leader and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, screens in New York and Los Angeles (where I saw it) this week for Academy Awards consideration. Hillary Clinton became the first U.S. Secretary of State to visit Burma in over fifty years last week, signaling that the recent “reforms” in the country, which has been ruled by a brutal, repressive military dictatorship since 1962, might be real. (Though violence against ethnic minorities flared very shortly after her departure, and many, many political prisoners remain in the country—including U Gambira, the leader of the 2007 Buddhist monastic uprising known as the “Saffron Revolution.”) The aspect of Secretary Clinton’s visit that received the most attention was, of course, her meeting with “Daw Suu,” who was released from her latest house arrest just over a year ago. (She has spent a total of 15 of the last 22 years under house arrest.) With the world focused again on “The Lady,” as she is known within Burma, the arrival of a major motion picture about her is timely to say the least.         Photo: Vanessa Karam The Lady helps the viewer come to understand...

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I’m running for Congress–Will you help?

Originally posted by No Impact Man.   The Green Party’s ballot status in New York State Dear Friends– I’ve decided to run for US Congress representing central Brooklyn in an attempt to bring our crises and the possibility of real solutions into the pubic discourse (see press release below). I feel that our politicians are not having the national conversation we need to have. I hope with your help, we can use this campaign as an opportunity to help bring crucial issues into the conversation. One way to do that is to talk online and in person with people about what I, and a group of great volunteers, are doing. We are trying to model citizen politics. We could all do this everywhere. Decide that we want to be the poiticians instead of leaving it to the people who are backed by big, corporate money. If you’re interested in this, please share about the campaign on Facebook, Twitter and anywhere else. You can follow the campaign on Facebook here and Twitter here. Please feel free to copy and past the image above and share it on your social networks. Meanwhile, check out the campaign website at votecolin.org and tell me your thoughts here.   It’s our planet. Let’s bein in charge of it. With love Colin Beavan   INTERNATIONALLY RENOWNED ENVIRONMENTALIST LAUNCHES RUN FOR U.S. CONGRESS CITING NEED FOR MASSIVE REORGANIZATION OF GOVERNMENT AND BUSINESS TO DEAL WITH WORLD CRISES A New York City author whose book and documentary film No Impact Man helped bring climate change into popular consciousness today announces his candidacy for the United States House of Representatives. Colin Beavan PhD will run on the Green Party ticket in New York’s 8th Congressional District, following the vacancy left by the retirement of Representative Edolphus Towns. Beavan rose to prominence as a spokesman for the international environmental movement after worldwide press and media interest followed the release of his film and book. His campaign, citing “growing world crises” in climate, environment, economics, and energy production, calls for a complete change in priorities including an end to consumption-based economics, massive decentralization of government and business, and huge investment in local communities. “The economic system is supposed to make people safer and happier, but...

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Read Beastie Boy Adam Yauch’s 1995 interview with the Dalai Lama

Originally posted by Shambhala SunSpace. Adam Yauch, the Beastie Boy, Budddhist and Tibet activist who died on Friday—sat down with the Dalai Lama in 1995 to talk about interdependence, the political situation in Tibet, and the importance of practicing compassion.         Photo: Sue Kwon As our Facebook friends saw, a new interview is available in which Adam Yauch — the Beastie Boy, Buddhist and Tibet activist who died on Friday — sat down with the Dalai Lama in 1995 to talk about interdependence, the political situation in Tibet, and the importance of practicing compassion. Yauch originally conducted the interview for Rolling Stone, which ended up only printing a short excerpt. The full interview was published in a 1996 issue of Grand Royal, the eclectic pop culture magazine the Beastie Boys put out from 1993 to 1997. You can read the interview here. Also, see the Shambhala Sun’s 1995 interview with Yauch, in which he talks about hip hop, helping people, and his relationship to Buddhism’s Bodhisattva Vow. This entry was created by Sun Staff, posted on May 8, 2012 at 7:25 pm and tagged Buddhist concepts, Dalai Lama, Pop Culture, Tibet. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this...

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The Philosophy behind the Buddhist ethic of Ahimsa

Originally posted by Buddhist Channel. An article by Professor Mahinda Palihawadana, President of the Sri Lanka Vegetarian Society and Founder Member of the Society for the Protection of Animal Rights (SPAR), on this subject. Colombo, Sri Lanka — The concept of ‘ Ahimsa ‘ had its origins in the movement to oppose Animal Sacrifice initiated by the Buddha and Mahavira (also known as Nigganta Natha Putta ) the founder of Jainism, in the 6th Century B.C. We reproduce below an article by Professor Mahinda Palihawadana, President of the Sri Lanka Vegetarian Society and Founder Member of the Society for the Protection of Animal Rights (SPAR), on this subject: During the time of the Buddha, many kinds of sacrifices were practised by Brahmins who were the priests of the Vedic religion professed by the upper castes of contemporary Indian society. The Buddha did not see any value in these sacrifices, primarily because they were entirely external rites. If one could speak of a ‘right sacrifice’, it had to be something that was internal or ‘spiritual’. “I lay no wood, Brahmin, for fire on altars Only within burneth the fire I kindle” – says the Buddha, mindful of the Brahmins’ practice of tending a regular ‘sacred fire’ and pouring oblations into it for the various gods of the Vedic pantheon. This however was only a relatively harmless, albeit in the eyes of the Buddha useless, activity. The Vedic priests also advocated and performed several types of cruel animal sacrifice such as “The sacrifices called the Horse, the Man, The Peg-thrown Site, the Drink of Victory, The Bolt Withdrawn – and all the mighty fuss- Where divers goats and sheep and kine are slain”. The Buddha rejected all these sacrifices in no uncertain terms. For example, when he was told of a ‘great sacrifice’ that the king of Kosala was about to perform, where 2500 cattle, goats and rams were to be immolated, he declared: “Never to such a rite as that repair The noble seers who walk the perfect way.” And, in one of the Jataka stories (Bhuridatta), the future Buddha is reported to have said: “If he who kills is counted innocent, Let Brahmins Brahmins kill. We see no cattle asking to be slain that...

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Thailand’s young Buddhist nuns challenge social conventions

Originally posted by The Buddhist Channel. Thai girls who choose to spend part of the school holiday as Buddhist nuns, down to having their heads shaven. Bangkok, Thailand — Beam Atchimapon is already three days late for the new school term in her native city, the Thai capital of Bangkok – but for a good cause. Novice Thai nuns are seen before they receive food from people during the Songkran festival at the Sathira-Dhammasathan Buddhist meditation centre in Bangkok April 13, 2011. REUTERS/Sukree Sukplang The nine-year-old is part of a small but growing group of Thai girls who choose to spend part of the school holiday as Buddhist nuns, down to having their heads shaven. The temporary ordination of young men has long been part of Thai culture, with men spending a few days as monks and returning to their normal professions after time at a monastery. But the ordination of “mae ji” or “nuns” is less common, and the idea that women should not play an active role in monastic life still prevails among more conservative Thais. Fully ordained Buddhist nuns are not legally recognized, as they are in Myanmar and Sri Lanka – one sign of the inequality women still face in certain fields in Thailand. “Thailand does not fully recognize the role of Buddhist nuns,” said Sansanee Sthuratsuta, a nun and founder of the Sathira Dammasathan center, a learning centre on the outskirts of Bangkok that is something of a green oasis. Sansanee used to be a celebrated television personality in Thailand but gave up her fame for life as a nun 35 years ago. Her centre allows men and women to come and practice meditation, learn yoga and take part in retreats, part of its mission to make Buddhism an integral part of peoples’ lives. She started the ordination of young nuns 3 years ago to raise awareness of nuns in the nation, where their role as spiritual leaders takes a backseat to their male counterparts. “Nuns need to be educated. This is more important than a law that elevates the status of nuns in Thailand. If society can rely on nuns then they can be spiritual leaders,” she said. This year, to celebrate 2,600 years since the Buddha gained...

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Danny Fishers Visit to the White House as a Participant in the Historic First Dharmic Religious Leaders Conference

Originally posted by Danny Fisher. Co-hosted by the White House Office of Public Engagement and White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships with Hindu American Seva Charities, the conference brought together a large group of religious and institutional leaders from Buddhist, Hindu, Sikh, and Jain communities to discuss service with various government departments and agencies. The Buddhist Delegation (with representatives from the White House and Hindu American Seva Charities) at the First Dharmic Religious Leaders Conference at the White House, Washington, D.C., April 20, 2012. (The author is in the back row, second from the left.) We’re just like the Avengers, except more awesome. Photo by Phil Rosenberg of SGI-USA. So I had an interesting weekend: I was in Washington, D.C., at the White House as a participant in the historic first Dharmic Religious and Faith Institutional Leaders Conference: Community Building in the 21st Century with Strengthened Dharmic Faith-Based Infrastructures. Co-hosted by the White House Office of Public Engagement and White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships with Hindu American Seva Charities, the conference brought together a large group of religious and institutional leaders from Buddhist, Hindu, Sikh, and Jain communities to discuss service with various government departments and agencies. Among others, we met with representatives of the Department of Education, Department of State, Department of Homeland Security, and the Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. We also heard from and dialogued with a large group of interesting speakers, including Joshua Stanton, founding co-editor of the Journal of Inter-Religious Dialogue, co-director of Religious Freedom USA, and co-editor of O.N. Scripture — The Torah; former U.S Senator Harris Wofford; and Rev. Suzan Johnson Cook, United States Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom. Overall, I concur with many of my colleagues, who felt that the gathering was hugely important symbolically: to see Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs, and Jains gathered together at the White House to spend a day in dialogue with the government about service and community-building felt like a huge step forward in terms of addressing the lack of attention to and representation of Dharmic religious practitioners in Washington. (Some of you may recall an article I wrote for Religion Dispatches in 2009 that talked about the lack of a Buddhist representative on the White House’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood...

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Born I Music, aka Born Infinite

Originally posted by Shambhala SunSpace. Video: Born I Music’s “Number One” lands on “Occupy” album   If you’ve been a SunSpace reader for a while, you likely remember Born I Music, aka Born Infinite, the rapper, musician, meditation teacher, and all-around force for good I interviewedhere back in February of 2011. Well, Born’s got some good news: his single, “Number One” has just been selected for the official “Occupy Wall Street” compilation album. He’s in some serious company, too. The album will feature “fan favorite and never-before-released tracks” from Ani DiFranco, UNKLE, Joan Baez, Tom Chapin, Willie Nelson, Patti Smith, Anti Flag, Girls Against Boys, Yoko Ono, Amanda Palmer, Mogwai, The Mammals Featuring Pete Seeger, David Crosby & Graham Nash, and more. Hear the song (or, that is, watch the video) and learn more after the jump: Born tells us he is extremely honored to be included on the album — and that he’s got a lot more on his plate, too, including his forthcoming album “King of Kings,” and his role in “Hip Hop Sutra,” an upcoming short film about the complexities of dharma and music-industry life. Anything else to add, Born? “Yes: Stay mindful in every situation!” Here’s the song/video for “Number One”, please follow link below:...

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International Symposia for Contemplative Studies

Originally posted by Shambhala SunSpace.  Mind & Life Institute’s sold-out. Symposia speakers will include luminaries from the world’s most prestigious institutions, such as Harvard, Brown, the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research in Zurich, and the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Paris. See the complete list here (including Jon Kabat-Zinn, Richie Davidson, Sharon Salzberg and Marsha Linehan). Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan will also make an appearance to discuss his new book, in which he advocates using contemplative practices to address a host of current national concerns. Wellesley College past-president Diana Chapman Walsh will deliver the opening keynote address. To access the livestream, click here. To consult the schedule, visit the conference website here. For more on Mind and Life, read Jill Suttie’s recent Shambhala Sun feature, The New Science of Mind. This entry was created by Sun Staff, posted on April 24, 2012 at 12:01 pm and tagged Buddhist concepts, Events, In the magazine, Meditation, Mindfulness, Other Religions. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this...

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If You Want Peace, Stop Paying For War

Originally posted by The Jizo Chronicles. Take a look at this calculator to see how your taxes get divvied up to the military.   Last week, I became a war tax resister. I’ve been thinking about this for a long time, and finally this spring my actions aligned with my intentions and I sent the following letter to the Internal Revenue Service: April 17, 2012 Dear friends at the IRS, For the past 20 years, I have been a Buddhist. This year I was ordained as a Buddhist chaplain. My religious beliefs include a commitment to follow the precepts as originally taught by Shakyamuni Buddha, the first of which is to not kill and not take life. I have faithfully paid my federal income taxes for all of my working life.  But this year my conscience will no longer allow me to continue to fund a war machine that is, to my mind, unethical in almost every way. While I do understand the need for some kind of defense system, what I have seen, particularly over the last decade, is that the use of our military forces and budget goes far beyond any sane definition of “defense.” The money that I have paid in taxes has been used to invade countries that posed no imminent threat to us (case in point: Iraq), to build predatory drones and other weapons that have resulted in the deaths of hundreds of innocent civilians, to support soldiers who impose illegal torture tactics on those in their custody; I can no longer condone these nor other deadly and aggressive military activities through my tax money. If there were an option to designate that these funds could go toward other much areas of the U.S. budget that invest in the health and wellbeing of our citizens, such as health care or infrastructure development, I would gladly choose that option (which is why I support HR 1191, the Religious Freedom Peace Tax Fund Bill). Given that is not the case, I am withholding $108 from the money that is due for my 2011 tax and am diverting that money to an organization that helps to cultivate peace rather than war. My sincere wish is that one day we can all work...

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Aung San Suu Kyi granted permission to leave (and return to) Burma

Originally posted by Shambhala Sun. Aung San Suu Kyi has been given permission to leave (and return) to her country for the first time in 24 years   Fresh off her win of a seat in Burma’s parliament, Aung San Suu Kyi has been given permission to leave (and return) to her country for the first time in 24 years, according to the Washington Post. She will travel to Britain to, among other things, visit her alma mater, Oxford University (from which she earned a PhD in International Studies, and where her late husband Michael Aris taught Central Asian Buddhist Studies). Then she will visit Norway to finally collect her Nobel Peace Prize (which she has never been able to accept in person). During the last 24 years, the ruling military junta indicated that she could leave the country at any time, but would not be allowed to return (because of her efforts on behalf of her political party, the National League for Democracy). Read the rest of the story...

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Buddhists come out for equality

Originally posted by Buddhist Channel. Abbot Ajahn Brahm said religion had never owned the institution of marriage. “Marriage was not always a religious ceremony,” Brahm wrote.  Perth, Australia — The House of Representatives public hearing on same-sex marriage, held at NSW Parliament on April 12, saw the largest non-Christian religious faith in Australia come out in support of marriage equality. The Federation of Australian Buddhist Councils (FABC), representing Buddhist laypeople, and the Australian Sangha Association, representing Buddhist clergy, both put their support on the record. Buddhist monk Bhante Sujato spoke on behalf of both groups. “We should be focusing on the alleviation of human suffering, responding to human need,” Sujato told MPs. A FABC submission to the Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs by Bodhinyana Monastery abbot Ajahn Brahm said religion had never owned the institution of marriage. “Marriage was not always a religious ceremony,” Brahm wrote.   “Well before Christianity and Islam appeared, and independent of any Jewish tradition, Buddhism recognised and supported marriage without claiming to have invented it. The fact is that the rite of marriage existed before religion, and thus no one faith can legitimately claim ownership of it. “The suggestion that a civil contract is good enough for gays and lesbians is like throwing crumbs to the hungry. It is not acceptable to them, or to any other clear-thinking person. “We owe it to the institution of marriage, and to those who are married, to extend its warmth to those who are presently excluded. Extending love can only make for a better society.” Australia’s Buddhist community is as large as its Muslim and Jewish communities combined. Union for Progressive Judaism executive director Steve Denenberg reiterated Progressive Judaism’s support for marriage equality at the hearing. Denenberg later told J-Wire that he told the committee that, “based on our beliefs that each person is created in the image of God, the way that person expresses his or her sexuality, each person is equal”. “Therefore, their rights for full participation in society should be equal, including the right to marry,” Denenberg said. “Equality would dictate that same-gender couples should be able to marry.” Sikh and Hindu speakers at the hearing were either opposed or undecided. The final number of submissions...

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Sweeping Zen Interview with Bernie Glassman

  Bernie Glassman interview Original Article at Sweeping Zen Bernie Glassman is an American Zen teacher and the first dharma successor of the late Taizan Maezumi Roshi. Describing his activities as socially engaged Buddhism, he is founder of the Zen Peacemakers and is also a published author. He is the past President of the White Plum Asanga and is currently working on a book with Jeff Bridges (the well-known actor and star of The Big Lebowski) due out this November titled The Dude and the Zen Master.   Thanks to volunteer Jason Nottestad for transcribing. Transcript SZ: What brought you to Zen practice and what was going on in your life at the time? SZ: Sure, more the philosophy.BG: Okay. I should mention that yesterday I actually just put up a new page on our website that gives you a little history of my Zen teachers and also gives you a list of my Dharma successors. As I get older I want to make sure I remember all of the gurus I’ve had. I’ve had quite a few. So, the first time I encountered Zen was a long time ago–1958. That was by chance in an English class. We had to read The World’s Religions, at that time it was called Religions of Man by Huston Smith (it had just come out). There was a page about Zen and it just struck me, like I felt I had come home reading it. So I started to study Zen at that time (basically by reading). There wasn’t that much in English–Alan Watts, Christmas Humphreys, D.T. Suzuki and, uh, I got quite interested in it. And then, around 1961 or 1962, I actually started meditation. None of the books that I had read talked much about meditation. BG: Yeah. Yeah. And then in 1963 I went to a Japanese Zen temple in Los Angeles, in Little Tokyo, and met for the first time the person who was going to become my teacher, Taizan Maezumi roshi. He was a very young monk and he was assisting in that temple. But I sat and did my own sesshins and got into a regular sitting practice (and kept reading, of course). I had been dabbling in many religions. I studied different religions from maybe the age of 12 or 13, but I started to...

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This weekend, Oprah interviews Ram Dass; Watch a clip online now

Originally posted by Shambhalasun SunSpace.  Oprah Winfrey will meet and talk to Ram Dass, Super Soul Sunday airs on OWN with future interviewees include Deepak Chopra and Thich Nhat Hanh. “WATCH VIDEO CLIPS.”   On her show Super Soul Sunday, Oprah Winfrey will meet and talk to Ram Dass in an exclusive interview in Maui, paired with the documentary on his stroke “Ram Dass: Fierce Grace.” Click through here for more information and to watch the first minute of the interview. Click here to watch the first minute of “Super Soul Sunday” with Ram Dass. Super Soul Sunday airs on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network Sundays at 11am ET/10am CT. Future interviewees include Deepak Chopra and Thich Nhat Hanh. . For more on Ram Dass, read “Be Love Now,” Andrea Miller’s Shambhala Sun Q&A with him,...

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Buddhist “soldier monks” in Thailand’s southern Muslim provinces

Originally posted by Buddhadharma Since 2004, drive-by shootings, IED bombings, and point-blank assassinations have claimed some 5,000 lives in the country’s three restive southernmost provinces that border Malaysia, making the insurgency one of the world’s deadliest.”   In Thailand’s southern provinces — some of the poorest areas in all of Thailand — a bloody insurgency, comprising separatist ethnic Malay Muslims, has been under way since early 2004. The violence has involved an almost daily occurrence of bombings and killings; on March 31 alone, coordinated bombings in two provinces claimed the lives of fourteen people and injured hundreds more. Brendan Brady of Newsweek writes that “since 2004, drive-by shootings, IED bombings, and point-blank assassinations have claimed some 5,000 lives in the country’s three restive southernmost provinces that border Malaysia, making the insurgency one of the world’s deadliest.” Armed insurgency in the region began in the late 1960s, with particularly violent outbursts occurring during the 1970s and early 1980s. Due to Thai political and economic reforms that weakened support for the separatists, by the mid-1990s the insurgency was believed to be all but dead. In 2004, however, several new insurgency groups surfaced, starting with the coordinated attack of January 4, 2004, in which a military arsenal was raided and schools and police stations were set afire; on the following day, there were multiple bombings. Insecurity runs high in the predominantly Muslim provinces today, leading some Buddhists in the area to take up arms and form community defense groups. The Queen of Thailand has urged Buddhists in the area to remain on their land and to train in the use of weapons. She has also set up land grants designed to encourage Buddhists from other areas of Thailand to resettle in the south. Buddhist temples and monasteries are also under the protection of the Thai military. According to Professor Michael Jerryson of Eckerd College in Florida, author of the 2011 book Buddhist Fury: Religion and Violence in Southern Thailand, the violence has even led to the emergence of “soldier monks”– conceived of by the Queen. The soldier monks are new Army recruits who are selected by superiors and asked to ordain as Buddhist monks, allowing them to be relocated to monasteries in the southern provinces to “serve as hybrid servants of the state.” The practice is...

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The Protest Chaplains (Part 4): Conclusion and What It Means to Be a Revolutionary Chaplain

Originally posted by Jizo Chronicles  This experience with Occupy has planted in me the conviction that true pastoral care IS revolutionary……   This is the fourth and final installment from my thesis for the Upaya Buddhist Chaplaincy Program. In the first post, I covered the context and background of the Protest Chaplains as well as the Occupy Wall Street Movement. In the second post, I shared the findings from my interviews with four of the chaplains. In the third post, I explored five lessons distilled from studying the Protest Chaplains. This last post is the conclusion to my thesis. Most of it is devoted to a long quote from one of the original Protest Chaplains, Marisa Egerstrom. I was so taken by her words that I felt it was important to give voice to the whole quote.   If you’d like a copy of my entire thesis (complete with references), just drop me a line at maia.duerr [at] gmail [dot] com. ___________ Conclusion During the fall of 2011, the Protest Chaplains served as a living example of chaplaincy as a vehicle of not only personal change but of social change as well. This can only be possible, however, if in addition to all the other basic qualities a chaplain should possess, he or she has a working knowledge of systemic suffering and systems change, and is willing to look at his or her own privilege in the context of social inequity and injustice. I want to end this paper with a potent reflection from Marisa Egerstrom, the Harvard graduate student who along with Dave Woessner was one of the ‘founders’ of the Protest Chaplains. I wasn’t able to meet Marisa in person during my Boston visit, but in our email correspondence in January 2012 she shared these words with me that I feel eloquently describe the revolutionary space that a chaplain can occupy (so to speak) in a social movement such as Occupy Wall Street: [This experience with Occupy has] planted in me the conviction that true pastoral care IS revolutionary, in the sense that so much of what people experience as depression is a cognitive recognition of the overwhelming reality of just how out of balance, how unsustainable, and how unjust Life As...

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The Most Important Subject I’ve Ever Addressed in a Dharma Talk

Originally posted by Rev. Danny Fisher. UPDATED BY DANNY FISHER, WATCH THE VIDEO. by Danny Fisher After reading the book that inspired this sermon, I have no doubt that it’s the most important subject I’ve ever addressed in a dharma talk. During our recent spring break at University of the West, I spent the week doing some much-needed recreational reading. To tell you just how far behind I am on that recreational reading, the short stack of books I worked through included the 2010 Pulitzer Prize winner and a collection of writing by Bill Moyers (no, not the new one, but the one from 2004). The one that I’ll never forget, though — the one that shook me and changed me — was Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn’s Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide. As a great appreciator of Nick Kristof’s New York Times columns and blog work — I named my own Patheos blog Off the Cushion in a nod to the title of his blog “On the Ground” — I knew I would probably be a great appreciator of the book. What I wasn’t quite prepared for was to finish it so broken-hearted, moved, reflective, and (most of all) incredibly inspired. In addition, I believe it’s one of the two or three most important books I’ve ever read (or will read) in my life. Needless to say, I started writing a dharma talk based on my experience of reading it almost immediately after finishing it. I delivered the final version of the talk at the Rosemead Buddhist Monastery last week, and recorded it recently for this blog. I hope you’ll listen to it. Most of all, though, I hope you will read the book…and watch the PBS miniseries based on it that’s scheduled for airing this fall (watch the trailer here). UPDATE: I was really thrilled and touched that my talk got mentioned on the official Facebook page of Half the Sky. Here’s what they said: “After reading Half the Sky, Rev. Danny Fisher was inspired to deliver a dharma talk at the Rosemead Buddhist Monastery based on his experience reading it. Has Half the Sky or the issues it touches upon been discussed at your place of worship?” In...

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Gary Snyder wins Thoreau Prize

Originally posted by Shambhala Sun Poet Gary Snyder and his writings, follow the links!   Last night at MIT, poet Gary Snyderwas awarded PEN (Poets/Playwrights, Essayists/Editors, Novelists) New England’s “Henry David Thoreau Prize” for Literary Excellence in Nature Writing. Our congratulations to him for the well-earned honor. Here at the Shambhala Sun we’ve had the honor of publishing his writing; click through here for links to see for yourself what makes Snyder so special. Gary Snyder in the Shambhala Sun [links open in new windows]: Writers and the War Against Nature — this Snyder commentary was selected by our editors as one of the best commentaries published in the first thirty years of the Shambhala Sun. Highest and Driest — from “Poetry and Zen Talks of Philip Whalen.” The Wild Mind of Gary Snyder — a 1996 profile by Trevor Carolan See also: Naropa University: Where East Meets West and Sparks Fly This entry was created by Sun Staff, posted on April 11, 2012 at 11:08 am and tagged Activism, Art, Environment, Sustainability, Zen. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this...

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Beyond self-immolation: A dynamic range of protest

Originally posted by Shambhala Sun Monks departing from their monasteries wholesale after administrative takeovers by Chinese authorities Recently, we’ve of course been bringing reports from news services and advocacy organizations about the wave of self-immolations by Tibetans in protest of the Chinese government’s rule of their homeland. (For more on this, you can scroll through past posts here on Buddhadharma News, or take a look at this helpful but sobering factsheet provided by International Campaign for Tibet.) With a total of thirty-three immolations so far (since February 2009), it may seem as though this sort of thing has become the primary method of protest. However, a recent report details other methods of mass protest being carried out by Buddhist monastics and lay people. Among these actions, monks departing from their monasteries wholesale after administrative takeovers by Chinese authorities, and Tibetan provincial officials losing their jobs after refusing to enforce rigid security measures. In addition to this report, Robert Mackey’s “The Lede” blog at the New York Times website brings news (and photos) of massive nonviolent demonstrations by monastics in the wake of one recent...

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HELP WANTED: Help translate our web content into other languages

HELP WANTED: Non-English speakers/web page developers who want to help build a global community dedicated to promoting peace We need support on an ongoing basis in order to update foreign language pages as we make changes to English pages.  We are looking for volunteer teams who speak both English and German, French, Polish, Dutch, Spanish, Italian, Hebrew, Arabic and Chinese.  It is possible that one person will do all the translation and web page posting for each language or it is possible to have a team.  A team for each language will need to have a leader who is experienced in WordPress web design or willing to learn.   If you would like to help, please contact...

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Japanese Buddhist Priests as Social Entrepreneurs

“In the past, temples were social enterprises, and Buddhist priests were social entrepreneurs in Japan. In fact, believe or not, from old times to the present, the history of Japanese Buddhism has been a continuous change and innovation. It’s the history of leadership and entrepreneurship of many great Buddhist monks’-Keisuke Matsumoto at the Buddhist Celebrities blog.     “There are 70,000 to 80,000 temples in Japan, which is more than the number of convenience stores in the country. But temples are not making their mark on society in the way convenience stores are.”–Keisuke Matsumoto in the Financial Times (Via Buddhist Channel)   When I read about a 32-year Japanese Pure Land Buddhist monk going to business school to make Japanese Buddhism more relevant, I was quite intrigued.  Is this a kindred spirit across the ocean?  I understand that the teacher in the lineage in which I practice (The Zen Peacemakers) who brought Buddhism to the United States from Japan did so in part because he was disillusioned with the fact that Zen had become little more than funeral services.  I also have been told that even fewer people my age are interested in Buddhism in Japan today than are in the U.S.  (That’s about the extent of my connection to Japanese culture.)  Might this young man point to a revival of Japanese Buddhism? Agent of change: Keisuke Matsumoto Financial Times (Via Buddhist Channel): He [Keisuke Matsumoto ]believed that temples had become ossified in their traditional role of performing funeral services and other rituals and were failing to fulfill their mission of serving the spiritual needs of contemporary society. “What is important is the value of Buddhism, as a religion, to people who are alive now. I wanted to change Japanese Buddhism so that it would be relevant for today. A temple should be run with a view to providing value to people in this changing world. That is the real mission of temples.” After working at Komyoji for seven years, Mr Matsumoto decided that a business school education would help him discover “how to manage a temple as a mission-orientated organisation” that could provide value to society. The leadership training at business school, he believed, would be useful in his quest to change the way temples operate in Japan. “Monks...

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Mindfulness and Justice: A silent meditation retreat, with Cheri Maples & La Sarmiento

Originally posted by Shambhala Sun.  Experience Thaypassana, a powerful synthesis of the Thich Nhat Hanh and Vipassana meditation traditions.   Mebane, NC Experience Thaypassana, a powerful synthesis of the Thich Nhat Hanh and Vipassana meditation traditions. Mindfulness provides the ability to be at greater ease with life’s ups and downs. The practice of mindfulness reawakens our capacity to live more fully in our experience, recognizing each thought, each thing, for what it is — with tenderness. • Explore how to maintain equilibrium while working for social justice • Sitting and walking meditation, guided meditation, metta practice and instruction offered • Both individual and community practice will be utilized The retreat is appropriate for people at all experience levels. Details: The fee is a sliding scale of $300 – $500 and covers meals, indoor housing, and materials. Lower-cost camping options and partial scholarships are also available. In keeping with tradition, participants will have the opportunity to offer dana, or generosity, for the teachings at the end of the retreat, to support the teachers and manager in continuing to freely offer and make the teachings accessible to all who seek them. The retreat will be held at The Stone House, a center for spiritual life and strategic action on 70 acres in Mebane, NC. The retreat begins on the 20th with dinner and ends on the 24th after lunch. For more information and registration: please call La Sarmiento at 202.997.1399 email [email protected] or go to www.stonecircles.org Dharma teachers: Cheri Maples was ordained a dharma teacher in 2008 by Zen Master & peace activist Thich Nhat Hanh, her longtime spiritual teacher. Cheri has incorporated her 25-year career in the criminal justice system, as well as her background as an active community organizer, into her mindfulness practice. Her teachings focus on helping people manage the emotional effects of their work while maintaining an open heart and healthy boundaries. Cheri is a former Assistant Attorney General, Head of Probation & Parole, and police officer in Wisconsin, as well as the former Executive Director of the Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence. La Sarmiento has been practicing Vipassana meditation and has been a member of the Insight Meditation Community of Washington (IMCW) since 1998. La is the teacher/leader of the People...

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Open letter of the EBU on violence towards sexual minorities

Originally posted by EBU  European Buddhist  Union. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon testified to the UN Human Rights Council     “Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transgenders (LGBTs) are still demonized, criminalized, attacked, and even killed for who they are.” UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon testified to the UN Human Rights Council he “learned to speak out because lives are at stake and because it is our duty under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to protect the rights of everyone everywhere.” (7 March 2012). The Secretary General made a strong appeal to all countries and all people of conscience to “tackle the violence, decriminalize same sex relationships, end discrimination and educate the public.” Meanwhile in Brussels, the heart of the European Union, a worrying increase of gay bashing has been reported over the last months. In an open letter (2 March 2012) dozens of Belgian public figures condemned violence against LBGTs and made an appeal to “imams and other spiritual leaders” to speak out clearly “gay people or not inferior and violence towards gays is unacceptable. They also have to help to get that message spread.” The European Buddhist Union received these calls for help and wants to take up its responsibility to help people in need. We state explicitly that all Buddhist traditions firmly reject all forms of violence, whether in the form of physical attacks, verbal insults, written and oral hate-terminology or institutionalized forms of discrimination, including those against LGBTs. Someone is not inferior because he or she is born lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. All people – religious or not – should be able to organise their life in a non-harmful way and the secular society should strive for full equality and non-discrimination amongst all its citizens, including sexual minorities. No one should be forced to live according to the rules of a group he or she does not belong to and no group should impose the internal rules for its members on society as a whole. We urge all people to make a clear distinction between ideas and behaviour they might not agree with and a licence for violence towards the people who embody these. Although violence against minorities is often religiously inspired, we are convinced most religious people renounce violence....

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Reports from Bernie Glassman’s Journeys to the Field

      In The Field With Bernie     “This is a very complicated case…you know, a lotta ins, lotta outs, lotta what-have-you’s”.   “Yeah, well, you know, that’s just, like, your opinion, man.” –the Dude in the Big Lebowski       Our First Trip to Sri Lanka~Roshi Eve Marko ​We arrived from India Thursday, Dec 1, 2011,  smack into 32 C degrees with lightning and rain.  It remained 32 with rain and humidity the whole time we were there.  We were brought, after 2.5 hours, to the headquarters of the Sarvodaya Movement. Waiting for us quietly was an 80 year-old man in whites, one of the greatest human beings I’ve met, Dr. Ariyaratne, or just Ari.  I last saw Ari 15 years ago in Yonkers, and before that saw him on his rare visits to Greyston.  He has been officially nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize several times.     Ari was a school teacher many years ago, teaching kids in the old British style in the 1950s, when he decided that was not the way.  He went to a poor village, lived with them, finally assembled everyone and asked them what they needed.  They said a well.  He went to the next village and did the same thing.  They needed a road.  He began to bring the two together for shramadana, or shared work, in which both villages cooperated in building a well for one and a road for the other.  And that was the beginning of Sarvodaya.   Support Bernie’s Journeys.  Become a Friend of Bernie. Top Stories from Sarvodaya   Sri Lanka           Support Bernie’s Journeys.  Become a Friend of Bernie.     Meet Charlie: I found my way to this world through the left-over lumps of clay from Jeff Bridges’ pottery wheel.  After heeding my call to take shape,  the Dude sent me to help his friend Bernie to wage peace around the world.   I feel that I’m not alone.   I believe there are others out there who want to Head for Peace.                         Auschwitz Bearing Witness Retreat Nov 5-9, 2012   Zen Peacemakers http://www.zenpeacemakers.org This message was sent to [email protected] from: Zen Peacemakers...

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On Shambhala SunSpace: Alan Senauke speaks to Saffron Revolution leader U Gambira, others, about Burma’s future

Originally posted by Buddharma Saffron Revolution leader U Gambira at Maggin Monastery, photographed by Hozan Alan Senauke In an exclusive guest-post for Shambhala SunSpace, Hozan Alan Senauke recounts his recent trip to Burma and his meeting with three monks at Maggin Monastery — abbot U Eindaka, senior monk U Issariya, and Saffron Revolution leader Ashin Gambira — as well as Ashin Sandar Thiri, at another monastery. A week earlier, Gambira had been arrested and taken for questioning by authorities investigating allegations of “squatting” at Maggin without registering with the Ministry of Religious Affairs, and breaking into two other monasteries in nearby in Bahan...

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“Reisen, die unser Leben prägen”~Ginni Stern

Journey Stories By Ginni Stern Translation by: Judith N. Levi, Walter Reichard, Ulrich Gantz “Reisen, die unser Leben prägen” Von Ginni Stern, für meinen Vater Victor N. Stern. Er starb am 25. Februar 2008 in einem sauberen Bett. „Die Vergangenheit ist niemals tot. Sie ist noch nicht einmal vergangen.“ ~ William Faulkner MEINE REISEN NACH AUSCHWITZ Meine erste Reise nach Polen, genauer nach Auschwitz, machte ich im November 1996. Ich fuhr zu einem internationalen und interreligiösen Retreat, das Roshi Bernie Glassman, der Gründer der Zen Peacemaker Gemeinschaft, entwickelt hatte. Seitdem sind wir jedes Jahr nach Polen zurückgekehrt um „Zeugnis abzulegen“ – und ich habe diese Retreats in den vergangenen zehn Jahren koordiniert. Als ein Freund davon hörte, dass ich zum wiederholten Mal nach Auschwitz fahren würde, fragte er mich: „Ginni, warum musst Du jedes Jahr nach Auschwitz fahren? Warum machst Du nicht einfach mal Urlaub in Südfrankreich oder am Strand von Saint Croix in der Karibik?“ Manchmal frage ich mich das auch. Anfangs fuhr ich nach Auschwitz, um der Familie meines Vaters zu gedenken, die dort umgebracht wurde … und um aller Menschen zu gedenken, die dort starben. Ich las laut Namen aus den Listen des Archivs des Auschwitz-Museums und habe immer auch die Namen aus der Familie meines Vaters mit gelesen: die seiner Eltern, Brüder und Schwestern, ihrer Frauen, Ehemänner und Kinder – Nichten und Neffen meines Vaters – einige von ihnen noch Babys – insgesamt ungefähr 40 Namen. Ich fahre dorthin, um die drei Grundsätze der Zen Peacemaker zu üben: Nicht wissen (Not-Knowing), Gewahrsein (Bearing Witness), Liebende Aktion (Loving Action). Meinem Freund habe ich schlicht geantwortet: „Ich fahre, um zu gedenken und zu erinnern“. Und ich fahre dorthin, um der Toten zu gedenken. Aber im Laufe der Jahre, als ich im Fernsehen immer mehr Bilder von Kriegen im Nahen Osten, Bosnien, Sri Lanka, Kambodscha, Irland, Ruanda, Darfour, Kongo, Tschad, Afghanistan, Kolumbien, Pakistan und Irak sah, fing ich an mir selbst Fragen zu stellen wie: Warum? Was in der Natur des Menschen treibt Leute immer wieder zu so unmenschlicher Gewalt? Könnte ich auch in eine Situation kommen, dass ich jemanden umbringen würde? Ich bezweifle es, aber was wäre, wenn jemand meine Kinder umbringen oder vergewaltigen wollte? Vielleicht in diesem Fall … Könnte ich...

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Journeys That Shape Our Lives:The Auschwitz Bearing Witness Retreat~Ginni Stern

Reading for Orcas Island, WA Historical Society & Eth-Noh-Tec, a collaboration between the “Smithsonian Institution’s Journey Stories” & Humanities Washington. August 7, 2010 “Journeys That Shape Our Lives”  by Ginni Stern, in honor of my father, Victor N. Stern who died in a clean bed on February 25, 2008. “The past is never dead. It’s never even the past.” ~ William Faulkner MY JOURNEY’S TO AUSCHWITZ My first trip to Poland to visit Auschwitz was in November 1996 for an international, interfaith retreat conceived of by Roshi Bernie Glassman, the founder of the Zen Peacemakers. We have returned to Poland to Bear Witness at Auschwitz annually – and I have served as the retreat coordinator for the past 10 years. Upon hearing I was, once again, returning to Auschwitz, a friend asked, “Ginni why do you feel the need to return to Auschwitz every year? Why don’t you take a vacation to the South of France or a beach on St. Croix?” Sometimes I wonder myself. I began going to Auschwitz to remember my fathers’ family who were murdered there…. and to Remember, by reading names from the Auschwitz Museum Archives, of people who died there, always adding the names of my fathers parents, brothers & sisters, their wives & husbands & their children – my father’s nieces & nephews – some just babies – about 40 in total. I go to practice the Three Tenents of the Zen Peacemakers: Not-Knowing, Bearing Witness and Loving Action, but replied to my friend, simply: “I go to Remember.” And I do go to remember, but over the years, as I watched wars in the Middle East, Bosnia, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Ireland, Rwanda, Darfur, Congo, Chad, Afghanistan, Colombia, Pakistan and Iraq on TV, I began to ask myself questions like: Why? What is it about basic human nature that has been and continues to lead people to resort to such inhumane violence? Could I actually be driven to murder someone? I doubt it, but what if that someone came to kill or rape my children? Then maybe… Could I step into the shoes of the Nazi and kill? The Polish people have left the concentration camp there and offer museum exhibits so people can learn about...

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Dalai Lama offers prayers for victims of violence in Syria, Tibet, and the world over

Originally posted Shamala, Dalai Lama offered prayers to victims of violence in Tibet and Syria. On Tuesday, from his home in exile of Dharamsala, India, the Dalai Lama offered prayers to victims of violence in Tibet and Syria; he also asked that prayer offerings be made to all victims of violence across the world. “People all over the world, especially of late in Syria and in Tibet, are undergoing immense suffering. We should offer our deepest prayers for all those, living and dead, in these places of violence,” said His Holiness. His words come during a particularly difficult week inside of Tibet, with three self-immolation protests having taken place. On March 3 and 4, a teenage girl and a mother of four self-immolated in Amdo and Ngaba, followed by an 18-year- old in Ngaba on March 5. More on this story via Phayul.com. (Photo by paddy patterson via Flickr, using a CC-BY license.) This entry was created by Sun Staff, posted on March 7, 2012 at 2:02 pm and tagged Dalai Lama, Politics, Tibet. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post....

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Activists petition attempts to stop Voice of America radio broadcasts in Tibet

Originally posted by Buddhadharma. The Tibetan history with 24 self-immolations just in the past year alone, and US President Barack Obama.The Petition is out there, what will he do?         Change.org is currently hosting a petition to US President Barack Obama, asking him to prevent the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), “a US Federal agency which operates the Voice of America (VOA),” from ceasing VOA’s broadcasts to Tibet. In a comment to Buddhadharma News, Tenzin Wangmo, executive board member at Students for a Free Tibet, put the petition into perspective, stating: “The Chinese government censors news about Tibet to the outside world, clamping down on bloggers, writers, artists and journalists when they try to report on Tibet’s current situation. The demand for more news organizations like Voice of America is increasing, especially at this critical time in Tibetan history with 24 self-immolations just in the past year alone. Yet instead the BBG is trying to cut off this important organization that links Tibetans in Tibet with the outside world. Tibetans are resisting the Chinese occupation and demanding their freedom. The world needs to hear this, and Voice of America links the world community to Tibet. We cannot allow this bridge to be broken.” You can add your name to the petition here:...

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Aung San Suu Kyi receives honorary Canadian citizenship

Originally posted by Buddhadharma  Aung San Suu Kyi now joins four others who have received this high honor, including His Holiness the Dalai Lama Nobel laureate and activist Aung San Suu Kyi was presented with honorary Canadian citizenship on Thursday at her home in Burma. Approved by the House of Commons in 2007, Suu Kyi has only now received the certificate, delivered in person by the Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird. Aung San Suu Kyi now joins four others who have received this high honor, including His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Nelson Mandela. More, with a link to video, follows. The two met for an hour or so on Thursday and discussed upcoming elections in Burma. Suu Kyi is pleased to see some of the reforms that have taken place but remains skeptical also. During her meeting with Baird, Suu Kyi addressed a crowd of reporters from her porch, saying: “We have just discovered there are many, many irregularities on the voters’ lists and we have applied to the election commission to do something about this. A lot of dead people seem to be prepared to vote on the first of April.” To read more on this story and to watch video of the event, CTV News has the full story. You may also wish to check out Hozan Alan Senauke’s recent piece on Burma’s future over at Shambhala...

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From the current Buddhadharma: Preview “I Vow to Be Political”

Originally posted by Buddhadharma A debate on the most skillful strategies to benefit society. Many Buddhists feel political and social engagement is an integral part of their practice. In our Spring magazine, David Loy, Joan Sutherland, and Mushim Ikeda debate the most skillful strategies to benefit society. Read Melvin McLeod’s introduction to this issue’s Forum...

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Our first trip to Sri Lanka ~ Roshi Eve Marko

We arrived from India Thursday, Dec 1, 2011,  smack into 32 C degrees with lightning and rain.  It remained 32 with rain and humidity the whole time we were there.  We were brought, after 2.5 hours, to the headquarters of the Sarvodaya Movement. Waiting for us quietly was an 80 year-old man in whites, one of the greatest human beings I’ve met, Dr. Ariyaratne, or just Ari.  I last saw Ari 15 years ago in Yonkers, and before that saw him on his rare visits to Greyston.  He has been officially nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize several times. Ari was a school teacher many years ago, teaching kids in the old British style in the 1950s, when he decided that was not the way.  He went to a poor village, lived with them, finally assembled everyone and asked them what they needed.  They said a well.  He went to the next village and did the same thing.  They needed a road.  He began to bring the two together for shramadana, or shared work, in which both villages cooperated in building a well for one and a road for the other.  And that was the beginning of Sarvodaya. Sarvodaya’s Chart of Human Needs Sarvodaya literally means Enlightenment for all. It perfectly describes his philosophy, which is that first you work inside yourself spiritually to discover who you really are, the One consciousness that pervades and connects us all, and once you’ve experienced that then working with others is basically natural.  You don’t cheat or lie or hate or abuse anyone, because they are you.  Sarvodaya now is a network of 15,000 villages working together to improve their lives.  They don’t rely on the government for running water or electricity because the government is corrupt; they help each other out to get those things.  They build their own roads.  Through an alternative banking system they get microcredit for small businesses. They run their own kindergartens and schools, youth programs and programs for young mothers and the elderly.  Many, many people are part of the movement, certainly enough to create another political party.  Ari long ago decided to stay out of politics, though at one time he was asked to serve as Prime Minister.  He has also been...

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HELP WANTED: WordPress Bug Fixing volunteer

The Zen Peacemakers builds, maintains and develops its online presence through a team of dedicated online volunteers.  We are looking for a new recruit to this team who will dedicate 2-4 hours per week for a limited or ongoing basis.  Currently, we are looking for someone with some WordPress experience who could help us with a number of bugs.  If you have WordPress experience, you may know how to fix these problems.  Otherwise, this may be an opportunity to do some research online, doing web searches or participating in the WordPress forums. These bugs include:  Fixing the search feature on our homepage, removing the word “posted” from the tops of our pages and making text easier to read. If you would like to join the inner core of our online community and participate in spreading a message of peace and compassion throughout the world, please e-mail [email protected] expressing what you would like to work on, how many hours you can dedicate per week and what experience you bring to the...

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PRESS RELEASE The Dude and the Zen Master: Jeff Bridges & Bernie Glassman to publish book

JEFF BRIDGES AND ROSHI BERNIE GLASSMAN TO PUBLISH BOOK FOR BLUE RIDER PRESS The Dude and the Zen Master is set to release Fall 2012  PRESS RELEASE March 12, 2012 –New York, NY –  Blue Rider Press announced today it has acquired world rights to publish a book by Academy Award-winning actor Jeff Bridges and Zen Peacemakers founder Bernie Glassman tentatively entitled, THE DUDE AND THE ZEN MASTER.  Inspired by dharma talks between Bridges and his long-time friend, Zen Master Glassman, the book explores the meaning of life, laughter, the movies and trying to do good in a difficult world.    The book is set for publication in November 2012.  Blue Rider Press president and publisher David Rosenthal acquired the rights from David Schiff at The Schiff Company in association with CAA. Revealing the inspiration for the book, Bridges said: “Making movies and life have a lot in common.  When you’re making a movie you’ve got a finite amount of time to do what you’re going to do.  It’s a communal art form, collaborative. You work together with other artists to come up with something groovy, something beautiful. Life’s like that, too.” He added: “On a movie set I do my best to keep my head and heart open. My favorite part of the whole deal is jamming with the other artists, getting to know them, sharing the excitement of what we’re up to, and inspiring each other. That means intimacy.  I look for that in life as well.  That’s why I hooked up with Bernie, to make the most of this wonderful experience called Life.” Bernie Glassman said of the book: “I always like finding new ways of expressing the essence of Zen, which for me is all about the oneness and interdependence of life. The Dude’s life is different from mine, and not so different. And our life is different from other people’s lives, and not so different. So Jeff and I have hung out over the years and examined together how we live our one life in the best, freest, and most joyful way possible.” ”Jeff and Bernie’s book is genre bending,” said Blue Rider Press publisher Rosenthal. “It’s a spiritual guide, an entertainment and an exceptional lesson in true friendship. “...

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NY Times: Words of Wisdom From Jeff Bridges & Bernie Glassman

Originally from NY Times.   The Dude is putting his wisdom on paper. Jeff Bridges, below, the Oscar-winning actor from “Crazy Heart” who also starred memorably in “The Big Lebowski,” is writing a book with his friend Bernie Glassman, founder of the spiritual social-action group Zen Peacemakers. The publishers said the book intends to “explore the meaning of life, laughter, the movies and trying to do good in a difficult world.” Blue Rider Press, an imprint of Penguin Group USA, is to release the book, tentatively titled “The Dude and the Zen Master,” this fall. “On a movie set I do my best to keep my head and heart open,” Mr. Bridges said in a statement. “My favorite part of the whole deal is jamming with the other artists, getting to know them, sharing the excitement of what we’re up to, and inspiring each other. That means intimacy. I look for that in life as well.” David Rosenthal, the publisher of Blue Rider Press, called the book “a spiritual guide, an entertainment and an exceptional lesson in true friendship.” A version of this brief appeared in print on March 12, 2012, on page C3 of the New York edition with the headline: Words of Wisdom From Jeff...

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VRT Notable Videos for Adults 2012 winners

Originally posted by The American Library Association. For additional information on these films and this matter please follow the link provided above.   2012 Notable Videos for Adults A Film Unfinished. 90 minutes. Oscilloscope Laboratories. DVD. $19.99. Available from most distributors.  Recently discovered footage sheds a new light on Nazi propaganda.  Freedom Riders. 120 minutes. 2011. PBS Home Video.  DVD. $24.99.  Available from most distributors. A group of white and black Civil Rights activists who traveled by bus together to challenge the segregated south through non-violent tactics. Mugabe and the White African.  94 minutes. 2010. First Run Features.  DVD. $27.99.  Available from most distributors.  A family of African farmers confront the Mugabe regime. Battle for Brooklyn.  93 minutes. 2011. Rumor Films. DVD. $295 (Universities and Colleges), http://battleforbrooklyn.com/education  Chronicles the fight against the Atlantic Yards Project which attempted to displace local residents for new development. Hot Coffee. 86 minutes. 2011. Docurama. DVD. $29.99.  Available from most distributors.  A notorious cup of spilt coffee is pivotal to tort reform laws. A Small Act.  88 minutes.  2011.  Ro*co.  DVD. $295 (Universities and Colleges) $95 (K-12). http://www.rocofilms.com/  A small gift from a Swedish schoolteacher has a life-long impact on a young Kenyan boy. Catfish. 88 minutes. 2011. Universal Studios Home Entertainment. DVD. $19.99. Available from most distributors.  Online woman of your dreams may not be what she appears. Better This World. 89 minutes. 2011. Bullfrog Films. $295. (Universities and Colleges). www.bullfrogfilms.com Follows the lives of two political protesters accused of domestic terrorism during the 2008 Republican National Convention. Neshoba: the price of freedom. 87 minutes. 2011. First Run Features. DVD. $27.99.  Available from most distributors.  Chronicles the long-awaited trial of Edgar Ray Killen and the slow healing process in the 1964 murder of three Civil Rights activists. Bonecrusher. 72 minutes. 2010. New Day Films. DVD. $249 (Universities and Colleges)/Public libraries $119.  www.newday.com An Appalachian coal miner follows in his father’s footsteps. The Labyrinth: The testimony of Marian Kolodziej. 37 minutes. 2011. December 2nd Productions. DVD. $99 public libraries and $190 (Universities and Colleges). http://thelabyrinthdocumentary.com/store.html  Nearly fifty years after his internment in Auschwitz, Mariam Kolodziej crafts a series of haunting art. The Flaw. 82 minutes. 2011. Bullfrog Films. $295 (Universities and Colleges). http://www.bullfrogfilms.com/ Traces how a major “flaw” in...

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Why They Are Burning Themselves

Originally posted by About.com.  Self-immolation: A Tibetan nun stands ablaze in a Chinese street in the latest protest against the region’s rule by China. (Picture added by ZPM) Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2064258/Horrifying-image-Tibetan-nun-flames-street-latest-self-immolation-protest-China.html#ixzz1o0tZVMMb At the Atlantic there’s an interview of Robert Barnett, Director of the Modern Tibet Studies Program at Columbia University, on the recent incidents of self-immolations of Tibetan monks and nuns in China. Barnett has some perspectives on the situation I don’t believe I have seen elsewhere. Barnett spoke of the large demonstrations that broke out in Tibet in 2008, some of which spiraled into violence. The violence allowed the Chinese government to avoid discussion of the underlying issues, he said. The self-immolations send a message to the government that, it is hoped, Beijing will not be able to brush aside because it does not involve unrest or property damage. Barnett also says many of the current problems can be traced to a change in Chinese policy that began in 1994. Beijing “decided to focus above all on attacking the Dalai Lama by forcing monks and nuns to denounce him and greatly increasing regulations concerning monasteries and religion,” Barnett says. At first this policy was being enforced in what is called the Tibetan Autonomous Region, but in the last ten years it has been applied to Chinese provinces east of the TAR with large ethnic Tibetan populations, notably Qinghai and Sichuan. Most of the 23 reported self-immolations happened in Sichuan. Barnett says these areas had been mostly peaceful since the 1970s. The current unrest is directly caused by China’s decision to institute re-education programs in the monasteries and ban devotion to the Dalai Lama. Barnett also says the self-immolations are respected by the Tibetans, if carried out by monks or nuns for a selfless purpose. Beijing’s attempts to portray the monks and nuns as brainwashed fanatics have so far failed. Meanwhile, Jamil Anderlini writes in the Financial Times that there has been less unrest in Qinghai than in Sichuan because, for some reason, Chinese officials are more tolerant in Qinghai. Qinghai has had only two self-immolations, Anderlini says, which makes me think the “tolerance” may be a bit...

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Tibet supporters ask for intervention from the international community

Originally posted by Buddhadharma. “The Tibetan Youth Congress strongly calls on governments of this world and the United Nations to heed to the demands of the Tibetans suffering in Tibet. “ February 25 found three men fasting in front of the United Nations building in New York, urging international bodies to apply more pressure on China regarding Tibet. The Tibetan Youth Congress has released a letter announcing what is being called the Indefinite Fast for Tibet. Biographies of the three participants can be found at the link above and include H.E. 11th Shingza Rinpoche Tenzin Choekyi Gyaltsen, Dorjee Gyalpo, and Mr.Yeshi Tenzing. Here is a passage from the announcement: “The Tibetan Youth Congress strongly calls on governments of this world and the United Nations to heed to the demands of the Tibetans suffering in Tibet. “If you do not take the responsibilities to sincerely uphold the universal fundamental rights of human beings, you become willing accomplices to China’s inhumane crimes towards Tibetans. If you do not take immediate actions to help douse the burning flames inside Tibet, you become accountable to every growing casualty within the Tibetan population.” In related news, a delegation of 32 exiled Tibetans in India marched to the offices of the United Nations and European Union in New Delhi to deliver a memorandum “seeking their help in resolving the issue with the Chinese and stopping alleged Chinese atrocities on Tibetans.” The memorandum was literally penned in the blood of participants at the march. Tenzin Tashi, a marcher, said, “We hope to get a positive response from the UN very soon.”...

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Just my opinion, man! A new feature with Bernie’s answers to common questions

Question: How can I study with you? Bernie’s opinion: I am frequently on the road and you can join me there. It is possible that I will be giving a Workshop near you. A diverse multi-faith group gathers every year, in November, to bear witness at Auschwitz. Another kind of Bearing Witness Retreat will be taking place, with me in April 2012, on theStreets of New York. I invite you to become a “Friend of Bernie.” There are various categories of membership starting at $9 per month. All Friends of Bernie are invited to join me on my Street Retreats (this requires a registration fee and “raising a mala”.) A question and discussion platform is being devised to have more frequent contact. I am also planning a study format based on my books: Instructions to the Cook, Bearing Witness and Infinite Circle. In addition to the above, Partners (starting at $108 per month) are invited to join me and other Partners in a Bi-annual Webinar where we will have studies and discussions between all of us. The webinars will be limited in attendance so that we will have intimacy. I will schedule enough webinars to insure that all Partners that wish to join can do so. In addition to the above, Sustainers  (starting at $10,800 per year) are invited to join me and other Sustainers on a Quarterly Webinar. Sustainers are also invited to join me on myJourneys to the Field to serve in various areas of the globe (including Sri Lanka, Israel, Palestine, New York, Rwanda, Brazil.) Sustainers receive a Head for Peace made by Jeff Bridges and are invited to Head for Peacegatherings. Read more questions. Become a Friend of Bernie. Bernie Glassman and the Zen Peacemakers are frequently on the road working to bear witness, wage peace and inspire hope in the corners of the globe touched by war, poverty and genocide.  ...

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Pioneering Buddhist Chaplaincy and Pastoral Work.

Originally posted by Rev. Danny Fisher. The Arts of Contemplative Care: Pioneering Voices in Buddhist Chaplaincy and Pastoral Work. Lets really take a look at the depth of how this some-what new concept will change forever the very depth of Buddhism. Just a Buddhist Minister Trying to Benefit Beings Please “Like” the Facebook Page for Wisdom Publications’ Upcoming Volume The Arts of Contemplative Care: Pioneering Voices in Buddhist Chaplaincy and Pastoral Work (Which Includes a Chapter by Yours Truly.) by Danny Fisher I’m very happy to share with you all that I am a contributor to Wisdom Publications’ upcoming volume The Arts of Contemplative Care: Pioneering Voices in Buddhist Chaplaincy and Pastoral Work, edited by Harvard Divinity School profs Cheryl A. Giles and Willa B. Miller. My chapter, “May You Always Be a Student,” is part of a section of the book about university and military chaplaincy. It’s about what I’ve learned during my time working as Coordinator of the Buddhist Chaplaincy Program at University of the West. Other contributors include Roshi Joan Halifax, Lew Richmond, Grace Schireson, Robert Chodo Campbell, Koshin Paley Ellison, Dean Sluyter, Sumi Loundon Kim, Daijaku Judith Kinst, Wakoh Shannon Hickey, Jennifer Block, and many more. The book now has a cover (look above and to the left), and an official Facebook page. Please “like” the page if you’re a Facebook person — and read the book when it arrives! It will be published sometime in the fall of 2012, but that’s as specific as I can be right now. I’ll let you know more precise information as soon as I get...

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Video: Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan talks about “A Mindful Nation”

Originally posted by Shambhala Sunspace. Watch the video of how Tim Ryan connects a practical approach with a hopeful vision on how mindfulness can reinvigorate our core American values and transform and revitalize our communities. “I felt like I would be derelict in my duty as a member of the United States Congress if I didn’t try to push this stuff out into society. We’ve got a responsibility, when we get sworn in to be a member of congress, to try and help our constituents and help our country. […] Our country’s going through too much right now. Our soldiers are suffering too much, parents and teachers, all down the line… and now’s the time for us to implement this.” That’s just a sample of what Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan has to say about mindfulness in this video trailer for his forthcoming book A Mindful Nation. (We’ve included a transcription, below, as well.) Ryan also talks about his own experience with mindfulness and how the practice has the potential of making a tremendous difference for our society. Ryan, you may recall, is a devoted mindfulness advocate and was a keynote speaker at fall 2011’s Creating a Mindful Society conference. Click here to watch video from the conference online, or read about it in this article from the last Shambhala Sun magazine. Ryan’s book, A Mindful Nation, will be released in late March of this year. Transcription: “Growing up I spent about 12 years in Catholic school—Our Lady of Mount Carmel grade school, and John F. Kennedy Catholic High School—and I remember on numerous occasions being told by the nuns and the brothers and the teachers to pay attention. No one ever taught us how to pay attention, and one of the things that I really like about the practice of mindfulness, and moving this into the field of education—teaching our teachers about mindfulness and social and emotional learning, teaching our students how to practice mindfulness—is you’re actually giving them a technique, and a skill set, on how to mobilize their attention, and place it on a problem that they’re dealing with in their classroom. “Or to listen to their teachers. And mindfulness teaches these kids how to pay attention. It teaches them how they are...

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Now offered: Buddhist Track in Masters of Arts in Pastoral Care and Counseling

Originally posted by Buddhadharm This film is a vignette of the contemplative care work of the New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care in New York City. The poem, “Love and Fear” is by the poet Michael Leunig, from the book “A Common Prayer,” published by Harper Collins. Please follow the link provided below   In a recent press release, the New York Theological Seminary announced a partnership with the New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care to offer a Buddhist track within their existing Master of Arts in Pastoral Care and Counseling graduate program. The 48-credit degree can be completed within two years and is fully accredited. Click here for more information. You can learn more about the work of the New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care in Clinical Pastoral Education in this video: ~ by the poet Michael Leunig, from the book “A Common Prayer~...

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Saffron Revolution leader U Gambira charged with “repeatedly breaking Buddhist monks’ code of conduct” in Burma

Originally posted by Buddharma (SSMNC) has charged U Gambira with “repeatedly breaking the Buddhist monks’ code of conduct. We’ve previously brought you stories about U Gambira, the embattled Burmese activist monk who helped to lead 2007’s “Saffron Revolution” — stories about his imprisonment by the Burmese government, recent release from prison, and brief arrest last week. Following last week’s incident, the State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee (SSMNC) has charged U Gambira with “repeatedly breaking the Buddhist monks’ code of conduct.” Mizzima, the Burmese multimedia news organization, offers a special editorial on the incident this week that helps put into perspective the relationship between the SSMNC and the historically military-controlled...

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Eco Dharma Centre | Radical Ecology Radical Dharma

Originally posted by Ecodharmacentre.   Engaged Buddhist Training  how deep , how shallow? Engaged Buddhist Training “It’s my experience that the world itself has a role to play in our liberation. It’s very pressures, pains and risks can wake us up – release us from the bonds of ego and guide us home to our vast true nature.” – Joanna Macy The ecodharma Engaged Buddhist Training series sits within the general framework of Self + Society: a radical response.   The approach equips us to answer for ourselves the following questions: What does the social and ecological context mean for the practice of Dharma today? What does Dharma practice have to offer our times? And, what does this mean for our collective practice of Dharma as a community of practitioners or Sangha? The approach we are developing at Ecodharma suggests that individuals and communities need to work simultaneously on the inner and outer work of transforming self and society. The tools and methods of the Buddhist tradition have proven themselves over many centuries to enable radical personal and collective transformation. In our practice the creative tension between self transformation and social engagement acts as an important catalyst for liberation.   Today the 3-fold practice of ethics, meditation, and insight can enable us to: Develop a focused integration of our energies and motivations, necessary for consistent, inspired and committed action. Root our experience in emotional resilience, which supports us to stay open and responsive – avoiding the dangers of emotional hardening, cynicism, and overwhelm. Tap into the deeper resources we need to face the challenges of our times – the courage, clarity and open heartedness we need to find creative responses that carry us beyond cycles of hope and hopelessness. Learn how to live a life dedicated to the service of others without falling into the unhealthy traps of self-sacrifice. Activate our capacity to make a difference, emphasizing our agency and responsibility, without succumbing to the inflated stories of control and human domination which lead to exploitation and ecological damage. Put into effective practice the ethical principles of kindness, generosity, and skilful communication, which strengthen the basis for collective action and shared vision. Acquire the skills and abilities to build groups and communities that are...

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Daily Life and Truly Engaged Buddhism…

Originally posted by Notes in Samsara. It’s something people use as an escape from their own position. I’m not big on the engaged Buddhism thing. It’s not that I am not politically in tune with many of the engaged Buddhists’ goals.  But rather, too much of it is cause tourism – and by that I mean it’s something people use as an escape from their own position, if the issues in which they’re engaged are far removed from their own existence. It’s kind of like the left-wing version of the right wing’s fixation on abortion and contraception, and for all I know serves many of the same goals – that is to say, there may exist those that instigate such things for the sole purpose of distracting.  The latter point though is not important at all – that is, whether or not there are people who are intentionally cranking up some kind of Wurlitzer is irrelevant.  If there’s crankers, let ’em crank – that’s not my problem per se.  My problem is simply keeping in mind the answers to the three questions, more or less, in such a way that things get done that actually benefit beings. I’m in the midst of all the things that come with family life at my age in this time, the whole shebang  and its various accretions thereon as it were: the joy, the humor, the teaching all around, the frustration, the problems, the worries, etc.  This is where practice is. Other folks, I’m sure, have other practices suited to where they are in life.  But in no way should we substitute practice where we are, at this point in time, for alienation via distraction. Why are you a Buddhist? Tricycle has had/is having some kind of campaign to encourage meditation.  All well and good, I say, but how about a campaign to realize the Way moment to moment in one’s life? Posted by Mumon at 11:31 AM Labels: Buddhist Ethics, Daily Practice, Parent Practice, Philosophy...

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Protests held in Des Moines during visit of China’s VP Xi Jinping

Originally posted by Budddhdarma. Protests began in Washington upon Xi Jinping’s arrival in the United States on Monday Several hundred Tibetans and their supporters rallied at the Iowa Statehouse on Wednesday to protest the arrival of Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping for a dinner engagement. Xi Jinping will likely take over as president of China by next year. Security details shielded the Chinese envoy from protesters, having closed off the Capital grounds to anyone but lawmakers, politicians, government officials, and credentialed media personnel. Protesters were relegated to an area hundreds of yards away, where they held a candleight vigil. According to the WCF Courrier, Xi Jinping was there to enjoy a “dinner of bacon-wrapped pork, butternut squash and sweet corn cheesecake.” Xi Jinping’s visit here to the United States comes at a time when China’s relationship with Tibet is at an all-time low. Protests began in Washington upon Xi Jinping’s arrival in the United States on Monday, which led to arrests in the nation’s Capital. According to Tibet Post International’s coverage, “Tibet supporters and five hundred Tibetans from Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois traveled to Iowa today to continue the wave of protests targeting China’s future President, Xi Jinping, during his US...

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Originally posted by Dangerous Harvests.   Over at his blog Notes in Samsara, Mumon has a post that takes up engaged Buddhism and being engaged in one’s daily life. In it, he offers the following observation about what commonly falls under the engaged Buddhism banner: too much of it is cause tourism – and by that I mean it’s something people use as an escape from their own position, if the issues in which they’re engaged are far removed from their own existence. Cause tourism. You know, that’s a pretty useful term there. And while I might not fully agree with how much of it is going on amongst Buddhist circles, it’s definitely something that happens – far too often. People running off to poor countries to “save the children.” Others starting up organizations that end up being more about helping a small number of individual activists maintain upper middle class lives than they are about truly transforming the world. There are plenty of examples of how “vowing to do good” – one of the pure precepts – goes quite bad. But I’m not interested in that today. What interests me is the rest of Mumon’s statement. Particularly this: “if the issues in which they’re engaged are far removed from their own existence.” As someone who has been involved in various social justice oriented work and activism for nearly twenty years now, one thing I have learned is that the majority of social issues that challenge humans – or the planet for that matter – are happening right down the street. Or in the next neighborhood. Or just across town. Or less than an hour or two drive from your doorstep. When most Americans think of slavery, they think of something happening in direly poor nations far away from them, if they think slavery exists at all. (Plenty believe it’s something entirely from the past.) And yet, every year, stories of slavery or near slavery emerge right here in the U.S., often involving highly vulnerable, undocumented immigrants, some of whom were forcibly brought to the U.S. in the first place. Images of Ethiopia, and other Africa nations, are almost always associated with starvation, and rampant malnutrition. What about the people in your neighborhood? In 2010,...

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A rollicking night of music for Tibet House

Originally posted by SunSpace. The great music site Consequence of Sound has a report, with select video and pictures. Check it out here. Monday night at Tibet House’s big annual benefit concert, collaboration, improvisation, and good cheer seems to have ruled the evening: Laurie Anderson joined Philip Glass onstage, Philip Glass and Rahzel joined Lou Reed on stage (see photo, left), Rahzel played with a string section… Also performing were Magnetic Fields frontman Stephin Merritt, James Blake, Das Racist, singer Dechen Shak-Dagsay, and violinist Tim Fain. The great music site Consequence of Sound has a report, with select video and pictures. Check it out here. This entry was created by Sun Staff, posted on February 15, 2012 at 11:58 am and tagged Events, Music. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this...

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Hundreds of Tibetan activists stage protest in Washington, DC

Originally posted by Buddhadharma. hundreds of Tibetans and their supporters staged protests While China’s next President, Xi Jinping, came to Washington on Monday for a Tuesday visit with President Obama, hundreds of Tibetans and their supporters staged protests in the nation’s capitol, calling for a free Tibet. Protests began when two climbers rappelled over the Arlington Memorial Bridge to unfurl a banner that read “Xi Jinping: Tibet Will Be Free.” The climbers were later arrested, along with two others. According to Tibet Post International, protests included a “rally and march from the Chinese Embassy to the White House, a mass Buddhist prayer offering, life-size puppets, solidarity rallies, and a candlelight vigil.” Xi Jinping is expected to become China’s next leader in 2013, after a transitional period that will occur later this year. His visit comes at a time when Tibet finds itself in real turmoil, following the two most recent self-immolation protests carried out by Tibetan teens. More protests are planned for today, when Xi Jinping meets with President Obama....

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Greyston Bakery First of New York Roll Out Benefit Corporations

Originally posted by The Care2Team blog. This new law has the ability to transform the State and national economy by creating businesses that must create benefit for society and the environment in addition to profit.     Secretary of State On Hand to Help 13 Businesses (Including the Greyston Bakery) Become Benefit Corporations On First Day Investors Interested in Businesses that Solve Social Problems New York, NY: New York Secretary of State Cesar A. Perales was on hand to accept filing papers from New York’s first benefit corporations, a new kind of corporation that became available in New York for the first time today. Created when Governor Cuomo signed S.79-A (Squadron)/ A.4692-A (Silver), the benefit corporation passed both houses unanimously. This new law has the ability to transform the State and national economy by creating businesses that must create benefit for society and the environment in addition to profit.  Thirteen businesses from across the State rushed to adopt the new corporate form as they build a new economy.  One company even left Delaware and incorporated in New York State to take advantage of this innovative corporate form.  Currently seven states, including New York, have enacted benefit corporation laws. “The creation of benefit corporations in New York is a testament to the strength of this global movement to redefine success in business” said Andrew Kassoy, Co-Founder of B Lab, a non-profit organization that supported the legislation.  “New York is the heart of global finance and now interested investors in New York have a way to make sure their money is doing much more than just making a profit.” Benefit corporations are a new kind of corporation legally required to: 1) have a corporate purpose to create a material positive impact on society and the environment; 2) expand fiduciary duty to require consideration of the interests of workers, community and the environment; and 3) publicly report annually on its overall social and environmental performance using a comprehensive, credible, independent, and transparent third party standard.  Traditional corporate law requires corporations to prioritize the financial interests of shareholders over the interests of workers, communities, and the environment. “This legislation is a validation of the double-bottom line mission that Greyston Bakery has championed for the past 30 years and we are proud to be...

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Das Racist, Lou Reed, Philip Glass, Stephin Merritt and more to rock Feb 13 Tibet House benefit

Originally posted by Shambhala SunSpace. Annual NYC benefit concert. Each year Tibet House’s annual NYC benefit concert gets more and more diverse in terms of performers, and 2012’s event is no exception. Featured acts will include Philip Glass, Laurie Anderson, Das Racist, Antony, James Blake, Lou Reed, Stephin Merritt of The Magnetic Fields, Rahzel, and Dechen Shak-Daysay. The show will take place one week from tonight — that is, on Monday, Feb 13 — and you can order your tickets by calling Carnegie Charge at 212-247-7800, or in person at the Carnegie Hall Box Office.     Read More @ Source...

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Interview with Dana Wiki’s Joshua Eaton about #OWS and @OccupyBuddhism at My Patheos Blog

Originally posted by Rev. Danny Fisher.   Check out the brand new interview with the great Joshua Eaton (founder of Dana Wiki). by Danny Fisher “Photo from around Zuccotti Park on Day 36 of Occupy Wall Street in New York, Friday, October 21.” Photo by David Shankbone. Please check out my brand new interview with the great Joshua Eaton (founder of Dana Wiki) for my new Patheos blog Off the Cushion. In it we talk Buddhism and the #Occupy movement. It’s a really good discussion — don’t miss this one. I previously interviewed Joshua once before about Dana Wiki for Shambhala Sun Space. He’s a really great interview subject, let me tell you! Don’t forget to follow him on [email protected][email protected] Read our interview here....

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Charlie: Head for Peace Gathering with Jeff Bridges in San Francisco

I found my way to this world through the left-over lumps of clay from Jeff Bridges’ pottery wheel. After heeding my call to take shape, he, the Dude, sent me to help his friend Bernie to wage peace around the world. I feel that I’m not alone. I believe there are others out there who want to Head for Peace. On February 4, I got to travel with Bernie to San Francisco to meet with Jeff Bridges and the rest of the Head for Peace family. As Bernie begins to plan my upcoming journeys to the field, street retreats and work with the “Let All Eat” Cafés and Greyston Foundation this year, he is inviting a community of people to join in this work.  Please click here to become a Friend of Bernie to learn about getting involved. I invite you to follow our journeys together through my blog posts and by liking me on Facebook. You can also follow the whole Head for Peace family  and check out the Head for Peace web page, which details the story of the heads and showcases some Head Keepers.                ...

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Travels with Charlie: Actor, Activist Jeff Bridges Supports Greyston Foundation, Bernie Glassman

Originally posted in the Westchester Wag Click image below and press Ctrl+(+) or Apple+(+) to zoom in  ...

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What is Socially Engaged Buddhism?

Originally posted by Buddhist Peace Fellowship. In this post Thich Nhat Hanh speaks words of wisdom associated with engaged  Buddhism. What is Socially Engaged Buddhism? Lets take a look at it from the perception of the mind of a monk. Change Your MInd Day 2008 BPF Socially engaged Buddhism is a dharma practice that flows from the understanding of the complete yet complicated interdependence of all life. It is the practice of the bodhisattva vow to save all beings. It is to know that the liberation of ourselves and the liberation of others are inseparable. It is to transform ourselves as we transform all our relationships and our larger society. It is work at times from the inside out and at times from the outside in, depending on the needs and conditions. It is is to see the world through the eye of the Dharma and to respond emphatically and actively with compassion.  (Donald Rothberg and Hozan Alan Senauke, Turning Wheel Magazine/Summer-Fall – 2008) Thich Nhat Hanh: What Is Engaged...

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Desmond Tutu visits Dalai Lama in India

Originally posted by Buddhadharma. The Most Reverend Desmond Tutu, Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town, visited Dharamsala, India, Friday and met with his friend and fellow Nobel Peace laureate, the 14th Dalai Lama. His Holiness was invited to Archbishop Tutu’s eightieth birthday celebrations in Pretoria late last year, but denied a visa by the South African government (whom Archbishop Tutu then accused of cowing to the Chinese government). You can find out more about Archbishop Tutu’s visit — and also download photos, video, and recordings from it —...

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Aung San Suu Kyi delivered Wallenberg medal by University of Michigan

Nobel Peace laureate and Burmese activist Aung San Suu Kyi wasrecently delivered the Wallenberg Medal by the University of Michigan via Dominic Nardi. She was originally awarded the honor in 2011 but could not travel to receive it in person at the time. According to an article in the university’s Exploremagazine,”Nardi was one of the best candidates to deliver the Wallenberg medal to Suu Kyi because Burma, also known as Myanmar, is one of his research interests.” The article covers the delivery and their meeting in depth. Raoul Wallenberg was a Swedish diplomat who helped rescue tens of thousands of Jews in Budapest toward the end of World War II. The Wallenberg Medal and Lecture website: “Undaunted and fearless through many years of detention and efforts to intimidate her, in speaking out for democracy and human rights in Burma, Aung San Suu Kyi exemplifies the courage and commitment to the humanitarian values of Raoul Wallenberg.” Read all about the history of the Medal here. Past recipients include the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Watch this prerecorded lecture from 2011, played at the 21st Annual Raoul Wallenberg Lecture, followed by a then-live Q&A session with Aung San Suu...

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Energy and Altruism

Originally posted by About.com.  You can’t will bodhicitta! The third aspect of virya paramita, the perfection of energy, is altruism. The dictionary defines “altruism” as unselfish regard for the well-being of others. In Buddhism, this unselfish regard for others  is something that arises naturally from practice. As our grip on our ego loosens, and wisdom grows, compassion grows as well. In fact, wisdom and compassion are inextricably linked. Most of us begin practice with self-benefit in mind. Yes, we’re warned to not expect to gain anything, but we expect it anyway. But at some point, sooner or later, there’s a turning around of our concern, and a genuine desire to practice for others arises. This is bodhicitta. You can’t will bodhicitta, I don’t think. Even dedicating yourself to charitable work is not necessarily bodhicitta, if you are still attaching your ego to what you do. Genuine bodhicitta arises from practice. So, you might ask, what does this have to do with energy? Many of us find that the turning away from self-concern is energizing. The late Lama Thubten Yeshe said, “Bodhicitta energy is alchemical. It transforms all your ordinary actions of body, speech and mind – your entire life into positivity and benefit for others, like iron transmuted into gold.” I believe there are Tibetan tantric practices that visualize bodhicitta flowing through energy channels in the body. This certainly sounds energizing! Even without that specific visualization, however, as we turn away from self-concern we are also opening up and breaking down the walls that define “me.” And as we do that, on a subtle level we tap into the energy of the universe. At the same time, we no longer put so much energy into protecting ourselves. Personal failure becomes an empty concept, no longer weighing us down, because practice is no longer about “just me.” This isn’t a state reached all at once. You may experience boundless confidence one day and be locked back up in negativity the next. But now you know that boundless confidence is possible, so keep...

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Study: MBSR helps breast cancer survivors with depression

Originally posted by Shambhalasun.    Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) training effectively helps breast cancer survivors cope with emotional distress. Via Mindful.org: A women’s health study, published in the Western Journal of Nursing Research, has revealed that mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) training effectively helps breast cancer survivors cope with emotional distress. Researchers at the University of Missouri’s Sinclair School of Nursing in the US provided such patients with group sessions for eight to ten weeks and found their respiratory rate, pulse and blood pressure were lowered and their mood improved after participating in the program. Previous research has shown 50 percent of those who have had the disease suffer from depression. Professor of nursing Jane Armer said: “Post diagnosis, breast cancer patients often feel like they have no control over their lives. “Knowing that they can control something — such as meditation — and that it will improve their health, gives them hope that life will be normal again,” she added. For more, see this special collection of honest and supportive pieces about coping with cancer via mindfulness, from...

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Buddhism and human rights: the Kantian dhamma

Originally posted by The Nation. Every time Thailand is under scrutiny for human rights violations, we always hear arguments from some quarters that human rights are a western concept and don’t apply to Thai society with our Buddhist codes. It’s no surprise, then, that the protest was loudest when the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights singled out Thailand’s harsh criminal sanctions under the laws on lese majeste as “neither necessary nor proportionate, and violate the country’s international human rights obligations”. The first article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) boldly declares, “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.” However, even this fundamental premise appears to be far from being universally accepted here. Some Thais would argue that humans are born unequal, like the digits on one’s hand, implying fixed roles and discriminating treatments. Although often attributed to the Buddha, this justification for a caste-like system was actually promoted by Phraya Anumanratchathon in the 1960s to support the Pibunsongkram nationalistic regime. In contrast, Buddhists elsewhere have long supported human rights. In his 1991 book on the subject, Sri Lankan scholar LPN Perera established that the UDHR is completely in agreement with Buddhism, by identifying parallels in the Buddhist canon to every UDHR article. However, in Are There Human Rights in Buddhism? Buddhist ethicist Damien Keown asked an important question on how to philosophically “ground” the concept of human rights in Buddhism. Here, the author would like to propose a preliminary answer by taking a step back to the origin of human rights. All Buddhists are familiar with the legend of how Prince Siddhartha was motivated to find the answer to human sufferings after journeying out of his comfort zone one day to see the spectrum of life: an old man, a sick man, a corpse and a renunciate. It can be said that, after witnessing the atrocities men inflicted on men in two devastating world wars, people as a whole went into a similar soul-searching and reached back to the common wisdom of humanity to produce the UDHR, with the aim of preventing and alleviating human...

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Follow Lord Buddha’s path for world peace: Dalai Lama

Originally posted by Bbuddhist Channel. Following the path of Buddha as a teacher for maintenance of world peace.  Bodh Gaya, India —Tibetan spiritual leader, The Dalai Lama, today asked Buddhist devotees to follow the path of Lord Buddha for promoting world peace. Buddhism should not only be viewed as a tradition but taken up as a matter of study and exercise, the Dalai Lama said while addressing devotees who had assembled at Bodh Gaya, a place where Lord Buddha attained enlightenment during Kalchakra Puja at Kal hakra ground here. He described Lord Buddha as “an ancient ideologue and scientist of the religion and I am following the path of Buddha as a teacher for maintenance of world peace.”      The Tibetan spiritual leader conveyed his New Year’s greetings to the devotees who had assembled here from all over the globe. Enthusiasm was visible among the devotees who braved inclement weather condition and rains during the religious discourse by the Dalai Lama. Tight security was in place for the Kalchakra Puja. The Dalai Lama had arrived here yesterday from Himachal Pradesh to participate in the 10-day Kalchakra Puja, which has religious importance in Buddhism. The Tibetan spiritual leader also offered prayers at the Mahabodhi temple...

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Singapore Buddhist Lodge gives out more than S$670,000 to the needy

Originally posted by Buddhist Channel. The price of coffee goes up says Singapore Buddhist Lodge president Lee Bock Guan. SINGAPORE — The Singapore Buddhist Lodge (Welfare Foundation) has given out twenty per cent more red packets for the Lunar New Year this year. Singapore Buddhist Lodge gives out more than S$670,000 to the needy This amounts to more than S$670,000 – an all-time high since it started distributing red packets in 1949. More than 11,000 people are expected to benefit. They include the elderly and the disabled registered with the Community Development Councils. Acting Community Development, Youth and Sports Minister Chan Chun Sing graced the event and gave out red packets ranging from S$10 to S$180. The Buddhist Lodge also donated S$60,000 to the National Kidney Foundation, with the money going towards a transport allowance for needy patients. Singapore Buddhist Lodge president Lee Bock Guan said: “The price of coffee, drinks and daily expenses has increased. It is difficult for the elderly to celebrate the Lunar New Year so we found out how much we should increase our red packets by. Last year, we gave S$150. And this year, we increased it by 20 per...

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Look at science the Buddhist way

Originally posted by Buddhist Channel. The view of a Western Scientist BHUBANESWAR, India — After delivering hard talks on chemistry at the ongoing Indian Science Congress (ISC) here, Nobel Laureate Prof Richard R. Ernst donned the garb of a Buddhist spiritual leader and philosopher on Thursday. Stressing the need of a “role model”, the 79-year-old Swiss Nobel laureate was all praise for Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama while delivering his lecture on “Science and Spirituality: The view of a Western Scientist” on the Utkal University campus here. The event was organised by Bhaktivendanta Institute, Kolkata. Trying to strike a chord with the audience, Prof Ernst said: “I was immensely influenced by Buddhism and the Dalai Lama and his preaching. The Buddhist leader always looked at science from the spiritual point of view.” Ernst recollected old memories how the Dalai Lama held series of discussions with scientists to establish the link between spiritualism and science. He also spoke of the monastic Tibet Institute in Rikon, Switzerland. “The Dalai Lama was responsible of the institute. The Buddhist monastery and its Tibetan monastic community consttute a vital part of the cultural and religious life of Tibetans in Switzerland,” said Ernst, who won Nobel Prize in 1991 for his contributions to the development of the methodology of high resolution nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. The Nobel Laureate exhibited his craving for Tibetan paintings created by master painter Zhu-Chen. “I find science when I do pigment analysis in his paintings. The colour combinations in Tibetan art resembled the chemical reactions in chemistry,” Ernst said. He cultivated interest in Tibetan art during a trip through Asia in 1968. Puri Gajapati Maharaja Dibyasingh Deb and Subhag Swami spoke, among...

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The Dalai Lama on democracy and his possible reincarnation — as a woman (with video)

Originally posted by Shambhala Sun. The Chinese have expressed their intention to appoint. Photo by Luca Galuzzi (www.galuzzi.it) By Adam Tebbe “The day I officially handed over [political power], that night? Very unusual, sound sleep.” These were the words of the 14th Dalai Lama, who recently sat down for an interview with NDTV at the 2012 Kalachakra event in Bodh Gaya. Now that he sees himself as semi-retired, some Tibetans and Tibetan supporters have wanted him to take on a ceremonial role in the wake of his announcement. To that, he said (in this interview), “No use. My basic nature — I don’t like formality. I don’t like. I’ve grown up [with] too much formality.” His Holiness believes strongly that the Tibetan problem is a national one; not a job for any one individual, but one for all Tibetans and supporters of Tibet. His hope is that Tibet’s next leader will be modern, educated, and democratically elected. This, he believes, will be his greatest contribution to the Tibetan people and cause. “Still, I am here,” he said in his NDTV interview. “Still I am the Dalai Lama. I am Tibetan. This body [is] Tibetan body.” This year has been a particularly challenging one for Tibet, hit by wave after wave of self-immolation acts in protest of Chinese repression. His Holiness scoffs at China’s assertion that the Tibetan leadership in exile is somehow responsible for the acts. “People inside Tibet [are] our boss, ” says His Holiness. “So, the decision is in their hand. Not my hand. If I try to control them, then my expression is hypocritical.” He continues, “The Chinese government, they have the responsibility. We are refugees. We have no responsibility. But Chinese officials sometimes point out, ah, all the blame on us. So, immediately, I respond, ‘Please, come here. Investigate, thoroughly, whether we started these works or not.’” “Now the time has come [where] they must look at what are the real causes.” He points to the increase of soldiers at Tibetan monasteries and cameras on every corner of the street, even in classrooms, as the real causes for such acts. He asks, “Why? For the last sixty years they have utilized various methods and now they must think, ‘What is wrong? What are the...

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Government of Burma releases political prisoners, signs ceasefire with Karen National Union; Aung San Suu Kyi to run for office

Originally posted by Shambhala Sun. Almost immediately following the news that the government of Burma had signed a ceasefire with the Karen National Union — for many years, the two groups have been locked in bloody civil war over the issue of greater autonomy for the latter – the Democratic Voice of Burma reports that a number of political prisoners have been released from prison, including former prime minister Khin Nyunt and “Saffron Revolution”-organizing monk U Gambira. Along with Nobel Peace laureate and National League for Democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s recent announcement that she will run for office in the next parliamentary election, these seem like hopeful signs that meaningful transformation is taking place in a country that has long suffered gross human...

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Dalit Monks at the site of Buddha’s Enlightenment

This post continues the Bearing Witness Blog’s ongoing coverage of the Socially Engaged Pilgrimage in India with Bernie Glassman and Shantum Seth.  We continue to explore the group that was considered in India to be an “untouchable” caste.  Calling themselves Dalits, many of this group have converted to Buddhism in order to escape the caste system. “Who are they?” Bernie asked Shantum, pointing to a group of orange-clad monks sitting on the periphery of the lane where pilgrims circumambulate around the Mahabodhi Mahavihara.  They were older and had darker skin than the other monks at the temple. “let’s go talk to them,” Shantum said. As shantum approached, one monk asked another “How much did u get?” the second monk saw Shantum approaching “Shhhh.” Shantum introduced himself and asked a few questions.   The monks explained that they are Indian Dalits ordained  by Dharmapala.  They came to Bodh Gaya from Sankasya, Uttar Pradesh for the Kalacakra teachings given by the Dalai Lama. They don’t understand Tibetan, they said, but they are learning Pali.  They see Ambekar as a preacher and not a Bodhisattva. While we were speaking with them, a well-dressed pilgrim who may have been East Asian brusquely walked by handing each monk a note of local...

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The Shining Torch

Originally posted by Uri Avnery’s Column.   “SHINING TORCH” sounds like the name of a Red Indian (or should I say Native American?) chief. In Hebrew, it is the literal meaning of the name of our latest political sensation: Ya’ir Lapid. This week, he announced his intention to enter politics and set up a new political party. Hardly a surprise. For many months now, speculation has been rife. Lapid has hinted more than once about his intention, giving the impression that he would act on it only close to election time. That was clever, since he was the most popular news anchorman on the most popular TV channel. Why give up a post that gives you unique public exposure (and pays a handsome salary to boot)? Now he has been told by his employers, probably under political pressure, to choose: either/or – TV or politics. Some 2061 years ago, Julius Caesar crossed the little river Rubicon to march on Rome, exclaiming “iacta alea est” – the die has been cast. Lapid is no Caesar and does not speak Latin, but his feeling must have been much the same. A day later, another well-known personality, Noam Shalit, threw a second die. The father of Gilad, the captured soldier who was exchanged for 1027 Palestinian prisoners, has announced that he will run for the Knesset on the Labor party list. After five years leading the immensely popular campaign for his son’s release, he has decided to put to political use his rise from anonymity to celebrity status. A whole series of exes – ex-generals, ex-Mossad chiefs, ex-CEOs – are waiting for their turn. What does that mean? It means that the smell of elections is in the air, though elections are officially due only a year and a half from now, and there are no signs that Binyamin Netanyahu and his far-right partners intend to bring them forward. THE ATTRACTION of a Knesset seat is hard to explain. Most Israelis despise the Knesset, but almost everyone would sell their grandmother to become a member. (A Jewish joke tells about a stranger who comes to the shtetl and asks for directions to the home of the synagogue manager. “What, that scoundrel?” exclaims one of the passers-by. “That...

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India: Visiting the homes of villagers at “Sujata”

Wed, Jan 11, 2011 While in Bodh Gaya, we journeyed to a village across the river to meet a Hindu family who Shantum has known for many years.  They met when TNH instructed Shantum to find a child in the village in which a young girl is believed to have saved Gautama from the brink of death after he nearly starved to death practicing austerities.  This led Gautama to find the Middle Way between material indulgence and harsh aceticism. Since learning Shantum’s story, Rajesh (the boy) grew into a man with a wife names Sabina and kids.  Shantum has maintained a relationship, supporting the family and bringing pilgrims to meet them.  With Shantum’s help, Rajesh built 2 additional stories onto his house.  When we asked him what we did today,  he said that he helped a friend build a house.  He also works growing food and selling it wholesale to vegetable vendors. The boy said that there isn’t discrimination in schools.  Muslims learn Urdu and Hindus learn Sanskrit, but the otherwise learn and eat together.  When he grows up, he wants to make his parents proud and become a doctor.  The girsl would like to become a teacher. We were also joined by a man who sells lasi in town and who joined one of the pilgrims on our trip on a previous pilgrimage in which he walked in the footsteps of the Buddha.  He said that Dalits who convert to Ambedkarite Buddhism are confused because they still practice lots of Hindu culture.  They follow 50% Hinduism and 50% Buddhism.  He said that in town, nobody knows who is what caste, but in the village, everyone knows.   Dalits aren’t allowed in temples.  More than 70% descended from Dalit. (pictures to...

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Buddhism affords greater equality to women says practitioner/scholar in Bodh Gaya India

Thursday, January 12, 2012 Bodh Gaya, India On a 2-week Pilgrimage in the Buddha’s footsteps co-led by Shantum Seth and Bernie Glassman, we met with locals and explored social issues connected to the lands through which we traveled.  During our stop in present-day Bodh Gaya, Bihar, where the Buddha is believed to have attained Nirvana, we took bicycle-powered rickshaws outside the main part of town to a Thai Buddhist Monastery.  There, we heard from Rajesh Kumar and his wife Usha who are leaders of a community of outcaste “Dalits” who have converted to Buddhism to free themselves from the oppressive Hindu caste system.   Rajesh has been practicing vipassana meditation for 10 years and wants to share with others the benefits he has experienced.  He invites residents of Bihar to a monthly1-day meditation retreat in Bodh Gaya. The gathering includes a Dharma talk from a teacher in town if one is available or reading of some Buddhist texts.   His group also distributes Dharma books, helps students study for exams and runs a clinic for locals. 20-50 people come to the retreats. The gatherings are open to everyone.  Most people who come are Dalit followers of Ambekar, though not all. Some have embraced Buddhism and converted and others are simply interested in Vipassana meditation.  Starting with mass conversions in 1956, Ambedkar continues to inspire the vast majority of the rapidly growing group of Dalits converting to Buddhism.  In addition to the 5 precepts and 3 refuges usually associated with converting to Buddhism, Ambedkar instructed his followers to take 22 additional vows, intended in part to replace belief in Hindu “superstition,” deities and caste distinctions with a Buddhist belief in equality and social improvement.   Rejesh did not take Ambedkar’s vows, though he did take refuge in the 3 treasures and 5 precepts. Ambedkar is a bodhisattva, he explained, who leads people to Buddha, even though the decision to take Ambedkar’s additional vows is a personal question, depending on each person. “Many don’t see me as Buddhist. Hindus still see us as a particular caste”, he explained “but as I do my practice, I don’t worry about what others say.  My mind is liberated from old beliefs.”  Rajesh explained that his group learns from Buddhist...

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The Questions Indians Ask

Friday/Jan/6 Spent most of my day dragging myself through jetlag, catching up on finances and preparing Internet content.  At Bernie’s talk, I really enjoyed hearing people’s questions.  While there may be some universal human longings that pop up everywhere, there are also variations and themes that emerge with different groups in different places.  Coming to a talk billed Socially Engaged Buddhism, this crowd wanted to know the Buddhist response to social ailments: How do you respond to terrorism? What do you say about the contrast between the Buddhist emphasis on compassion and the poverty at the pilgrimage sites connected to the Buddha’s life? Your approach reminds me of existentialism.  Can you explain the similarities and differences? What’s your stance on eating meat? Bearing witness is great on an individual level, but what about the dictators abusing the peaceful Buddhists in Burma? What is Buddhist explanation to suffering in Sri Lanka where Singhalese Buddhists massacred Tamils? Other groups are much more internally focused: How can I bring my practice off the cushion and into my life? Should I feel guilty because I don’t enjoy serving others? Should I feel guilty because I get too much personal satisfaction out of serving others?   This experience confirmed the hunch I expressed in my story of the roots of Zen that Indians as quite philosophical.   We stuck around after the talk trying to get help from a civil servant in avoiding having our tour bus commandeered by the government in Uttar Pradesh, where an election is being held....

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Be responsible human beings: Dalai Lama

Originally posted by The Buddhist Channel.   Moscow, Russia — Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama has called on people to be responsible human beings, to think more of the entire world they live in, rather than caring about their own narrow interests alone, as a way out of the global crisis. “At the Copenhagen summit on climate change, some participant countries showed that their own interests are more important than interests of the whole world,” the Dalai Lama told RIA Novosti in an exclusive interview. Avarice and short-sightedness were to blame, he said, adding that people were guided by emotion and did not think of the long-term consequences. “Ecology and global warming – for these problems there cannot be any interstate borders, they must concern the whole world,” he said.   The Dalai Lama recently met over 7,000 pilgrims from Russia, India, China, Mongolia, Japan, US and other countries at his residence in Dharamsala in India’s northern state of Himachal Pradesh. Russia’s Buddhist regions have had close relations with Tibet, and it was good that interest in Buddhism in these regions was growing, the Dalai Lama said. Among the pilgrims were around 1,500 people from the traditionally Buddhist Russian regions of Buryatia, Kalmykia, Tuva, as well as from Moscow, St. Petersburg and Yekaterinburg. The Dalai Lama held special teachings for the Russian Buddhists. “I always tell people from Buddhist regions that this is the religion of our ancestors. They must simply preserve all our own ancient traditions. I am very happy that interest in Buddhism in these regions of Russia is growing and they find something relevant for them in this religion,” he said. “Buddhist republics in the Russian Federation over the last several centuries had very, very close ties with Tibet. A number of Buddhist scholars and masters came from this area. There were outstanding scholars, wonderful masters who came from your country. So we always had special, close relations,” he said. “Secondly, before the Russian revolution, the 13th Dalai Lama had contacts with Russian tsar Nicholas II. In Norbulingka (the Dalai Lama’s summer palace in Lhasa) there are gifts presented by the Russian tsar to the 13th Dalai Lama,” he said. “When I meet Russians, they always recall my predecessor and...

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Working with India’s “Untouchables” ~ Roshi Eve Marko

We flew down to Tamil Nadu on Monday, landing in Chennai and taking a car some 4 hours west to Tiruvanmalai, where we stayed at a small ashram at the foot of Arunachala, the mountain overlooking Sri Ramana Maharshi’s ashram where he lived and died. We were at the foot of the mountain, next to groves of banana trees and a vegetable garden.  Here we met Ven. Panavatti, an African-American Theravadin nun who is studying with Bernie, along with her 3 Theravadin monastics, Ven. Panadippa, Dhammaratna, and Sukani.  We also met our host, an extraordinary Dalit leader, Gautama Prabhu, at 33 very handsome and already possessing a lot of skills, knowledge, and leadership capabilities. For the rest of our stay, it was Gautama who shared with us the horrifying picture of the life of the Dalits, or Untouchables, of India.  His own personal story is one of loving the Dharma and seeing it as an extraordinary vehicle for transforming the lives of his people. Gautama, who leads the organization Foundation of His Sacred Majesty (alluding to the great Buddhist king, Ashoka), traced for us the vast remains of the Buddhist presence in India.  Like Dr. Ambedkar, the Dalit leader and contemporary of Gandhi, he too says that the Dalits were Buddhists many years ago and for this reason face the discrimination and persecution by Hindus. Gautama leads three organizations, two of which are dedicated to social and political action, and the third to bringing Buddhism to the Dalits as a vehicle of emancipating them from the Hindu caste system. We participated in two sessions of teachings every day to groups numbering 20-30 of Gautama’s leaders-in-training.  The morning teaching was led by Ven. Panavatti and her associates, consisting of basic mindfulness meditation and loving kindness, while in the afternoon we came into a circle in which Bernie spoke and dialogued with the participants, to learn as much as possible about their lives.  Eve did a brief council training and facilitated council. In the afternoons they asked questions: How will Buddhism change our lives?  How did it change yours?  What caused Americans to turn to Buddhism?  Is it bad to eat meat?  And on the last day, one woman asked: What do you tell your child...

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Shantum Seth Interview: 10 things that complicate the story of India’s “Untouchables”

Preparing for the Socially Engaged Pilgrimage in India, I asked Shantum to review the newsletter we were preparing.  Though he is a devout Buddhist who lived with and was introduced to Buddhism by downtrodden Indian Buddhists in Uttar Pradesh, he warned us against overly simplifying the situation. Though there is definitely a revolutionary role played by Ambedkarite Buddhism in liberating “untouchables”, Shantum explained, it stems primarily from a social and political base rather a Dharmic one. In fact, there is more of an emphasis on ‘equality’ than ‘liberation’. Dalits form the bottom rung of the oppressive Hindu caste system.  There are many nuances that complicate this story: Buddhism isn’t totally free of social distinctions.  While proclaiming castelessness, some Buddhists still marry according to caste expectations, just like Hindus. There are many stratifications based on sub-castes amongst the Dalits. There are reformist Hindus who reject the caste system. Dalit is just one self-identification by people who are considered “untouchable”. Dalits or “untouchables” are actually considered to be outside of the caste system altogether.  They are “outcastes”. In terms of socio-economic status, Dalits aren’t  the worst treated group in India.  Muslims are treated worse than Dalits and “tribal” peoples, even worse than Muslims. Because of benefits of affirmative action policy, some people seek fake identification as Dalits in order to illegitimately reap the benefits. Though many Dalits venerate Ambedkar (a Buddhist) and loathe Gandhi (a Hindu), Ambedkar and Gandhi respected each other and sometimes praised the other. They both worked to eradicate the curse of untouchability, but had different means, to achieve this end. Ambekar’s second wife (after the first died) was a Brahmin (the ‘highest’ caste) woman who converted to Buddhism at the same time as Ambedkar. There are many prominent Dalits, including a former president, former Chief Justice of the Supreme court, and the Chief Ministers of important states such as Uttar Pradesh. All this is not to say that Dalits haven’t faced discrimination and that Ambedkarite Buddhism hasn’t helped them.  It’s just that the more you know, the more complicated things get.  As Charlie says “go figure”....

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A story of our Zen lineage (citation not included)

A long time ago in a land called India, there was an upper-caste elite who liked to party and indulge in material decadence, philosophers who preached high-falutin’ metaphysics and spiritual seekers who thought partying was shallow and instead starved themselves to transcend the material world altogether and free themselves from suffering once and for all. Along came Siddhartha Gautama, an upper-caste drop-out who wasn’t into partying, didn’t have much patience for high-falutin’ philosophy and didn’t get anywhere starving himself.  After sitting and doing nothing for a long time, he concluded that the path to freedom can be summed up in 4 easy-to-remember principles, which could be followed by anyone, regardless of their caste.  To achieve this path, you don’t have to starve yourself, he said.  You just have to leave your family, shave your head and trade your clothes for robes and your possessions for a begging bowl. Years later, the prince’s Indian successors reintroduced high-falutin’ philosophy and preserved the community of monks as the holders of the tradition.  The monks role in society was to teach the tradition and dole out merit to the generous lay people who filled their begging bowls. Eventually the meditation part of the tradition reached China, brought from India by Bodhidharma.  In India, they decided that you didn’t need high-falutin’ philosophy, but just the opportunities to awaken that happen in everyday life, working, for example, talking to other people or eating meals.  They also said that lineage between teacher and student was very important, so they looked back through history and filled characters into spaces to link themselves back to the long-dead upper-caste drop-out prince. Next, the practice reached Japan, where they took the stories of the Chinese monks’ everyday awakenings and turned them into the rigid koan system.  Also, with some encouragement from the Imperial government, they decided that you don’t need to leave your family to be a Zen leader, but you do still need to shave your head.  Also, instead of taking your begging bowl all over town, you could set up a temple so that townspeople come to you for rituals. And this finally brings us from Japan to the United States.  In the U.S. today, some Zen Buddhist teachers shave their heads and...

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Former Theravadan monk brings mindfulness to the workplace

Originally posted by Buddhadharma. Watch the video of this former monk as he brings the Buddhist practice to the work  place. Gregory Burdulis is a former Theravadan Buddhist monk who spent several years in intensive silent meditation practice in Burma. Today he teaches mindfulness meditation to employees at the famous 600-person advertising agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky (CP+B). Participants are often looking for balance amid a hectic work schedule. “It’s not that I am perfect or enlightened. It’s that I think I can help,” says Burdulis. In this TED video from last year, Burdulis discusses becoming a monk, practice, and his life and priorities today. Watch and read on for an update on his work below. In this recent piece from the Daily Camera out of Boulder, CO, Burdulis talks about how he feels more responsibility than ever in his current occupation. Employees at CP+B also share their experiences, talking about how meditation is improving their work lives. According to the piece, “the mindfulness training is meant to combine meditation techniques and counseling for a common goal: strengthening teamwork, increasing creativity and raising morale in high-stress environments.” Follow this link to watch Gregory Burdulis`s video: http://youtu.be/pbJZFb3ZTrY...

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16 People and Organizations Changing the World in 2012

Originally posted by Craig Connects. I recently invited people to share blog posts explaining How You Will Change the World in 2012for the new Social Good Blog Series I launched earlier this month. Changing the World requires planning and it’s important to think about what problems really need solving. I wasn’t sure what kind of response I’d get to this call for big ideas. You all didn’t disappoint. I hope you enjoy reading some of these ideas as much as I did! I’m sharing a taste of what people shared here and a link to each person’s post so you can read their full reflections. Intimate and personal conversation is a powerful means for revealing the truth. Joan Blades, co-founder of MoveOn and MomsRising, shared her idea for a citizen’s movement to create real change. “When I watch our leaders and media, the focus seems to be primarily on our political differences… Perhaps we could help lead the leaders out of this destructive political bickering we find ourselves engaged in again and again, despite the earnest desire many have to find common ground. Perhaps here in our local communities with 6 people of good will who hold different view points, we can begin to discover how we can have a meaningful conversation that will help us exit this hall of mirrors.” Check out the rest of Joan’s post to learn more about her Living Room Conversations project. Jim Moriarity, CEO of the Surfrider Foundation, shared how Surfrider which is comprised of 250,000 supporters and 84 chapters across the U.S will Change the World in 2012 by protecting the coasts through engaged activism and by scaling effective ideas across a connected learning network. “A network becomes stronger, more valuable and more potent when it consistently learns from itself,” said Moriarity. A thought-provoking question is often the best conversation starter. Rabbi Josh Feigelson thinks that we are forgetting how to ask universal questions that matter to all of us regardless of our religious beliefs or socio-economic background. “In 2012, I want to change the world through better conversation. I want to help college students create the space for conversations that matter. I want to help diverse groups of people find commonality by embracing their diversity,” said Feigelson. So here’s what he’s doing: Rabbi...

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All You Need To Leave It All Behind

Originally posted by Elephant Journal. What do a Hollywood actor, a man who lived under a bridge, a former Wall Street financier, a Rabbi and a Buddhist nun have in common Answer: They all joined a 72-year old Zen master to do three days of spiritual practice staying out on the streets of Manhattan. The 17-person group included Swiss, Israeli, Polish, German, American, Belgian and Puerto Rican, black and white, practitioners of Buddhism, Judaism, Native spirituality, Sufism and Christianity. This retreat marked the 20th anniversary of practicing “street retreats” for Zen Master Bernie Glassman (left) and the Zen Peacemakers. Bernie invited several spiritual leaders and activists whom he wished to recognize, after working and studying together for many years. I attended in my role as Bernie’s assistant. This weekend was quite a contrast from the intensive meditation retreat where I started practicing Zen in Argentina, also on Holy Week, exactly three years ago in 2008. Do I Have To Work the Streets Tonight? As we stood waiting for the subway train on our way to start the retreat on Friday, Barbara, the Zen Peacemakers Europe coordinator, asked me with her typical luminous smile “How many street retreats have you been on?”“This will be my second,” I answered. “Ari’s working this weekend” Bernie interjected. I felt embarrassed. I was jealous that others got to be on retreat, while I was just tagging along to help. To help with Bernie’s knees, I asked street retreat leader Genro to bring a cane. While the staff he brought alleviated pressure on Bernie’s knees, it put strain on his shoulders, so I carried the staff instead. Passersby shouted ‘Moses’ to me throughout the weekend. “What does it take to lead a street retreat?” I asked Genro, who has embraced leading street retreats more than any other teacher.“The first thing,” he explained “ is that you have to understand: YOU. DON’T. KNOW. ANYTHING.” (not-knowing is the first tenet of the Zen Peacemakers) Before I hardly finished asking the question, Genro nudged me forward: He instructed me to find a good place to do council and line up the group to count them and then solicit their input regarding to what destination they wanted to meander next. My plunge had started....

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India owns copyright to Buddhism: Karmapa Lama

Originally posted by the Buddhist Channel. Words for modern day Buddhism from the 17th reincarnation of Dusum Khyenpa, a monk born in 1110 AD in Tibet. New Delhi, India — Asserting that the noble land of India owned the copyright to Buddhism, the 17th Karmapa Lama, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, flagged off a grand three-day service in the capital on Friday on the occasion of the Karma Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism completing 900 years, and said the faith had made a symbolic return to the land of its birth. The Karmapa called upon people to use the ancient wisdom of Lord Buddha and apply it to the contemporary world to promote world peace. The service began with a special homage to Lord Buddha?s relics at the National Museum in the capital, followed by interfaith prayers at the memorial of Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat. The prayers culminated in a mega-discourse in the evening on the relevance of Buddhism. The day’s celebrations also saw the revival of the tradition of the recital of Buddhist doha (songs) – which was sung in its original Sanskrit version after a millennium by Karnataka-based musician and researcher Nand Kumar. The doha composed by the great Buddhist master from Bengal, Tilopa, was retrieved by the Dalai Lama, who commissioned its musical composition for posterity. Addressing the gathering of more than 1,000 delegates from 44 countries, the 17th Karmapa said there were ‘many reasons for holding the commemoration of 900 years of the Karma Kagyu lineage’ – also known as the Karmapa lineage – in India.   ‘Who owns the copyright to Buddhism – the noble land of India,?’ the Karmapa said. “India was the birth place of the Buddha and the wisdom of the ‘mahasiddhas’ – the early practitioners and scholars of the faith – came from India to the snowy land of Tibet? And it (Buddhism) became a true lineage of experience, realization and freedom from confusion. The lineage has remained unbroken for ages- abiding for hundreds of years in Tibet,” the Karmapa said in his keynote address. “And now the noble lineage has returned to the noble land of India. It is a special honour to show our noble guests (from across the world today) as well as from...

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The Dharma of Barbie

Originally posted by Shambhala Sun.   KAREN MAEZEN MILLER was torn when her daughter entered the Barbie stage. But what was worse—the doll’s commercialism and hyper-sexuality, or Mom’s grownup judgments and concepts? My daughter has 35 Barbies. This is a known fact, because I just pulled them out from under the bed and counted. Counting them is something I have been reluctant to do over these last five years, while Barbies have multiplied far beyond the furtive certainty that my seven-year-old has too many. I like to keep them out of my sight, a swarm of tangled limbs and hair in an underbed bin. The bin is my way of keeping a lid on it all: the mess, the excess, and the incorrectness. “She’s one of those mothers,” I imagine you thinking. One of those witless ones who buy toys without giving intelligent thought to the underlying message, the implication, or the outcome. A Barbie mom. I can’t remember exactly how it all began, but I’m sure it began with me. It is captivating to see a tiny child fall into pure and uncomplicated love. My daughter Georgia’s first major heartthrob was Snow White, who was just one in a color-coded sequence of princesses to be cherished, outgrown, and discarded, but we didn’t know that then. We didn’t know and we didn’t delay. When we took our daughter on her first trip to Disneyland, we strode right up to the real-life Snow White and watched our two-year-old flirt. Then, we bee-lined to the souvenir racks and forked over the bucks for a Snow White doll. I knew better: when we ripped through the packaging in the car on the way home, I knew it wasn’t a Snow White doll. Under the camouflage of the costume and written in the fine print of product licensing, this was Barbie, the modern Pandora, her box now torn asunder in the backseat. Little girls of her age were going through the same initiation. At my daughter’s nursery school the devotion seemed to spread like an early spring virus. For her third birthday, her classmate Kelsey had one of those mythical oversized parties with a gargantuan fantasy cake—a rococo confection with Barbie rising like Venus from its crested center....

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NYZCCC receives full accreditation from the ACPE

Originally posted by Buddhadharma. Training the next generation of fully certified chaplaincy teachers. The New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care (NYZCCC) has recently been fully accredited by the Association of Clinical Pastoral Education(ACPE), nationally recognized as an accrediting agency in clinical pastoral counseling by the US Department of Education. They are the first Buddhist organization to receive such accreditation from the agency. The NYZCCC is committed to leading the way in Buddhist contemplative education efforts, and in the fall of 2012, they will begin their Supervisory Training Program — training the next generation of fully certified chaplaincy teachers/supervisors. Buddhadharma wishes to congratulate them on this new chapter. On the recent accreditation, the ACPE Interim Executive Director, Deryck Durston, made the following statement: “At its recent fall meeting the Accreditation Commission of ACPE voted to grant full accreditation to the New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care, New York, NY to offer programs of CPE at levels I&II and also Supervisory. This is a first for ACPE! ACPE grew from disparate groups of Protestant ministers and slowly caught fire within other religious communities, first Catholic sisters, then Jewish rabbis, and now a center established in the eastern-western tradition of Zen. We are excited by this—as the religious landscape continues to shift and our focus thus continues to shift to world views and spiritualties that represent the people of this country in fuller ways. Congratulations NYZCCC and welcome to the ACPE...

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Why I’m Involved in the Occupy Movement

Originally posted by Jizo Chronicles .On the Occupy Santa Fe panel with Tania Chavez, Ryan Hinson, and Robert McCormick This past week, I was invited to be on a panel (along with three other people) at our local Unitarian Universalist Church and to speak about my perspective on the Occupy Movement. Here are the questions that we were invited to address: If you have a history of activism, talk a little about that first. What brought you to the Occupy generally and Occupy Santa Fe in particular What have been your primary roles in Occupy Santa Fe What are your greatest hopes for Occupy What are your greatest concerns about Occupy Where do you think the Occupy movement is headed If you’re still on the fence about this movement, I encourage you to read on. One of my big messages to the audience at the UU church was: get involved. I can think of no reason why anyone who has an income of less than $100,000 a year would not benefit from investing your time and energy in this movement in order to help midwife a systemic shift from greed and competition toward generosity and cooperation. And even if you are one of the folks who is blessed with a higher income, I strongly believe that you will benefit as well. How truly happy can any of us be when we live in a society that has as much economic injustice and disparity as ours does? This movement will not really succeed until 99% becomes 100%. Make no mistake – this work is as much internal as it is external. This, to me, is the intersection with socially engaged Buddhism. Think of the world in terms of the three poisons: greed, hatred, and delusion. The Occupy Movement is all about addressing the harm caused by corporate greed — but this is not separate from addressing the seeds of greed that live within each of us. There’s a lot more to say about that, of course, but I’ll save that for another post. So, here’s what I offered to the UU panel this week: If you have a history of activism, talk a little about that first. First, I have to say that I’m not...

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Film review: Luc Besson’s Aung San Suu Kyi biopic, “The Lady”

Originally posted by Shambhala SunSpace. Luc Besson’s biopic of Aung San Suu Kyi is currently only playing at film festivals and in limited release. Danny Fisher attended an advance screening; here’s what he saw.   History seems to be in the making in Burma as Luc Besson’s The Lady, about National League for Democracy leader and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, screens in New York and Los Angeles (where I saw it) this week for Academy Awards consideration. Hillary Clinton became the first U.S. Secretary of State to visit Burma in over fifty years last week, signaling that the recent “reforms” in the country, which has been ruled by a brutal, repressive military dictatorship since 1962, might be real. (Though violence against ethnic minorities flared very shortly after her departure, and many, many political prisoners remain in the country—including U Gambira, the leader of the 2007 Buddhist monastic uprising known as the “Saffron Revolution.”) The aspect of Secretary Clinton’s visit that received the most attention was, of course, her meeting with “Daw Suu,” who was released from her latest house arrest just over a year ago. (She has spent a total of 15 of the last 22 years under house arrest.) With the world focused again on “The Lady,” as she is known within Burma, the arrival of a major motion picture about her is timely to say the least.   The Lady helps the viewer come to understand Daw Suu (played by Michelle Yeoh) and her nonviolent, Buddhist-influenced leadership by focusing squarely on her marriage to the late Oxford Tibetologist Michael Aris (David Thewlis). The daughter of the assassinated General Aung San, a revolutionary who was key to gaining Burma its independence from Britain, Daw Suu spends her days as wife and mother to Alex (Jonathan Woodhouse) and Kim (Jonathan Raggett), and her nights finishing her own Ph.D. and writing and reflecting on her father and her country. Looming over their quiet life is the possibility that someday Daw Suu, given her family history, may play a role in the shaping of her country. That possibility becomes a reality when her mother Daw Khin Kyi (Marian Yu) falls ill. Daw Suu rushes to her bedside just as the 8.8.88...

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Buddhist peace rally against political appointment in Lumbini development

Originally posted by Buddhist Channelpeace. Nepalese Buddhist monks and nuns take out a protest in Katmandu, Mandela, Nepal — Hundreds of Buddhists demonstrated in Nepal’s capital to protest the appointment of Maoist party chief Pushpa Kamal Dahal to head a project to develop the area where Buddha was believed born in southern Nepal. << Nepalese Buddhist monks and nuns take out a protest in Katmandu, Nepal, Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2011. Hundreds of Buddhists demonstrated in Nepal’s capital to protest the appointment of Maoist party chief Pushpa Kamal Dahal to head a project to develop the area where Buddha was believed born in southern Nepal. The protestors demanded that there should not be any political involvement in the project to develop Lumbini, located 150 miles (240 kilometers) southwest of Katmandu. Photo: Niranjan Shrestha / AP The 500 demonstrators included monks and nuns holding banners saying there should not be any political involvement in the project to develop Lumbini, located 150 miles (240 kilometers) southwest of Katmandu.   Lhakpa Sherpa of the Buddhism Preservation Stakeholders Committee said politicians were breaching the sanctity of a religious place like Lumbini by transforming it into a tourism destination. The committee was formed by the government to develop Lumbini, 240 kilometres southwewest of Kathmandu, as a world Buddhist tourism destination. Demonstrators held placards demanding Dahal be removed from the position of director of the Lumbini Development Committee. They have demanded a follower of Buddhism should be appointed to the post. Dahal, who is coordinator of the development committee, lead the decade-long Maoist insurgency in Nepal, which ended in 2006 after the signing of a peace deal with the government. 16,000 people were killed in the conflict. Some of the monasteries had informed the committee that they were unable to attend due to the strict reprimand of Free Tibet charges. Earlier, there were policing of the Sehchen gompa and White gompa in Bouddha. Most monasteries are under the strict surveillance of the Government of Nepal’s One China policy. Speaking to Coordinator of the Council for Buddhist concerns, Shakun Sherchand replied that “Lumbini is an encroachment by non Buddhists while Free-Tibet is a repressive tool manipulated against our historical, religious and cultural rights based on our identity”. “This peaceful rally expresses the...

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Professor Daniel Barbezat named Executive Director named at Center for Contemplative Mind in Society

Originally posted by Shambhala SunSpace. How self-awareness and introspection can be used in higher education and economic decision-making. The Center for Contemplative Mind in Society has announced that Professor Daniel Barbezat will succeed Arthur Zajonc as its Executive Director. Zajonc has just been appointed as the President of the Mind & Life Instituteand will remain on the center’s board of directors. Mirabai Bush will continue in her role as the center’s Associate Director. More about Barbezat after the jump. . Daniel Barbezat, PhD, is Professor of Economics at Amherst College. He has been a visiting professor at Northwestern University, Yale University and has taught in the summer program at Harvard University. In 2004, he won the J. T. Hughes Prize for Excellence in Teaching Economic History from the Economic History Association. . Over the past decade, he has become interested in how self-awareness and introspection can be used in higher education and economic decision-making. Barbezat was recently a speaker on mindfulness and contemplative education at the Creating a Mindful Society conference in New York. For more information on his work in this field, click here. . About his new position and title Barbezat says: At a time when education and training are vitally important and the demand for education services is ever growing, there are threats on all fronts. Students face the pressures and grimness of labor markets; staff and administration are stretched beyond their capacity and the faculty is asked to carry an ever-increasing load. Sustained engagement with our ideals and one another is increasingly difficult. Like never before, this is a time for us to attend closely to ourselves and our relationship to others in a deep reflection into what each of us values most deeply. I believe very deeply that the work of the center can supply essential resources to support and sustain this kind of meaningful inquiry. . I am very excited to have the opportunity to direct the Center of Contemplative Mind in Society and to continue working, albeit in a new capacity, with the center’s fantastic staff and Board of Trustees. Above all, though, I am especially grateful to Arthur from whom I have learned so much. I wish him the very best at Mind & Life...

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Mind and Life Institute appoints Arthur Zajonc as new president

Originally posted by Shambhala. The Board of Directors of the Boulder-based Mind and Life Institute, which works to create a powerful collaboration and research partnership between modern science and Buddhism, has confirmed the selection of Professor Arthur Zajonc as its new president. Zajonc, who will formally take up his appointment in January, 2012, succeeds R. Adam Engle, a Mind and Life Co-Founder who served as the president and chair of the Institute for more than two decades. . The Mind and Life Institute’s work and history will be detailed in an article titled “The New Science of Mind,” in the March 2012 Shambhala Sun. [For more on the Institute’s new president, click through here.] . Arthur Zajonc PhD (U. Michigan) is professor of physics at Amherst College, where he has taught since 1978. He has been visiting professor and research scientist at the Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris, the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics, and a Fulbright professor at the University of Innsbruck in Austria. His research has included studies in electron-atom physics, parity violation in atoms, quantum optics, the experimental foundations of quantum physics, and the relationship between science, the humanities, and the contemplative traditions. He is author or editor of eight books including: Catching the Light (Oxford UP, 1995), The Quantum Challenge (Jones & Bartlettt, 2nd ed. 2006), Meditation as Contemplative Inquiry: When Knowing Becomes Love (Lindisfarne Press, 2009), and with Parker Palmer, The Heart of Higher Education: A Call to Renewal (Jossey-Bass, 2010). . In 1997 Professor Zajonc served as scientific coordinator for the Mind and Life dialogue published as The New Physics and Cosmology: Dialogues with the Dalai Lama (Oxford UP, 2004). He organized the 2002 dialogue with the Dalai Lama, “The Nature of Matter, the Nature of Life,” and co-organized the 2007 dialogue on “The Universe in a Single Atom.” Zajonc acted as moderator at MIT for the “Investigating the Mind” Mind and Life public dialogue in 2003, and again in 2010 at Stanford’s CCARE public dialogue with the Dalai Lama on research concerning the cultivation of compassion and altruism. The proceedings of the Mind and Life-MIT meeting were published under the title The Dalai Lama at MIT (Harvard UP, 2003, 2006) which he co-edited. He currently directs...

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The Saffron Revolution: Lessons on a Conceptual-based Compassion

Originally posted by Upaya. They chanted the Metta Sutta to give voice to the suffering of all beings represented by the suffering of the people of Burma. This would become the Saffron Revolution….. On September 26, 2007, the monastic community in Burma lead a formidable protest against the military rulers, creating what would be an iconic moment for the people of Burma. Thousands of monks in their maroon and yellow robes marched through the streets of Rangoon and Mandalay holding aloft their alms bowls to signify their refusal to accept acts of generosity from the army.  They chanted the Metta Sutta to give voice to the suffering of all beings represented by the suffering of the people of Burma. This would become the Saffron Revolution – a spiritual strong-arming of a superstitious government who now could not buy their way out of the bad karma they had cultivated. The monastic community inspired the people and garnered huge support globally. Unfortunately that support is likely to have tipped the balance of fear felt by the government from fear of a hell in the afterlife to a fear of being seen as weak in this one.  The army attacked leaving thousands dead and many monastics missing.  The video documentary Burma VJ captured powerful images of the marches in the streets, wide ribbons of maroon-robed monks walking resolutely into what they must have known would be a violent confrontation with the army.  Through the eyes of the videographers, we witnessed the dead and dying – lay and monastic – as well as the fear-ridden monks held captive in temples just before they disappeared. The world watched helpless and enraged.  Politicians and well-known spiritual leaders spoke out.  The Dalai Lama announced solidarity with the monks and Thich Nhat Hanh instructed his monastics to wear their sanghati robes during a conference in California on mindfulness.  In the immediate aftermath of the Saffron Revolution, many organizations sprung into action.  There were Adopt a Monk programs, web-based posters, badges, and slogans, and numerous other ways to keep the momentum of the protest going as well as provide sanctuary for the monastic community. On September 27th, I was interviewed by CBC Radio in six different sessions set to be released through the...

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Arising to the Interconnectedness of Life? A Buddhist Perspective on the Occupy Movement

Indra’s Net and the Internet: Arising to the Interconnectedness of Life Buddha means the “awakened one.” Awakened to what? The definition of Enlightenment in Buddhism is awakening to the interconnectedness of life. This is illustrated through the story of Indra’s Net from the Avatamsaka Sutra. A long time ago, in a far away place, there lived a king. His name was Indra. Indra was a great king. In fact, he was king of all the Gods. One day, he called his architect, Johnny. “Johnny! I am such a wonderful king that I’d like you to make a monument of me for all people to see.” After thinking for a while, Johnny exclaimed, “I’ve got it! Let’s go to the royal treasurer, Sally, because this will be expensive.” They went to Sally and Johnny said, “I want to build a monument for our king, Indra. I want it to be a net that extends throughout all space and time and I want to place a bright pearl at each node of the net. Do we have enough resources to build this net?” “You’re in luck!” said Sally. “I happen to have an infinite amount of thread spun by spiders and an infinite amount of pearls.” Johnny proceeded to construct the net of pearls so big that it extended throughout all space and time. Each pearl contains the reflection of every other pearl. Each pearl is contained within every other pearl. If you touch the net anywhere, it is felt everywhere. Every phenomenon is a pearl in the net. Each of us at a given instant is a phenomenon. Everything at each moment is a phenomenon. Everyone and everything is contained in me. I am contained in everyone and everything. Many years later, somebody came along and turned Indra’s Net into the Internet. Instead of pearls, they put computers at each node. They created a physical system of interconnectedness around the world. Then, we started to see languages for communicating across the net. We call them Facebook and Twitter. Soon, we started to see what I call arisings or awakenings around the world. For me, the first big one was the “Arab Spring.” The second big one was the “Israeli Summer.” Arab Arising I’ve worked in...

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Global Buddhist Congregation 2011 proposes new International Buddhist Confederation

Originally posted by Boddhadharma, A united Buddhist voice…… During the recent four-day Global Buddhist Congregation 2011, in India — which featured addresses from both His Holiness the Dalai Lama and His Holiness the Karmapa (click here for more on the latter’s), among others — a resolution was adopted that proposes the creation of “a new international body” called the International Buddhist Confederation (IBC). The resolution explains that the platform would “present a united Buddhist voice, provide a forum for dialogue, understanding and cooperation among different Buddhist traditions and schools” and would “not compete with the work of existing Buddhist organizations.” IANS has more on the story...

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Village Zendo hopes to benefit from substantial matching grant

Originally posted by Boddhadharma. An opportunity to turn $20,000 into $60,000 with everyone’s help. New York’s Village Zendo, cofounded by Pat Enkyo O’Hara, Roshi, and Barbara Joshin O’Hara, Sensei, has an opportunity to turn $20,000 into $60,000 with everyone’s help. From the Village Zendo website: “The Village Zendo is fortunate that two donors have offered a matching grant: $20,000 on the basis of $1 for every $2 donated by others in support of the zendo, from now through January 31. If the terms of the match are fully met, then the zendo will have raised $60,000 through this gift. Please help us sustain our Zen Center and the community that makes it possible for you and all of us to transform our...

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Tibet House US online auction offers walk-on role in David O. Russell film

Originally posted by Boddhadarma. Tibet House US, the Tibetan cultural preservation project headed by Robert Thurman, is currently holding an online auction to raise funds for the organization. Among the items offered is the unique chance to win a walk-on role in the next film from Academy Award-nominated director David O. Russell (The Fighter, Three Kings, I Heart Huckabees). Russell, a graduate of Amherst College, is a former student of Dr. Thurman’s. Click here to bid on this unique opportunity; there are just hours...

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450 Buddhist monks march for peace in Maharashtra, India

Originally posted by Buddist ChannelBuddhist. This yatra symbolises the journey from self to selflessness. Mumbai, India — A strong contingent of 450 monks and nuns, led by His Holiness the Gyalwang Drukpa (spiritual head of the 1000-year-old Drukpa Lineage) embarked on a “pad yatra” (march for peace) from Mumbai to Sanchi via Ajanta Ellora spreading the message of peace, harmony and respect for the environment. The pad yatra, which was flagged off from Colaba, will pass through Ajanta and Ellora between December 24 and January 2, before ending in Bhopal on January 6. Thousands of people, including 450 monks and nuns, followers and supporters are taking part in the yatra, with various national and international celebrities and Drukpa followers. This is the fifth yatra by His Holiness, who since 2006, has taken students on foot journeys through Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Ladakh, Manali, Sikkim and Darjeeling. On each of the yatras, the yatris picked up more than one ton of non-biodegradable waste and educated people in remote areas about the importance of keeping environment clean. The yatra, which aims to bridge spirituality and materialism through promoting a life in harmony with nature, will cover other destinations like Kanheri Caves, Elephanta Caves, Kondana Caves, Karjat, Rajmarchi, Karla Bhaja and Aurangabad. Talking about this quest and spiritual adventure Gyalwang Drukpa said, “This yatra symbolises the journey from self to selflessness. It is an effort to raise awareness about the environment, and ensure that there is education on sustainability.” Gyalwang Drukpa, the Indian-born spiritual teacher and philanthropist, is an active proponent of universal peace and harmony, and a United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDG) Award recipient and Green Hero of India. He founded the school in Ladakh which featured in 3 Idiots, and is popularly known as “Rancho’s School”....

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Guest column on the ending of suffering through Engaged buddhism

Originally posted by By Wicked Local.  The Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh coined the term “Engaged Buddhism” Easton — Buddhists commemorate the Buddha’s enlightenment on Thursday, Dec. 8. Since Unitarian Universalists celebrate the wisdom of all the world’s religions, I preach about Buddhism at this time. With so much suffering around the world, this year I will focus on what is known as “Engaged” or “Socially-Engaged” Buddhism. Like many Westerners, my predominant image of Buddhism used to be a mountain monastery full of meditating monks with shaved heads and simple robes. I pictured them as above the world, not just in altitude, as living an almost impossibly pure spiritual existence. Given that image, it was hard to imagine Buddhist belief or practice in my everyday life. Learning about Engaged Buddhism shattered that image and opened the door for me to integrate their wisdom into my spirituality. The Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh coined the term “Engaged Buddhism” in the 1950s. In his book, “Peace Is Every Step,” he talks about the evolution of the term and the movement during the Vietnam War. “Should we continue to practice in our monasteries or should we leave the meditation halls in order to help the people who were suffering under the bombs? After careful reflection, we decided to do both-to go out and help people and to do so in mindfulness. We called it Engaged Buddhism. Mindfulness must be engaged. Once there is seeing, there must be acting. Otherwise, what is the sense of seeing?” If you know the Buddha’s story, you can see how Engaged Buddhism flows from it. Born Prince Siddhartha over 2,500 years ago near modern-day Afghanistan, he grew up amidst riches and luxury. Then as a young man he saw the suffering of poor and aged people, and sought a different path. First he went to the opposite extreme, joining a religious group that practiced extreme poverty. After six years, Siddhartha broke with them and sought yet another way. He sat under a fig tree, resolving not to get up again until he gained enlightenment. One night he saw the deep, radical connection between all things. He saw that suffering is a part of life, and that it comes from attachment...

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Jeff Bridges Launches Head for Peace Initiative with Bernie Glassman

November 23, 2011. Yonkers, N.Y. – Jeff Bridges, actor/activist and Academy Award winner, toured the Greyston Foundation last week with world-renowned Zen Buddhist teacher, Bernie Glassman to launch the Head for Peace Campaign together.   Jeff Bridges has been a friend of Bernie Glassman for over 10 years, is an active supporter of Zen Peacemakers, founded by Glassman, and is leading the fundraising effort, “Head for Peace.” Jeff has personally sculpted 108 ceramic heads that become sponsored by individuals who share the intention to embody and promote peace around the world.     “Visiting Greyston was a real inspiration,” said Bridges.  “It serves as a great example of how communities can support their disenfranchised. It feels good to be able to be a part of the Zen Peacemakers family and Bernie’s work with the Head for Peace project.”   Mr. Bridges toured Greyston Foundation in support of Bernie’s vision to create holistic support services for the low-income and homeless in Southwest Yonkers.  Begun by Bernie in 1982, Greyston Foundation now serves more than 3,200 community members annually through its programs. Greyston Foundation is a national model for comprehensive community development and is best known for the Greyston Bakery, which has provided jobs and opportunities for hundreds of individuals. The Bakery’s mission is to work as a force for personal transformation and community economic renewal while operating a profitable business that bakes high quality gourmet products, for clients including Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream. The Greyston Foundation is a $15 million integrated network of for-profit and not-for-profit entities that provide jobs, workforce development, childcare, housing, after-school programs and a comprehensive HIV health care program.     “Having spent decades teaching Zen and working in Socially Engaged Buddhism,” said Bernie, “I am now spending these early years of my ’70s serving in socially engaged projects in places including India, Israel, Palestine and back at Greyston.  I am grateful to Jeff and others who partner with us in this work to Head for Peace.”   About Bernie Glassman The founder of the Zen Peacemakers, Zen Master Bernie Glassman, shifted from a traditional Zen Buddhist monastery-model practice to become a leading proponent of social engagement as spiritual practice. He is internationally recognized as a pioneer of Buddhism in...

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An Interactive Tool To Explore American Inequality

Originally posted by Thinkprogress. Inequality in America By Zaid Jilani on Dec 2, 2011 at 10:25 am The infographics and data visualization experts at Visual.ly have put together a new interactive tool that you can use to explore American income inequality. The application, titled “Inequality in America” lets you click through interactive charts and graphs showing the gaps between CEO and worker pay, the unemployment rate, inequality among developed nations, and other indicators of the inequities our country faces. Check it...

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Buddhist organizations offering flood relief to Thailand

Originally post by Boddhidarma. Soka Gakkai International Thailand (SGI Thailand) is respondingto the crisis in Thailand, where floodwater has put much of the country under water. The organization has mobilized youth workers to offer food relief and has also opened its centers in Nonthaburi, Thonburi and Pattaya as shelters for those displaced from their homes. On November 1, SGI Japan also made a donation of $50,000 to the Thai government for the relief effort there. In related news, Wat Sa Ket (on behalf of the Supreme Sangha Council), is offering counseling to flood victims. In conjunction with the National Office of Buddhism, the initiative is called Dharma for the Mental Rehabilitation of Flood Victims—mobilizing some 200 monks “with training in Buddhist psychology and counselling” to various evacuation sites. See also: Ajahn Amaro on what you can do to help Thailand Photo by Official Navy Page via Flickr using a CC-BY...

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Interview: Roshi Joan Halifax

Originally posted by Jizo   This is the third in our series of interviews with inspiring and interesting socially engaged Buddhists of our time. The first one back in September was with Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi, and last month we interviewed Arun, author of the blog Angry Asian Buddhist. This month you’re in for a real treat — the guest this time is author, anthropologist, and Zen teacher Roshi Joan Halifax. I love her out-of-the-box responses in this interview. Roshi is a dear friend and colleague of mine; I’ve known her since 1993 when I first took a course from her at California Institute of Integral Studies. She’s the founder of Upaya Zen Center, and does more good in the world than I can even begin to name here. Roshi did this interview a couple of months ago before setting off on a service pilgrimage to Western Nepal to provide medical care to nomads there. She leads a remarkable life, indeed. I hope you enjoy getting to know her a bit through this interview. ____________ JC: Where do you call home? Roshi Joan: Wherever I am. And on the local level, New Mexico, and getting more to the particular mountain range, the valley: the Sangre de Cristos, Upaya and Prajna Mountain Forest Refuge. JC: What are you reading right now? Roshi: This question… and in a wider sense, I am working on a technical paper on compassion. So I am reading everything I can on the subject, including my own mind and heart. JC: Who inspires you – Buddhist teachers, activists, writers, artists, others… Roshi: Courageous young people who take a stand and go into the field to serve; really old people who see that every minute of life is to be lived fully and compassionately; and so many between this world and that world. I am always cautious about naming the known, as we often forget to hold in regard those whose names will never be known to anyone outside of their close circle. JC: What social issue is close to your heart right now? Roshi: All are interconnected…the environment; rights of the dying; care of caregivers; education and medical care for peoples of the Himalayas; prison work; those living on the margins of society, particularly kids. How about Burma, Somalia, Afghanistan, Libya, our streets, our...

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U.S Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Visits Burma

Originally posted by The Buddha Blog.. The U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, is currently visiting Burma, so it is vital that we keep up the pressure to be the voice of the voiceless in a country with a proud, Buddhist tradition.  Every minute of every day, while we sit in the relative comfort of our homes, Buddhist monks in Burma are being tortured in prisons. And when they aren’t being beaten, they are huddled in dirty, dark and disease ridden cells. All this they endure because they wouldn’t sit by and watch the people of Burma be treated like garbage by the dictatorial regime. Their courage was driven, in part, by the deep compassion developed from practicing the Dharma. They are the conscience of the world standing up and saying, “enough!!” The monks have gotten the most attention in the international news, but a lesser known campaign of ethnic cleansing is occurring in remote, ethnic areas. The remoteness of some of these regions is a curse for some ethnic minorities because less people know they are even there, let alone being killed, tortured and raped. If revered monks in Burma aren’t treated well, then no one is safe. But, thanks to concerned citizens around the world, attention continues to grow about the plight of Burma (Myanmar). The U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, is currently visiting Burma, so it is vital that we keep up the pressure to be the voice of the voiceless in a country with a proud, Buddhist tradition. Please, take a few minutes and send an email to Secretary Clinton’s blog about your support for Burma, it’s people and their revered monks (click on this sentence to be redirect to her page). You might not feel that one person’s email can make a difference but I have been involved in the Burma issue for several years now and I’ve seen a change. At first, most people had no idea where Burma or Myanmar was on the globe, and the U.S. government showed little interest in the affairs in the Southeast Asian country. Today, after years of awareness and relentless calls for action, one of America’s highest ranking leaders is in Burma to spread the message of concerned citizens to the military...

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Mind and Life Meeting on Ecology, Ethics, and Interdependence

Originally posted by Upaya. Buddhist scholars, and activists in an exploration of ecology, ethics, and interdependence. October 17-21, 2011 from Roshi Joan Halifax, Upaya Zen Center (Co-moderator of the meeting)   This was Mind and Life Institute’s 23rd meeting with His Holiness the Dalai Lama over the past quarter of a century. The meeting, held in Dharamsala at His Holiness’ residence, included top scientists, ethicists, Buddhist scholars, and activists in an exploration of ecology, ethics, and interdependence. It was also attended by His Holiness the Karmapa, many geshes, monks, nuns, and supporters of Mind and Life’s endeavors. As always with Mind and Life meetings in Dharamsala, His Holiness was very engaged during the entire five days of intensive presentations. His Holiness the Karmapa also gave an exceptional talk on his view of the environmental crisis and shared why he is so deeply committed to environmental sustainability.   The printed introduction of the meeting is as follows: “The slow meltdown of Earth’s capacity to sustain much of life, as we know it, poses an urgent challenge for both spiritual traditions and science. These two ways of knowing have developed distinctive responses, which are potentially synergistic. The goal of the meeting is to provide an opportunity to articulate an engaged environmental ethics. This would include the understanding of interdependence through an examination of the most recent data on the scientific case for effective ecological action. Furthermore, it will be a unique opportunity to meet with other faith traditions that have arrived at a religious basis for motivating environmental activism. A dialogue between contemplative scholars, activists and ecological scientists could enrich the response to our planetary crisis. Insights from the new thrust in ecological science evoke the deep interconnections between individual choice and planetary consequence as well as through cross-fertilization of ideas and meaningful action among activists working within their own spiritual framework. We will explore many dimensions, from the human-caused deterioration in the global systems that sustain life, and the role each of us plays as seen through the lens of industrial ecology, to a view from Buddhist philosophy and other faith traditions, to the on-the-ground realities faced by ecological activists. Our hope is that this conference will be a significant catalyst for the formulation of...

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What Koans Are and Are Not

Originally posted  by Upaya. A Dharma talk podcast by Henry Shukman in what koans are and how they may be used. Henry Shukman: 11-16-2011: What Koans Are and Are Not Speaker: Henry Shukman Recorded: Wednesday Nov 16, 2011 Very broadly speaking, a koan is a type of teaching story used in Zen training.  In this Dharma talk, Henry Shukman explains in more detail what koans are and how they may be used.  ”Koans want to blast us from one angle to another,” Henry says, “to keep us free.” Henry Shukman has worked as a trombonist, a trawlerman and a travel writer.  His fiction has won an Arts Council Award and has been a finalist for the O. Henry Award.  His first poetry collection, In Dr. No’s Garden, won the Aldeburgh First Collection Prize and was a Book of the Year in The Times (London) and The Guardian.  He lives in New Mexico and has recently been appointed an Assistant Zen Teacher of the Sanbo Kyodan lineage. Podcast: Play in new window | Download              ...

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In Nepal, police arrest over 100 exiled Tibetans at prayer meeting

Originally posted by The Buddhadharma. Free Tibet, more than 100 were arrested.     Katmandu Valley, Nepal At the Tibetan Refugee Center along the outskirts of Katmandu, some 400 exiled Tibetans (including 150 monks) offered prayers to those Tibetans who have self-immolated in Tibet this year. Police suited up in riot gear entered the prayer meeting and took down a banner depicting His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s spiritual leader.This upset many of those present, with hundreds spilling in to the street in protest; their chants called for a free Tibet, calling for China to leave their homeland. More than 100 were arrested and taken away on trucks. According to an article in The Washington Post, “There have been a number of similar protests in the past in Nepal. Police generally don’t charge the protesters and they are usually released by nightfall. Nepal’s government has said it cannot allow protests against friendly nations, including China. Nepal is also under pressure from the Chinese government to stop them.” Read the full article here: Nepalese police detain more than 100 Tibetan exiles protesting against Chinese rule – The Washington...

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Buddhists split on claiming Jobs as one of their own

Originally posted by Buddhists Channel. Apple co-founder Steve Jobes ties to Zen Buddhism come out after his death. Cupertino, CA (USA) — A few days after the death of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, a mini-debate erupted on the Facebook page of Buddhist Geeks. The tech-savvy podcast and digital magazine had linked to a CNN article that explored the late entrepreneur’s ties to Zen Buddhism. One Buddhist Geeks fan said she had recognized Buddhism’s influence on Jobs, and wished him a “very auspicious rebirth.” But another argued that Jobs should be held responsible for a spate of worker suicides last year at Foxconn, a Chinese factory that produces parts for iPhones. Buddhist Geeks responded that it “certainly wasn’t our intention to grab up Steve Jobs as a fellow Buddhist. As you and others have pointed out, there is plenty about Steve that we might not want to claim.” In addition to questions about Apple’s business decisions, a new biography of Jobs portrays him as mean and egocentric. Vincent Horn, the co-founder of Buddhist Geeks and a self-described “Apple fanboy,” says the debate over Jobs touches on age-old arguments. One camp argues that when a person practices Buddhism, he walks a linear path that should completely change his life and eradicate bad behavior. Horn calls this “Buzz Lightyear” school of enlightenment, after the “Toy Story” character’s token phrase: “To infinity and beyond!” Another camp argues that even celebrated Zen masters retain human foibles. “I think the two camps are locked in a perennial argument about the nature of human beings and human ethics,” Horn said. “It’s so deep and so core and that’s part of the reason this whole thing with Steve Jobs has brought up such emotion.” Adam Tebbe, founder and editor of the website Sweeping Zen, said the debate over Jobs is complicated by the fact that the Apple chief rarely spoke publicly about Buddhism. “It does feel like we’re dancing around the edges and not talking about what his real feelings were,” Tebbe said. The Rev. Danny Fisher, a professor and coordinator of the Buddhist chaplaincy program at University of the West, in Los Angeles, said American Buddhists have grown somewhat leery of discussing “celebrity Buddhists.” “At the same time, we could be...

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Why INEB is THE Buddhist conference to attend

Originally posted by THE Buddhist Channel. Children who wear torn rags on the streets, who probably have no idea what school is like – ever! Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia — Gaya is a contradiction. At one end, fine yellow dusts fill the air and choke the lungs, while piercing horns and shouts from a thousand bodies choke its narrow streets. You can see children who wear torn rags on the streets, who probably have no idea what school is like – ever. Then you see polio stricken kids crawling on muddy sidewalks extending their hands for alms, and you get hit by the effects of deep poverty and the consequences of what an unattended fever can do to a young child. At the other end, there exist vast tracts of verdant green fields. These are hidden behind monasteries, temples and village slums which dot the periphery of the local highway leading from its airport to the focal point of Gaya’s existence, the Mahabodhi Temple, spot of the Buddha’s Enlightenment. In this vortex of noise, pollution, poverty and calm, serene greenery, augmented with a historic Enlightenment, the International Network of Engaged Buddhists held its biannual conference here. More renowned for its acronym, INEB brings together Buddhist based organizations and individuals from around the world to share stories, resources and to support each other’s work. This year, the organizers – Jambudvipa Trust, Youth Buddhist Society of India (YBS), the Deer Park Institute and INEB designed the conference as a platform for examining the future of Buddhism to re-awaken and to re-vitalize Buddhist commitment towards helping all sentient beings. More significantly, this year’s INEB takes place to commemorate the 2,600 years since the Buddha gained Enlightenment right here, in Bodhgaya. Unlike any other Buddhist conferences, people who attend INEB do not just to sit through a series of talk shops. A significant difference between this and other Buddhist gatherings is the participation of “resource persons”. These are not just practicing Buddhists, but also dedicated professionals who are respected in their field of expertise. The guy who gives detailed narratives of guided tours around the Mahabodhi temple was also a founder of a public listed pharmaceutical company, which produces are made based on traditional medical knowledge. His name is Richard Dixie. Then there is the Japanese...

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“Happy Birthday, Dr. Ari!”

Originally posted by Boddhadarma. Danny Fisher talks to Engaged Buddhism icon A.T. Ariyaratne. Saturday, November 5, marked the eightieth birthday of Dr. A.T. Ariyaratne — one of the most iconic and influential figures in the history of Engaged Buddhism. Though he was very busy this weekend as the center of celebrations, he graciously took some time to answer questions from me about the occasion of his birthday as well as his life of Buddhist-inspired service. Also known as Sri Lanka’s “Little Gandhi,” Dr. Ariyaratne is the founder and president of the Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement, a grassroots movement dedicated to the “sustainable empowerment” of rural Sri Lankans “through self-help and collective support, to non-violence and peace.” Today, Sarvodaya is the largest NGO in Sri Lanka, actively benefiting over 15,000 of Sri Lanka’s nearly 40,000 villages. Among the various honors Dr. Ariyaratne has received for his many years of service are the Niwano Peace Prize, the Gandhi Peace Prize, and the King Beaudoin Award. In addition, he was a nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005. Our conversation follows.   Happy Birthday, Dr. Ari! You are turning 80 years old this week — that’s certainly a milestone! For most of those eighty years, you’ve actively been involved in engaged Buddhist work. Would you share with us some of the important lessons you’ve learned over the years about Buddhist practice and being of service to others? Drawing on all your experience, what advice or guidance would you offer young people starting Buddhist service projects today? As I complete 80 years of my sojourn on this planet, I feel quite healthy physically as well as mentally, compared to some others at my age.  What is more important is my spiritual health, which is better than ever before. The three causes of greed, aversion, and ignorance, which result in all kinds of suffering, can only be encountered if one keeps in mind the three principles which the Buddha taught us: namely, impermanence, suffering, and egolessness. When I started my active social service and community development work, I was still a student. So, for over 66 years, I learned the lesson that the services rendered to human and other living beings in a very detached way result in reducing your egocentricity, physical...

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Uniting the 100%: The Consciousness Comittee of Occupy Wall Street

Saturday, October 8 After leading a noon Meditation Flash Mob at “Liberty Plaza,” the center of Occupy Wall Street, a group ranging from 22 to 27 people skipped a giant Washington Square Park rally to come together in a quiet, grassy spot in Battery Park to continue developing a committee committed to maintaining “conscious”, “sacred” energy within Occupy Wall Street. The meeting was led by Meditation Teacher/Community Organizer Anthony Whitehurst, who received a text message informing him that the meeting needed facilitation a few days earlier. The committee stands, and sits, in solidarity with the movement’s aim to improve conditions for the 99%. However, they aim to do so not by combating and vilifying the 1%, but by working with them. As it gelled, the group is debated between names like “Sacred Spaces Working group,” and “Occupy Within,” ultimately settling with “Consciousness Committee.” They have chosen as their tagline “uniting the 100%.” In the tradition of spiritual activists such as Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. they hold a space that asserts that if protesters meet anger and violence with more of the same, they are merely contributing to the problem instead of finding a solution for it. The committee has its roots in the New York City MedMob. MedMobs are meditation flash mobs springing up around the world, where people gather in a public space announced on Facebook for 50 minutes of silent meditation, followed by a 10 minute “sound bath.” The New York City group, which includes several people also connected to a Brooklyn wellness center, began sitting at Wall Street before the Occupation began. As the occupation has grown, so have their meditations, which now regularly take place every Wednesday and Saturday. They have also broadened their focus beyond meditation. As the group develops a title and mission, they are formalizing roles that they have already started to play informally: scheduling more meditations, maintaining an altar, working with guest spiritual teachers, coordinating healings, gathering resources and connecting to activists around the world interest in infusing spirituality with social action. The Occupy Wall Street website says: “The one thing we all have in common is that We Are The 99% that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1%.We...

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Occupy Wall Street: Arising or Uprising? What do you think

  “Every airport we pass through today, at Hartford, CT, Washington D.C. and Frankfurt, Germany” I told Bernie on our way to Europe “has an Occupy event happening.” When we arrived in Heidelberg, Bernie asked our host whether they had one.  They didn’t but 30 locations in Germany did.  She mentioned this when introducing him, which prompted him to talk about the Occupy movement.    Even though he called the protests arisings, while preparing a blog post on his talk, I referred to them as uprisings.  I’ve never heard anyone use the word arisings, but I have read newspapers using the term uprisings.  In his talk the next day, he corrected me, saying he specifically meant to use the less typical term.       I looked it up in the dictionary.  Broadly, “arising” and “uprising” are synonymous.  However, they have different senses.  Both arising and uprising have the word ascend listed as a definition.  However, while the definition uprising includes : insurrection or revolt,   arising includes coming into being, getting up from sitting down and waking up. Bernie feels that the relatively decentralized and spontaneous nature of these events may indicate a new social phenomenon that may be better described as an arising to the interconnectedness of life, rather than an uprising.  When we use the word uprise, we are usually talking about rising up against something.  But what can we wake up to if we see everyone as part of...

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Making Working-Class Buddhism Work

Originally posted by About.com. Barriers in practice. There’s a great cross-blog conversation going on about encouraging more class diversity in western Buddhism. See in particular Nathan at Dangerous Harvests and Joshua Eaton at Tricycle Blog. These and other bloggers identify two main barriers to working-class people engaging in Buddhism. One is cost — teachings and retreats usually require a fee — and the other is time. It is difficult for people with jobs and families to take the time to go on retreat. These barriers have been issues for me, also. But before some of us go on beating ourselves up about how un-diverse and elitist we are, we need to examine how these same issues have been handled in Asia and in western ethnic Asian Buddhism. First, for what it’s worth, the issue of cost as a barrier is not unknown in Asia. Just this week I read a news story about how the vendors who sell flowers, incense, and other offering items near temples in Sri Lanka can’t afford to “worship” (not quite the right word, I know) in the temples themselves. But when we focus on taking the time to go on retreats, what are we talking about here? We’re talking about schools of Buddhism that are traditionally monastic, such as Zen and Theravada. Since I’m most familiar with Japanese Zen I’m going to focus on Japanese Buddhism and how Japanese schools are taking root in the West. My understanding is that Zen has never had a big, popular, working-class following. In Japan, working people with families are far more likely to practice Jodo Shinshu or Nichiren Shu or something related. Of the long-established temples in ethnic Japanese communities in the U.S., I believe Jodo Shinshu is far and away more represented than any other school. Jodo Shinshu doesn’t emphasize retreats nearly as much as Zen does. My understanding is that Shin Buddhism came into being entirely to reach the ordinary, non-aristocratic laypeople largely being ignored by Tendai, Shingon, and the rest of establishment Buddhism in 13th-century Japan. This was a huge concern for Nichiren as well, of course. In fact, I suspect that the issue of making Zen more accessible to laypeople is not something Japanese Zen ever has addressed...

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4 Paths to Peace: Inspiration from the Dalai Lama

Originally posted by Shambhala Sun. Trailer: “4 Paths to Peace: Inspiration from the Dalai Lama” Just released on DVD, the documentary film “4 Paths to Peace: Inspiration from the Dalai Lama” chronicles His Holiness’s attendance of the Vancouver Peace Summit — and the personal journeys of four summit attendees who hope to learn from him. Watch the film’s trailer here, after the jump. . 4 Paths to Peace: Inspiration from the Dalai Lama (Trailer) from Cache Film & Television on Vimeo. Learn more about the film...

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Monk dies from self-immolation in protest of Dalai Lama’s exile

Originally posted by Shambhala Sun. Tsewang Norbu, died from self-immolation on Monday in Tawu (Ch. Daofu), Sichuan Province. The Free Tibet organization reported that a 29-year-old monk, Tsewang Norbu, died from self-immolation on Monday in Tawu (Ch. Daofu), Sichuan Province. The monk was protesting the Dalai Lama’s exile. According to the report, he was heard shouting “We Tibetan people want freedom,” “Long live the Dalai Lama,” and “Let the Dalai Lama Return to Tibet.” It is said that China closed off communication channels in the area to stop reports of the death from being shared. To read more about this event, visit CNN, Reuters, and Free...

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Thich Nhat Hanh's Western Followers

Originally posted by About. Why does Thich Nhat Nanh appeal mostly to whites? At the Vancouver Sun, Douglas Todd asks, “Why does Thich Nhat Nanh appeal mostly to whites?” The venerable Vietnamese teacher recently held a six-day retreat in Vancouver, and Todd notes that 95 percent of attendees were white. Exploring this issue makes a good follow up to the recent post, “Making Working-Class Buddhism Work.” For those of you new to Buddhism — Thich Nhat Hanh is a Vietnamese Zen master who first began traveling in the West in the 1960s to urge the U.S. to withdraw its military from Vietnam. In 1973 the Vietnamese government refused to let him return to Vietnam. Since then he has spent his life engaged in humanitarian activism and teaching Buddhism in the West. Called “Thay” (master teacher) by his followers, he has a real gift for explaining the basics of Buddhist doctrine in a clear and simple way. Many of us, me included, were inspired by his books to learn more about Buddhism. And this accounts for much of his following among non-ethnic Asian Westerners (NEAWs). Thay is possibly the best-known Buddhist teacher in the world after His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Thay does have Vietnamese followers, but it isn’t easy for them. Last year the government of Vietnam forced nearly 400 of his monastic followers from a monastery in Vietnam, after Thay made some statements sympathetic to the Dalai Lama on Italian television. However, my understanding is that the majority of Buddhist laypeople in Vietnam, and ethnic Vietnamese Buddhists in the West, practice a variation of Pure Land Buddhism. This is true of most ethnic Japanese and, I believe, many ethnic Chinese in the West as well. A six-day meditation retreat is not a Pure Land “thing.” And since Thay is a Zen teacher that makes him a Mahayana Buddhist, and much of what he teaches is out of synch with the Theravada Buddhism of southeast Asia. All in all, it’s not a mystery why his appearances may not draw large numbers of ethnic Asians. Expecting otherwise would be something like expecting NEAW Catholics living in China to turn out for, say, a Franklin Graham crusade. There’s another part of Todd’s column that I want...

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Isan monks helping their communities

Originally posted by Buddhist Channel. Monks dedicated to lift the livelihood and spirituality of their villagers. Bangkok, Thailand — Fed up with rogue monks? Losing hope in ability of the lax and closed clergy to lead the way? Meet Luang Por Ang, Luang Por Chair, and Phra Kru Somsri. All Isan monks. All dedicated to lift the livelihood and spirituality of their villagers. All are living examples of why monks still matter. Probably more so now than ever. The three so-called “development monks” were in Bangkok earlier this week to talk about their past work and present challenges at a time when the rural folks’ way of life and political awakening have dramatically changed from four decades ago. Luang Por Ang, or Phra Kru Pattanakijjanuwat, is abbot of Wat Huay Bueng in Nakhon Ratchasima’s Dan Khun Thot district. “I finished only Prathom 4,” said the elderly monk. “I never thought of such high words as inequality or development. But scarcity was all around me. Right from when I first became a monk, I kept asking myself what I could do to repay the poor villagers who feed me.” He led the villagers in building roads and bridges so that the sick could go to the hospital and farmers could sell their crops. He set up medicine banks, learned how to use needles and syringes, taught himself to be a mechanic, a house builder, and filled in whenever the rice paddies needed more labour. He helped the villagers set up community savings groups and welfare funds. He also succeeded in convincing the villagers to donate land to build a reservoir for common agricultural use. When dusk fell, the monk completed his day’s mission by talking to the villagers about the use of dharma in one’s life. At the height of the communist insurgency in the ’70s, he was accused by the authorities of being a communist. “But that didn’t bother me. All I wanted was to help the villagers.” He was not alone. Other development monks, like Luang Ta Chair or Phra Kru Amornchaikhun of Wat Asom Dhamatayat in Korat, faced the same fate when he led the villagers to save their community forests from the local mafia. Fast-forward 40 years. Isan has now changed....

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Interview with Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi

Originally posterd by The Jizo Chronicles. Today we’re kicking off a monthly series of profiles about socially engaged Buddhists. I couldn’t be more delighted to feature Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi in this first profile. I first met Bhikkhu Bodhi when he came to the 2007 Buddhist Peace Delegation in Washington, DC. He gave a stirring speech the night before we marched, as he linked the teachings of the Buddha with the imperative to work for peace in the world and to end the war in Iraq. Last year our paths crossed again in San Francisco, where I joined Bhikkhu Bodhi in a walk along the Bay (photo above) along with his colleagues from Buddhist Global Relief (BGR), and other dharma friends including Alan Senauke and Katie Loncke. It’s an honor to spend time with someone who is such an accomplished scholar and has a heartfelt commitment to alleviating suffering. I hope you enjoy getting to know Bhikkhu Bodhi better through this interview… and make sure to check out the annual Walk to Feed the Hungry happening on September 10th, organized by BGR. There are many ways to be involved! _____________ JC: Where do you call home? Bhikkhu Bodhi: Technically, a monk is a “homeless person,” so, in compliance with this tradition, I would have to say that I have no home. But as a matter of practical convenience, for the past four years I have been residing at Chuang Yen Monastery, in Carmel, New York, a woodlands area in the beautiful and quiet Hudson River Valley. At the monastery, I live in Tai Hsu Hall (named after the famous Chinese Buddhist monastic reformer of the early twentieth century), which is separate from the other monastic residences and thus serves me virtually as a hermitage on the premises of the monastery. JC: What are you reading right now? Bhikkhu Bodhi: I read simultaneously along several tracks. For my Buddhist reading, I have been reading, in Chinese, the Mahasamnipata Sutra, a collection of Mahayana sutras preserved in the Chinese Tripitaka. I’ve also been looking at the Pali commentary to the Suttanipata, though hardly reading it in a sustained way. For edification in social and cultural matters, I just recently finished reading Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the...

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Joan Halifax, a Fearless Source of Hard-Earned Wisdom

Originally posted by Huffington Post. Watch the Ted`s video! Joan Halifax is one of those people who doesn’t just live life, she dives into the depths of it — fearlessly — and comes back up to the surface to share her hard-earned wisdom with the rest of us. Joan is a Zen Buddhist roshi, anthropologist, ecologist, civil rights activist, hospice caregiver, and the author of several books on Buddhism and spirituality. She currently serves as abbot and guiding teacher of Upaya Zen Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico, a Zen Peacemaker community which she founded in 1990. She has also done extensive work with the dying through another one of her founding efforts: Project on Being with Dying. Further, she is on the board of directors of the Mind and Life Institute, a non-profit organization dedicated in exploring the relationship of science and Buddhism. In essence, she has spent a lifetime looking at the most neglected and critical of questions: how can we die with more dignity, more community? how do the brain and the spirit interact? how can we cultivate compassion and empathy in ourselves and in others? Joan has written, and I believe it sums up the foundations of her own life’s work, “All beings, including each one of us, enemy and friend alike, exists in patterns of mutuality, interconnectedness, co-responsibility and ultimately in unity.” I was so thrilled that she was able to share some of her wisdom with us at TEDWomen last year in Washington D.C., and thrilled once again to see that TED.com has posted her site to great response. See the video here:...

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People Create Society, Society Creates People

Originally posted by Tricycle. For modern Buddhists, the world shows us daily that our own awareness cannot thrive indifferent to what is happening to the awareness of others. As the old sociological paradox puts it, people create society, but society also creates people. Our economic and political systems are not spiritually neutral; they inculcate certain values and discourage others. As our awareness becomes more liberated, we become more aware of the suffering of others, and of the social forces that aggravate or decrease suffering. –David Loy Read the Full Article: Why Buddhism Needs the...

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Help us get KC back on the road to complete his awareness raising odyssey supporting Woman & Children in our Jails and Prisons‏

Dear Friends, Our dear friend and colleague Kinloch (KC) Walpole logged 8,500 miles on his 11,000 mile cross country motorcycle odyssey to raise awareness about the needs of Woman & Children in our Jails and Prisons, before Hurricane Irene destroyed his bike as it sat in our driveway here in Providence, RI.  The storm uprooted a huge tree from our yard that came crashing down on KC’s bike, just barely missing our house. KC is one of the leading prison dharma activists in the country who does phenomenal work in prisons and with release prisoners through his Gateless Gate meditation center in Florida. Please help us get KC back on the road to complete this phenomenal journey and his great work to raise awareness and address the generational suffering we are perpetuating as a nation by ignoring the impact of locking up mothers and isolating them from their children. Note:  We just found out that the insurance settlement on KC’s totaled motorcycle came in very low.  So he needs all the help he can get to get back on the road and continue his great journey and work in support of Woman & Children in our Jails and Prisons. Make a donation of any size large or small to support KC’s ride and work at: http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/fleet-maull/kcwalpole Thank you for your consideration, Acharya Fleet Maull Prison Dharma Network Read the blogs of KC’s journey here:...

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Welcome to the Wisdom 2.0 Conference

Originally posted by Wisdom. Next Event: Saturday, September 17th Our first annual Wisdom 2.0 Conference for Parents, Educators, and Teens is September 17th. Join us to hear: Dr. Daniel Siegel share insights on mindfulness, the brain, and parenting Parents in the tech field offer lessons on balancing mindfulness and technology with kids Author of the Mindful Child, Susan Kaiser Greenland, provides insights in offering mindfulness to youth Teachers offer lessons in how schools can more deeply integrate wisdom practices; and much more ….  See schedule >>> Register here >>> 2012 Wisdom 2.0 Annual Conference February 23rd – 26th Tickets are going fast for our 2012 annual conference. While many 2-day tickets are still available, there are only about 35 4-day tickets available. We continue to add new speakers.  Register here >>> Articles of Interest Making Happiness a Habit Through Mindfulness Wisdom 2.0 Youth speaker Susan Kaiser Greenland on supporting mindful habits in children. She asks, “What if happiness was a habit that we could teach children?” Multi-Tasking Doesn’t Help In case you need more info on why multi-tasking does not work. Why it is Good the Internet is Changing Our Brain It’s happening, though whether it is good or bad is hard to say. Ultimate Fighting and Meditation? An Ultimate Fighting champion talks about the importance of meditation 10 Things You Do Not Know about Teens and Social Networking Includes some fascinating quotes by teens Other Events If you are on the east coast, our friends at Mindful.org are organizing an event Sept 30 – Oct 1st in New York City called: Creating a Mindful Society Visit our Website for more information:...

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On the Path to Spiritual Maturity

Originally posted by Upaya. A seriers of pod cast by Zen Master Bernie Glassman. The founder of the Zen Peacemakers, Zen Master Bernie Glassman, evolved from a traditional Zen Buddhist monastery-model practice to become a leading proponent of social engagement as spiritual practice. He is internationally recognized as a pioneer of Buddhism in the West and as a founder of Socially Engaged Buddhism and spiritually based Social Enterprise. He has proven to be one of the most creative forces in Western Buddhism, creating new paths, practices, liturgy and organizations to serve the people who fall between the cracks of society. In this workshop Bernie will trace his evolution from the dharma hall to blighted urban streets. He will share the practices and principles he has developed to teach service as spiritual practice and to create sustainable, major service projects, such as the Greyston Foundation in Yonkers, NY. He will share the insights, revelations, personalities and personal experiences that have influenced his life and development. He will present some of his innovations, such as Bearing Witness Retreats, living on urban streets and gathering for a week at Auschwitz-Birkenau. He will talk about the future of socially engaged spiritual practice. To access the entire series, please click on the link below: Bearing Witness Series: All 6...

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Bearing Witness to the Oneness of Life

Originally posted by Upaya. A series of pod cast by Zen Master Bernie Glassman. The founder of the Zen Peacemakers, Zen Master Bernie Glassman, evolved from a traditional Zen Buddhist monastery-model practice to become a leading proponent of social engagement as spiritual practice. He is internationally recognized as a pioneer of Buddhism in the West and as a founder of Socially Engaged Buddhism and spiritually based Social Enterprise. He has proven to be one of the most creative forces in Western Buddhism, creating new paths, practices, liturgy and organizations to serve the people who fall between the cracks of society. In this workshop Bernie will trace his evolution from the dharma hall to blighted urban streets. He will share the practices and principles he has developed to teach service as spiritual practice and to create sustainable, major service projects, such as the Greyston Foundation in Yonkers, NY. He will share the insights, revelations, personalities and personal experiences that have influenced his life and development. He will present some of his innovations, such as Bearing Witness Retreats, living on urban streets and gathering for a week at Auschwitz-Birkenau. He will talk about the future of socially engaged spiritual practice. To access the entire series, please click on the link below: Bearing Witness Series: All 6...

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BUDDHIST GLOBAL RELIEF

Originally posted by First Giving. BGR Walk to Feed the Hungry NYC Story Media Welcome to Bhante Buddharakkhita’s Fundraising Page! As BGR’s chair, Bhante Bhikkhu Bodhi, is spending the summer at a health center in rural Michigan, we invited BGR adviser, Bhante Buddharakkhita, to lead the NYC Walk to Feed the Hungry. We are very grateful and delighted that he will take time out of his busy schedule to lead the NYC walk and we look forward to his participation! Bhante Buddharakkhita was born and raised in Uganda. After encountering Buddhism in India in 1990, he began meditation practice in 1993. He received monastic ordination in 2002 and then spent eight years at Bhavana Society in West Virginia. He is founder of the Uganda Buddhist Centre, a major initiative in the heart of Africa, intended to provide the first stable source of Buddhism in Uganda. The Centre is dedicated to improving the minds and lives of children through its programs in Dhamma, peace, ethics, and environment, and by providing scholarships to qualified students in need. Bhante is the spiritual director of Flowering Lotus Meditation Center in Mississippi, U.S. He is also on the council of advisers to Buddhist Global Relief in New Jersey, U.S. His book, Planting Dhamma Seeds: The Emergence of Buddhism in Africa tells the story of his work in Africa. Bhante teaches meditation throughout Africa, Brazil, Europe, and the United States. Please support Bhante Buddharakkhita in his Walk to Feed the Hungry by donating to his page and make a difference to the lives of many in great need! Thank you for visiting Bhante Buddharakkhita’s Fundraising Page! Warm regards, BGR Board...

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Combating the "culture of despair."

Originally posted by Vancouver Sun. Discovering that happiness does not lie in consumption will slow down humanity’s eventual demise, Buddhist monk tells Suzuki.. watch the video! Despair is the depth of hell, as joy is the serenity of heaven.” — John Donne, English poet (1572-1631) Who knew what would happen when one of the world’s most renowned Buddhists talked with one of the globe’s best-known environmentalists? The rare meeting took place this week at the University of B.C. when Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh, 84, sat down for a chat with Canadian geneticist, broadcaster and ecologist David Suzuki, 75. The conversation between the two elderly scholar-activists quickly turned to life’s big, hard topics — greed, misuse of power, waste, suffering and the highly uncertain future of the planet. And one thread seemed to tie it all together: Despair. How can humans keep going when the world seems headed for disaster? Sometimes called “the culture of despair,” there is a pervasive dread felt by many people who are genuinely concerned about the future of this world, which they see rife with war, ethnic conflict, terrorism, growing slums, economic crises and a struggling ecosphere. Despair is not exactly a new phenomenon, however. Kings, mothers, poets, priests and philosophers have for millennia tried to understand what it means to stare into the abyss — and not give in to depression and passivity. But people such as Suzuki suggest that despair has taken on an even more insidious character in recent decades — because unparalleled technological power has handed humans the very real ability to wipe out their own species. Like Suzuki, Hanh, who spent 40 years in exile from Vietnam after protesting the U.S.-led war, cares about the environment. About 40 of his brown-robed monks and nuns were in Vancouver for the past two weeks to share that message while promoting the benefits of mindfulness, a popular meditation technique that focuses on breathing to calm fear and help people attain “happiness.” More than 800 people, almost all Caucasian, had taken part in Hanh’s six-day retreat at UBC. A Sunday talk at the Orpheum Theatre also sold out. When not on the road, Hanh leads about half a dozen ecologically sensitive Buddhist retreat centres, with a total...

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Women’s Lib and Buddhist Lib on Extinguishing Suffering. ~ Deborah Bowman

Originally posted by Elephant. Whether woman or man,we`re all victims!! Photo: Deborah Bowman Who doesn’t want to be free of macho attitudes and stacks of laundry? Stereotypes and binding bras? As long as we are talking about freedom, how about escaping that nasty inner voice that says, “you’re not nice enough” or “not tough enough?” What twisted internalized oppressor gave that voice a say anyway? Is there really a sexist pig inside our heads? Whether woman or man, aren’t we all victims of repressive norms and social constructs? The Women’s Liberation movement would say yes. The Buddhists would offer a qualified no. What do they have to learn from one another? Aren’t both pushing us toward greater connection and freedom? I can’t imagine a female or male not benefiting from the liberation promised of either movement. Yet what they say and what they do can seem to be two very different things. This is where we can learn from each another. Women want to be equal yet we make men the bad guys. Who wants equality with an evil twin? Buddhists say we are all perfectly pure in nature, yet recently in Nepal some want to evict a Buddhist nun from her religious community for being gang raped. Why isn’t anyone shouting about this? As a Buddhist I know we are not victims, but that we do suffer terribly from ignorance, greed and hate. In Buddhism we just don’t draw a line between them and us. In fact, the freedom from suffering that is promised is based on the negation of a “them” and an “us.” It’s our habituated ideas of “you” and “me” that are at the root of our suffering. So how is this going to help our nun in Nepal? As a feminist I want healing and restorative justice for her. I want accountability and the wrong righted. We live in a violent world. Entrenched positions make us enemies to one another and to ourselves. As a gestalt therapist, the inner dialogue I am privy to of every unhappy person who walks into my office is not pretty. It’s often harsh, sexist and fixated. It’s easy to recognize this painful discourse as I cringe when I hear those voices in the...

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Why the Buddha Touched the Earth.

Originally posted by Parliament of religions. Mara demands that Gautama produce a witness to confirm his spiritual awakening. “The entire cosmos is a cooperative. The sun, the moon, and the stars live together as a cooperative. The same is true for humans and animals, trees, and the Earth. When we realize that the world is a mutual, interdependent, cooperative enterprise — then we can build a noble environment. If our lives are not based on this truth, then we shall perish.” –Buddhadasa Bhikkhu “The term ‘engaged Buddhism’ was created to restore the true meaning of Buddhism. Engaged Buddhism is simply Buddhism applied in our daily lives. If it’s not engaged, it can’t be called Buddhism. Buddhist practice takes place not only in monasteries, meditation halls and Buddhist institutes, but in whatever situation we find ourselves. Engaged Buddhism means the activities of daily life combined with the practice of mindfulness. –Thich Nhat Hanh In one of Buddhism’s iconic images, Gautama Buddha sits in meditation with his left palm upright on his lap, while his right hand touches the earth. Demonic forces have tried to unseat him, because their king, Mara, claims that place under the bodhi tree. As they proclaim their leader’s powers, Mara demands that Gautama produce a witness to confirm his spiritual awakening. The Buddha simply touches the earth with his right hand, and the Earth itself immediately responds: “I am your witness.” Mara and his minions vanish. The morning star appears in the sky. This moment of supreme enlightenment is the central experience from which the whole of the Buddhist tradition unfolds. The great 20th-century Vedantin, Ramana Maharshi said that the Earth is in a constant state of dhyana. The Buddha’s earth-witness mudra (hand position) is a beautiful example of “embodied cognition.” His posture and gesture embody unshakeable self-realization. He does not ask heavenly beings for assistance. Instead, without using any words, the Buddha calls on the Earth to bear witness. The Earth has observed much more than the Buddha’s awakening. For the last 3 billion years the Earth has borne witness to the evolution of its innumerable life-forms, from unicellular creatures to the extraordinary diversity and complexity of plant and animal life that flourishes today. We not only observe this multiplicity, we are...

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Review – Peace Is Every Breath!

Originally posted by Metapsychology. A pace of life that invites psychological stress! A Practice for Our Busy Lives by Thich Nhat Hanh Harper Audio, 2011 Review by Shara Knight Aug 23rd 2011 (Volume 15, Issue 34) American contemporary culture is fraught with a pace of life that invites psychological stress.  A collective meltdown may be on the horizon without the ability to slow down and achieve a semblance of breathing room.  While Western culture has become more familiar with the benefits of Eastern thought and practice, behavioral results remain to be seen in the collective culture of America.  The pace of daily life for the average American has rapidly accelerated and continues to provoke health and well-being problems across the country.  This audio book, read by voice talent instead of the author, is a two hour time-out for those who seek peace of mind in both the frenetic and the mundane aspects of everyday life. One of the dilemmas of meditation-based practice is the actual application of the ideas and methods in everyday life.  In response, Zen Master Thίch Nhãt Hanh wrote Peace in Every Breath, a book that makes the core teachings of Buddha accessible to Western sensibilities.  In this contribution from the best-selling author, poet, peace activist, he does not propose that individuals escape from reality and put busy lives on hold.  Instead, he provides the wisdom and processes to incorporate the practice of mindfulness into every waking moment.  He shows how one can transcend the rush of daily life and discover an innate ability to experience inner peace and happiness.  Nhãt Hanh coined the term engaged Buddhism and this audio book offers enlivened, practical steps to calm the body, mind, and spirit through being present in the moment regardless of the demands of a daily schedule.  He offers personal anecdotes, meditations, and advice for mindfully connecting with one’s experience in the present moment.  Nhãt Hanh (called Thây by his students) guides listeners around possible difficulties in journey toward awareness.  Anecdotal examples of becoming more mindful include arising in the morning, grooming, preparing breakfast, and greeting the day and others.  As in all of Buddhist teachings, the way to still the mind is through breath – “in-breath and out-breath” to shine the...

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Social Action and Buddhism

Originally posted by Tricycle. “The mind does not just affect the world, it actually creates and sustains it.” Understandably, Buddhism often appears to promote personal transformation at the expense of social concern. Some Buddhist teachings claim that the mind does not just affect the world, it actually creates and sustains it. According to this view, cosmic harmony is most effectively preserved through an individual’s spiritual practice. Yet other Buddhists amend the notion that mind is the primary or exclusive source of peace, contending that inner serenity is fostered or impeded by external conditions. Buddhists who place importance upon social factors and social action believe that internal transformation cannot, by itself, quell the world’s turbulence. – Kenneth Kraft, “Meditation in...

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Creating a Mindful Society.

Original post can be found at Omega. Mindfulness is a simple yet profound practice that changes lives. If you’re committed to mindful living, or just want to learn more about the transformative power of mindfulness, join us for this landmark gathering of the mindfulness community. Together, we will explore all the proven, practical ways that mindfulness can benefit our lives and transform our society, from health, work, and family to education, leadership, and policy. This groundbreaking conference will feature keynote presentations by four outstanding leaders in the mindfulness field—Jon Kabat-Zinn, Richard J. Davidson, Janice Marturano, and U.S. Congressman Tim Ryan—plus a rich program of dialogue, practice, and breakout sessions. This gathering is hosted by three leading organizations in the mindfulness field: the Center for Mindfulness, Mindful: Living with Awareness and Compassion, and the Omega Institute for Holistic Studies. We invite you to join us in Creating a Mindful Society. Watch the video: September 30–October 1, 2011 New York Society for Ethical Culture New York...

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Letter to Bernie Glassman about Auschwitz Retreat ~ Natalie Goldberg

In June 2011 Bernie Glassman brought another group to Auschwitz to Bear Witness.  A hundred and fifty of us traveled from all over the world to attend.  Ten years before I had heard about these Auschwitz retreats.  I was drawn, but too scared.  It was too immense, too far away.  How would I even get to Poland? But I have always loved being a Jew and was haunted by the Holocaust.  When I taught in the public schools I read Night by Elie Wiesel aloud to my students and we had Holocaust projects.  A mother came to me one morning before class, “Don’t you think it’s too hard for sixth graders?  My daughter had nightmares all last night after doing research for her paper.” “No,” I said.  “If we look evil in the face, we will know it and not run from it.” She nodded as she backed out the door. Almost a year before the 2010 retreat Beate Stolte, the co-abbot at Upaya Zen Center, called to tell me she was going.  Without a thought I jumped in, “I’m coming too.” Germany terrified me.  My family shunned anything German.  Before Beate I rarely even spoke to a German.  But at a retreat Joan Halifax and I did on the new Prajna land, Beate ended up being my partner on a silent nine-mile hike to the San Lorenzo Lakes.  Prajna is at nine thousand feet and we were going to ascend to eleven thousand.  In other words, the hike was steep and I was out of shape. Every once in a while I whispered to Beate, “How much further?”  By now most students were way ahead. She’d whisper back assuringly in her deep German accent, “Oh, just a little further.” About noon with the sun far overhead, the day heated, perspiration running down my face, hungry for the lunch in my backpack, when I asked her again, and she answered with the same encouragement, “Just up a bit”, I threw down my pack and yelled in her face, “I don’t believe you and I hate Germans.” This was our true meeting.  Instead of becoming defensive, she gently said, “I know what you mean.  Sometimes I hate them too.  I am so ashamed of what...

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The Socially Engaged Buddhist (SEB) Training Course Report

Originally posted by The Socially Engaged Buddhist INEB has organized a Socially Engaged Buddhist (SEB) Course for its  youth internship program. These courses are concerned with  young leadership; to more understand deeply about Socially Engaged Buddhist in order to bring Dharma back to society with emphasis on meditation, peace and reconciliation, ecology, women issues and empowerment, community building, alternative development, and more. INTRODUCTION The Socially Engaged Buddhist (SEB) Training Course is part of INEB’s youth program. It was initiated and organized by an alumni group of the International Youth Exchange Program for Peace and Social Innovation started in 2010, with the aim of empowering young people to awaken their capacity, foster relationship among networks, and support deeper understanding about Engaged Buddhism within individual, social and environment aspects.The program of training course attempts are promote understanding of the Engaged Buddhist by introducing the concept and practice of Engaged Buddhism; Buddhist perspectives on society, economics, education, and ecology; Meditation practice and personal development; and the role of socially engaged activists. The training course was designed to inspire and broaden the knowledge and understanding of young leaders to bring about transformation, which integrates spirituality and social action based on the universal truth of wisdom and compassion. There were nineteen participants from INEB’s network who joined SEB Training Course 2011. They represented Deer Park Institute (India), Khmer Youth Association (Cambodia), Dharmajala (Indonesia), Spirit in Education Movement  (Thailand), Buddhist Youth Empowerment Program (Myanmar) and Buddhist Missionary Society (Malaysia). It was organized as a five day training course including field trips to Engaged Buddhist leaders, alternative communities and social enterprises. It took place from 24 July to 31 July 2011 in Thailand. The training course approach utilized participatory and experiential learning. The collaboration and cooperation between participants and facilitators during the training course was beautiful, and enriched the knowledge  of each other. Embracing diversity was possible and meaningful through celebration and ceremony such as sharing prayer of each religions from different countries, culture night party with traditional cuisine and dance, sharing meditation and yoga practice, and sharing about each organization. CORE TEAM The core team of SEB Training Course 2011 consisted of 6 people. They are Pappu (DPI-India), Trilock (DPI-India), Vian (Dharmajala-Indonesia), Phat  (INEB-Thailand), Melva (Dharmajala-Indonesia), Rudy (Dharmajala-Indonesia), and many supporters behind of...

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Famous Buddhist peacemaker offers way to end pain, anger .

Originally posted by The Vancouver Sun.  Photograph by: Ian Smith,Vancouver Sun Vancouver SunOne of the world’s most famous Buddhists on Tuesday led about 1,500 people on a walking meditation across the expansive University of B.C. campus. Thich Nhat Hanh, a tiny 84-year-old Zen monk who was exiled from his native Vietnam for four decades, was wearing a brown monk’s robe and toque as he headed the slow parade of silent walkers. Earlier, the noted Vietnam War protester told an enraptured audience inside the War Memorial Gym that happiness can be found through the popular meditation technique called “mindfulness,” which he said will help people overcome their pain, anger and suicidal tendencies. The monk’s one-hour Tuesday morning “dharma talk” was the public part of a six-day meditation retreat Hanh is leading at UBC for more than 800 people. Speaking in a whispery voice inside the large gymnasium, the peace and environmental activist lamented how young people in Hong Kong are jumping out of tall buildings to their deaths because they “do not know how to handle their painful emotions.” Urging people to learn the art of mindfulness, which emphasizes focusing on breathing to calm the mind and heart, Hanh said strong emotions are “like a storm,” and are usually short-lasting. “You don’t have to die because of one emotion.” Hanh, who leads monastic communities in North America and Europe, is being accompanied in Vancouver by dozens of brown-robed monks and nuns. One of them told the audience, which was made up predominantly of Caucasians, that Hanh was the first to use the term “engaged Buddhism.” This form of Buddhism counters the Eastern religion’s historical tendency toward quietism, which has often resulted in Buddhists disengaging from society to seek individual psychological liberation. Hanh, however, has been a devoted human-rights activist ever since the Vietnam War in the 1960s. He is credited with convincing civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. to publicly oppose U.S. military actions in the South Asian country. On Tuesday, after displaying his skill at the art of calligraphy at UBC’s Asian Centre Auditorium, Hanh said he remembered first coming to Vancouver decades ago, when he tried to convince various leaders to oppose the Vietnam War. Hanh, who makes his home in...

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The Taste Of Liberation.

Originally posted by The Buddhist Centre. Just as the great ocean has one taste, the taste of salt, so also this Dhamma and Discipline of mine has one taste, the taste of liberation. The Buddha (Udana, v.5) Liberation for Buddhism is both internal and external. Internally, we seek to free ourselves from the poisons of greed, hatred and ignorance. Externally, we try to alleviate suffering wherever it’s found and to establish stable and supportive social conditions within which we and all others may live our lives to their full potential. This is what’s meant by Engaged Buddhism. How to do this effectively depends on time and social circumstances. Engaged Buddhism in the West is a story of experimentation — finding ways to make a difference within the spirit of Buddhist ethical precepts. Both the principles and practices of this work are still being clarified; the principles include always acting from a basis Love rather than Power, seeking to effect change by raising awareness, and exemplifying not coercing; Buddhists try to understand and affect the underlying causes that create suffering, and work to strengthen the connections that exist between all life, rather than slip into polarisation. A major influence for Triratna is the example of Dr BR Ambedkar, whose life was one of non-violent struggle against the injustices of the Hindu caste system in India. It culminated in his conversion to Buddhism in 1956, and during the ceremony thousands of his followers converted to Buddhism.Engaged practices and campaigns include ‘Meditate to Liberate’ actions, eg. at animal research laboratories or London arms fairs; the ‘despair and empowerment’ work of Joanna Macy; working with other Engaged groups, for example on visits to Palestine or opposing the Iraq war; and dialoguing with other Buddhists who eat meat. Activities within the Triratna Buddhist Community Buddhafield Permaculture project Eco-Dharma...

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Why Buddhists Should Read Marx

Originally posted by Sweeping Zen Marx will challenge you to look more deeply! Not long ago, H. H. the Dalai Lama called himself “half Marxist”. Everyday, we in the U.S. read of efforts to undermine social programs and channel more money into the hands of those who own most of the nation’s wealth. So I thought this might be a good time to take this short essay out of mothballs, make a few emendations, and put it out there again. Why Buddhists Should Read Marx By Andrew Cooper (from Turning Wheel, Summer 1993) In the Zen Buddhist community in which I once lived, we began our meal chant: “Seventy-two labors brought us this food. We should know how it comes to us.” “How it comes to us” today is through a production system in which most of those seventy-two labors are performed by impoverished people who are exploited, marginalized, and oppressed. If we are to remember their labors in any meaningful sense, we should also remember the social circumstances of that labor. For our good fortune is bought at their expense. These are not the best of times to recommend Marx. The failures of his legacy have been grotesque and cruel, and this is particularly true in Buddhist Asia. Nevertheless, it seems to me that for anyone seeking to understand things like poverty, racism, money, militarism, or the daily grind at work, some grasp of Marx is essential. Michael Parenti calls Marx a “social pathologist,” who analyzed the systemic misery of capitalist society, and this is how I think he is best approached. He tells us that this misery is neither natural nor inevitable; rather, it developed through historical processes involving class relations and economic forces. He is concerned with the means and consequences of the accumulation of wealth, but not only that. He also sheds light upon the nature of wealth itself: how it is created, its patterns of distribution, the way it shapes consciousness and culture. If you think “greed, hatred, and ignorance” is an adequate analysis of our social ills, Marx will challenge you to look more deeply. And if you find him wrongheaded and stuck in his viewpoint, so much the better. Like Freud, his errors are legion. But again...

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The Niwano Peace Prize Goes to Sulak Sivaraksa

Originally posted be Buffington Post. Loving kindness, compassion, and above all self-awareness: Thai Buddhist leader Sulak Sivaraksa always returns to those themes when he speaks. But there’s a steely determination behind his gentle facade and admonitions to pay attention to one’s breathing as a first step to self mastery. Sulak accepted the Niwano Peace Prize in Kyoto, Japan, on July 23 in a ceremony that highlighted his life’s work, marked over many decades by the courage, determination, imagination, and the inspiration that are the anchors of his Buddhist faith. It was a splendid occasion to celebrate a special leader. The Niwano Peace Prize has been awarded annually for 28 years, to a leader or organization whose work for peace draws on a religious or spiritual inspiration and a commitment to interfaith action. Established by the Niwano family which leads the lay Buddhist organization, Rissho Kosei-Kai, the winner is selected by an international committee (I am currently the chair). Rather little known in the United States, the Niwano laureates are an impressive group and the aspiration is that this prize be a spiritual equivalent to the Nobel Peace Prize. Sulak Sivaraksa was selected as the 2011 winner because his life of dedication to peace and justice exemplifies the principles of the Niwano Peace Prize. He uses a wide range of tools — insights, personal example, and raw persistence — to change the views of political leaders, scholars, and young people, in Thailand, Asia, and the world. He encourages a new understanding of peace, democracy, and development, challenging accepted approaches that fail to give priority to poor citizens, men and women alike. He gives new life to ancient Buddhist teachings about nonviolence. Sulak Sivaraksa was born in 1933 in Siam (as he prefers to call his country), to a family of Chinese ancestry. Educated in Thailand, England, and Wales, in law and other disciplines. He returned to Bangkok in 1961. He uses his intellectual gifts to propel the concept and movement of Engaged Buddhism. He is a true teacher and has nurtured and supported younger leaders over the years. Many today are leaders of a wide range of organizations. He is also a scholar, publisher, and founder of many organizations, with more than a hundred books...

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BGR's Walk to Feed the Hungry, Sept. 10th, at Riverside Park‏

Written and organized by Bhikkhu Bodhi. Dear Friends, Please bring forth a heart of generosity and compassion and support Buddhist Global Relief’s “Walk to Feed the Hungry” on Sept. 10th, 2011. In New York the walk is at Riverside Park. There will also be a walk in Michigan, at Kensington Park near Ann Arbor.  But whether or not you can attend, please donate, and donate generously. The walk is one of our annual fundraising events, so much depends on your generosity. See our website and the link below for details. With thanks and blessings, Bhikkhu Bodhi BGR’s Walk to Feed the Hungry, Sept. 10th, at Riverside Park When Sun, August 7, 1pm – 2pm...

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Podcast: Bernie Glassman Introduces Symposium for Western Socially Engaged Buddhism

August 9, 2010 Podcast Powered By...

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Community Engagement for the Week of July 25th, 2011

Originally posted by Danny Fisher. by Danny Fisher I had initially planned to do one post for each day of the work week (totaling five by the end of the week), but a lot of things change in the execution, don’t they? It’s making more sense for me to think about a total of three posts each week: “Dharma Talk” on Monday, “Buddhist Studies” on Wednesday, and then there’s Friday… Friday is the day that we will focus on Community Engagement – which I understand as the wide range of works that we can undertake that benefit others locally and globally. Put another way, community engagement is one important area in which we live our values as Buddhists. The Los Angeles Buddhist Union — my own spiritual “home base” these days, as well as the home of the International Order of Buddhist Ministers to which I belong — states that it “promotes practice in meditation, mindfulness, Dharma study, and community engagement” (emphasis added). Part of my job as a lay Buddhist minister, then, is to put some focus on community engagement. Now, I think there’s definitely a limit to how engaged with the community one can be while on the internet. You’ve got to unplug and go out and be among others to be fully engaged with them. So these “Community Engagement” posts will only serve as a start, a stepping stone. (That’s true of the other posts, though, too: my “Dharma Talk” posts aren’t substitutes for real Dharma practice and study with a teacher, and my “Buddhist Studies” posts really only work in conjunction with your own hard work looking at the materials I’ll be covering.) I think these will be the most freely-formed of these weekly posts. Maybe some days I’ll tell you about things I’m doing in my local communities — the ones I live and work in, Buddhist ones, academic ones, activist ones, and so on. Maybe some days I’ll reprint letters I write to newspaper editors and elected representatives. Maybe some days I’ll offer resources for and notifications about service opportunities. Maybe some days I’ll do a little bit of all these things. Maybe some days I’ll do something completely different. Before moving on with the first of these...

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Connected Across a Billion Years

Originally posted by Shambhala SunSpace. A new Shambhala Sun “Earth Dharma” post by Jill S. Schneiderman. For the past month my family and I lived at Eden Village Camp in Putnam Valley, New York. Rooted in the Jewish vision of creating a more environmentally sustainable, socially just, and spiritually connected world, the campers at Eden Village were empowered to promote a vibrant future for themselves, their communities and the planet. While my partner and I worked as science “specialists”—focusing especially on earth science—and our children participated as campers, we lived a collaborative effort to create an earth-based, safe, and kind community. As a result, I came to think of Eden Village as a Jewish version of the Buddhist sangha. My job at the camp was to connect campers scientifically with the ground we walked. In fact, this was a remarkable opportunity not only scientifically, but spiritually because the bedrock of Eden Village camp is ancient, perhaps as much as one billion years old (Proterozoic age). Named by previous geologists the Reservoir gneiss, most of the rock unit consists of interlocked grains of globular quartz and feldspar separated into bands by phyllodough-like layers of thin grains of mica (dark colored mica is named biotite, light colored is muscovite). I find in this geological fact a metaphor for the way in which individuals, whether they are inorganic mineral grains or organic living beings, coexist. The reservoir gneiss is a polymetamorphic rock; that means it has been changed from one solid form into another more than once in its history. These rocks have “lived” a long time and tell multiple tales most especially about chemical and physical responses to dramatic changes in their immediate environment. But they can be read metaphorically as well. Plates of mica have formed layers in the gneiss by aligning themselves so as to present their maximum surface area to the directional forces encountered during mountain building events. (In the image below—a photograph taken of a thin slice of gneiss—the white, black and gray grains are feldspar and quartz whereas the blue, strand-like grains are micas viewed edge-on, as if looking at the sheets of paper in a closed book). At Eden Village, during the early formation of the Appalachian Mountains, the micas shared the...

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Even Politicians Need Love—Ask the Buddha!

Originally posted by Elephant Journal. America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter, and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves. ~ Abraham Lincoln The political arena right now can make any sane person feel sick and angry, because of the few selfish leaders imposing their own egocentric whims. As we have seen in the last few weeks in Washington, politicians appear to enjoy butting heads, creating chaos, and getting close to ruining millions of people’s lives while they’re at it. Granny may not get her Medicare or Ginger be able to pay her college tuition, but do they genuinely care about this, about the pain and suffering of others? How many lobsters, fancy cars, houses or private jets do they need? The awful horror is that these things can never make anyone happy but they certainly can pay for a hospital bed, overdue bill or foreclosure. We’re pretty sure they didn’t include such greed in their election campaigns. It is a man’s own mind, not his enemy or foe, that lures him to evil ways. — Buddha Seems like the Buddha got this one right as there is no doubt the majority of politicians appear sleazy, selfish, stubborn, and focused only on what they think is right, regardless of anyone else. The late senator Ted Kennedy was one of the few who really cared, but as President John F. Kennedy said: Mothers may still want their favorite sons to grow up to be President, but . . . they do not want them to become politicians in the process. For example, during his recent TV show Lawrence O’Donnell played a video of Tea Party Rep Joe Walsh saying, “I won’t place one more dollar of debt on the backs of my kids” before noting that Walsh owes those kids $117,437 in child support. Banning Walsh from his show, O’Donnell added “He can go tell his lies about his family values and his sense of fiscal responsibility elsewhere.” Dangerous consequences will follow when politicians and rulers forget moral principles. Whether we believe in God or karma, ethics is the foundation of every religion. – The Dalai Lama However, this is actually a wonderful opportunity to take all politicians,...

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Is The Jew Still In The Lotus?

Originally posted by Huffington Post. Two meditation practices — Zen Buddhist sitting, and Jewish contemplation. A Zen Master and a Kabbalist walk beside a lake. The roshi turns to the rabbi and says, “You know, the Japanese always leave without saying goodbye. But the Jews — they say goodbye without leaving.” So summed up “Zen and Zohar On Repairing The World,” a recent weeklong spiritual gathering at the Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center in Falls Village, Conn. With koanic precision, the joke also highlights the differences between two meditation practices — Zen Buddhist sitting, with its emphasis on personal wisdom attained through silence, and Jewish contemplation, characterized by text-based reflection in a communal context — that have seemed, in the past half-century, to be one and the same. Just look at the names. Many of the major American Buddhist teachers are Jewish. Besides Bernie Glassman and Eve Marko, who taught at the Zen and Zohar retreat, there’s Jack Kornfield, Sharon Salzberg, Norman Fischer and Sylvia Boorstein, to name a few. “They both feed ultimately into the same place,” says Gail Albert, a retreat participant, “Seeing the extraordinary complexity of the world … as manifestation of the same source.” Jewish and Buddhist meditation may have the same goal, but they manifest differently. And increasingly, the Jewish practice is asserting its unique identity. The Zen and Zohar retreat was as much a merging of Buddhism and Judaism as it was a pulling apart of the two worlds. Co-sponsored by the Jewish Meditation Center of Brooklyn, it brought together Kabbalah teachers Daniel and Hana Matt and Buddhist practitioners Glassman and Marko. Two dozen participants practiced meditation and Jewish mystical text study in the mornings and took part in Zen sits and counsel sessions in the afternoons. All participants at the Zen and Zohar retreat were Jewish. Some, though, were recently returned to their roots after a journey into the belly of the Buddha. Alison Laichter, 31, the founder of the Jewish Meditation Center (JMC), says that many people at the retreat asked her similar questions: How is this different than Buddhism? How is this related to Buddhism? “Look,” she would respond, “Buddhism doesn’t have a monopoly on the breath.” In other words, breathing is not a Buddhist...

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Long-Delayed Show of Buddhist Art From Pakistan Is to Open

Originally posted by Buddhist Channel. Soared in the aftermath of the killing of Osama bin Laden. A long-planned exhibition of nearly 70 pieces of Buddhist art from Pakistan will finally open at Asia Society on Aug. 9, after political intrigue in Pakistan and a breakdown in American-Pakistani relations delayed it for six months. New York, USA — Anti-Americanism, which soared in the aftermath of the killing of Osama bin Laden, helped put the show in jeopardy, said Melissa Chiu, the director of Asia Society Museum. The death of a major advocate, Richard C. Holbrooke, the Obama administration’s senior diplomat for Pakistan and a former chairman of Asia Society, also complicated matters, she said, as did problems with getting American visas for the Pakistanis chosen to accompany the objects to New York. << Central Museum, Lahore A piece in Asia Society’s show of Gandhara art. Shows that depend on loans from abroad are often fraught with difficulties, with museum directors jealously guarding national treasures. Exacting negotiations that stretch to the 11th hour are commonplace. But never before has the society announced a show, chosen an opening night and then been forced to postpone it. The obstacles became so intense that at times the exhibition, devoted to the splendors of the ancient Buddhist civilization of Gandhara that flourished in northern Pakistan 2,000 years ago, almost foundered. Ms. Chiu said her argument to Pakistani authorities — that showing the antiquities in New York could help counterbalance the image of Pakistan as the world’s most dangerous place — was a tough sell. “I persisted because this is a unique opportunity for us to show the cultural heritage of Pakistan at a time when U.S.-Pakistan relations are probably at their lowest ever,” she said. The exhibition was of particular importance, Ms. Chiu said, because Asia Society views its role as reaching beyond the display of art to encourage a broader understanding of Asian cultures. Moreover the sculpture, architectural reliefs and works of gold and bronze in the show, which were produced from the third century B.C. to the fifth century A.D., are poorly represented in American museums. The last exhibition devoted to Gandhara art in the United States was at Asia Society in 1960. The first sign of trouble...

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Barbara O'Brien Buddhism and Alternative Medicine

Originally posted by About.com. An article by David Freedman at The Atlantic, unfortunately titled “The Triumph of New-Age Medicine,” got me thinking about alternative medical therapies and their connections to Buddhism. (I say “unfortunately” because I think it’s intellectually sloppy to shovel everything that is not Western Rational Materialist Orthodoxy into the “New Age” box, but that’s another rant.) Reiki seems to have some connection to Zen, although I don’t know precisely what that connection is. Meditation (especially mindfulness!) is being widely touted as a health aid these days. I understand traditional Tibetan medicine considers the three poisons to be at the root of many physical ills. I have little personal experience with alternative medicines, but that’s mostly because my insurance doesn’t cover it. When I was younger I was very scornful of everything the medical establishment told us to scorn. However, these days I’m inclined to think that medical science doesn’t know everything, and just because there is no known scientific explanation for the effectiveness of, say, acupuncture, doesn’t mean acupuncture isn’t effective. If people say it helps them, I believe them. Placebo effect? Years ago health care experts realized that sometimes a sugar pill could be as effective as “real” medicine if the patient believed he was getting “real” medicine. But instead of investigating how a patient’s beliefs and thoughts could affect outcomes, the experts treated placebos as gremlins of statistical noise that must be factored out of results. Only recently have researchers taken a serious look at how placebos work. They’re finding that variables such as the colors of pills and the personalities of the administrators of the pills make measurable differences in outcomes. They don’t know precisely why this might be true, any more than they know why acupuncture or reiki might help someone feel better. But it’s starting to dawn on some in the health care field that maybe the placebo effect could be a resource instead of a problem. There’s a lesson here about how difficult it is even for smart people to see beyond the limits of their assumptions. Getting back to the Atlantic article — one of the points it makes is that modern western medicine actually began when doctors learned how to cure infectious disease....

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Punk, Parenting, and The Heart of the Revolution

Originally posted by Shambhala Sun. Being reminded of Buddhist practices that   emphasizes,  compassion, forgiveness and sympathetic. John Malkin interviews Buddhist teacher Noah Levine “What began as my own commitment to meditation and these little meditation groups that started in my living room in Santa Cruz thirteen years ago,” says Levine, “has grown organically into this national and international movement within Buddhism but also with a kind of an alternative to the mainstream Buddhist offerings. …I feel really grateful.” With his new book The Heart of the Revolution out — you can read the Shambhala Sun magazine’s review here, and a guest review by blogger Tanya McGinnity here — we bring you this extensive interview with author and Buddhist teacher Noah Levine, conducted by journalist John Malkin. John Malkin: I’ve enjoyed reading “The Heart of the Revolution” and being reminded of Buddhist practices that you are emphasizing including compassion, forgiveness and sympathetic joy. You write about how there are two clear dead ends in trying to deal with suffering, worldliness and religion. Tell me more about those dead ends. Noah Levine: There’s a couple of different ways to talk about it; there’s my own experiences, and [also] from ancient Buddhist scriptures. Buddhism has certainly become a major world religion and I feel pretty clear that the founder, Siddhartha Guatama, whom we refer to as The Buddha, was pretty clearly trying not to create a religion. He was trying to offer some practical tools. These things are called The Four Noble Truths and The Eightfold Path as a way to live. Not a religion, not a faith, not a devotional practice. But just some really practical guidelines of how to live our lives if we wish to be happy, if we wish to end the extra difficulties and suffering that are possible to end. Then here’s a way to do it. This was the core of his message. Now, of course, over the past couple thousand years that message has turned from a practical pragmatic philosophy into a major world religion that has many of the same problems that all world religions have. For me, someone who grew up in the punk scene and always had been very wary of religion, when I found out that...

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Sexual Abuse Allegations Against U.S. Theravada Sangha

Originally posted by Buddhism About. The Chicago Tribune has a major investigative feature story on sexual abuse allegations in American Theravada temples serving ethnic Asian communities. The reporter, Megan Twohey, says  “A Tribune review of sexual abuse cases involving several Theravada Buddhist temples found minimal accountability and lax oversight of monks accused of preying on vulnerable targets.” In short, monks have been able to skip out of facing charges simply by moving to another temple. This is possible because they are viewed as free agents, not answerable to a higher ecclesiastical authority. If a temple asks a  monk to leave, once he is gone the monks remaining in a  temple probably would not know where he went and cannot help law enforcement find him. The feature focuses on a Chicago-area monk who allegedly molested at least two adolescent girls and impregnated one of them. The monk confessed to fondling the girls, but not to sexual intercourse. The temple sent a letter to the family saying the matter was “resolved” and the monk had been sent back to Thailand, although in fact he only got as far as another temple in California, where he has access to more adolescent girls. The reporter tracked the monk down and informed him that DNA evidence had determined he is the father of a child. He appeared happy to hear this but insists he hadn’t had sex with the child’s mother, but had only given her money and candy. (According to the rules of the Vinaya, a monk who confesses to sexual intercourse is automatically expelled from the order.) Another monk who had faced criminal charges for sexual assault of a 16-year-old in Texas evaded police with the help of his temple. A California temple was found guilty of negligence after one of its monks was convicted and imprisoned of multiple sexual assaults. According to one source there are approximately 350 Theravada temples in the U.S., housing more than 1,000 monks. I trust the monks involved in sexual predation are a small minority. Because there is no institutional authority in the U.S. over these temples, it is up to the heads of individual temples to determine what to do about monks accused of wrongdoing. There is also no authority...

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This Week: Celebrate Roshi Joan's Birthday!

No single answer can hold the truth of a good heart. ~Roshi Joan Halifax~ Upaya Institute and Zen Center is thriving because of the partnership and support of many people, but it exists because of one person and her vision: Roshi Joan Halifax. This Saturday, July 30th, is Roshi’s 69th birthday. For more than 20 years, Roshi has devoted herself to building Upaya as a resource for all who are seeking compassionate and skillful ways to be in the world. The Chaplaincy Program is one manifestation of that effort, as is the Project on Being with Dying, the Upaya Prison Project, the Nomads Clinic (in Tibet), and the many other initiatives supported by Upaya. Roshi has let us know that the most meaningful way to celebrate her birthday this year would be to make a contribution to support Upaya’s program scholarships, general fund, or to help fund the recently purchased house that is now part of Upaya’s property. Your gift will enable many other people to benefit from the good work generated at Upaya. If Upaya has played an important part in your life and if you wish to honor Roshi’s work and celebrate her birthday, please help us continue this legacy by making an online contribution today. If you’d rather make a donation via phone, please call Roberta Koska, 505-986-8518, ext 12, or mail to: Upaya Zen Center, 1404 Cerro Gordo Rd, Santa Fe, NM 87501. Happy birthday, dear...

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BG 221: No System Exists in a Vacuum

Originally posted by Buddhist Geeks. Episode Description We’re joined again by Yoga and Buddhist meditation teacher Michael Stone, this time to look at Buddhism as a system. We speak about the interrelations between spiritual systems and the sociological, ecological, and cultural systems that also make up our lives. We also explore what it means for dharma to be in concert with its environment looking at how a systems view may support our motivations to really bring inner wisdom into the outer world. This is part 2 of a two-part series. Listen to part 1, Connections Between Yoga & Buddhism. Episode Links: Centre of Gravity The Ariyapariyesana Sutta Buddhist Geeks | The Conference Transcript: Vincent: So I was just reading one of your books you were describing the historical evolution of both Buddhism and yoga, which is something that we explored together, and you wrote something that really struck me. You said, “No system is created or practiced in a vacuum.” And in some ways you’re saying that as what I would consider very post-modern perspective on the nature of systems themselves, how systems are these sort of invisible, organizing patterns. And this type of awareness, to be able to say something like this, to me I haven’t seen much awareness of that in the traditions themselves. There’s some kind of proto-postmodernism and people like Nagarjuna and things like that, obviously. At the same time, to say that these systems were not created in the vacuum, there’s something else in that that speaks to me more of the wisdom of the West, this sort of post-modern philosophical perspective. I don’t want to go completely into the philosophical but as you were mentioning earlier, we can’t really in some way separate our language from our understanding or experience of what’s going on. We can drop into that pre-linguistic mode. But then we always have to come back and interpret and understand what we’ve experienced even if it was below the level of language. I was wondering if you could say a little bit about what the implications are of recognizing that all of these different wisdoms, systems and traditions, Buddhism, yoga, everything really, has evolved in concert with certain cultural patterns and conditions. What does that...

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Buddhist academy aims for growth

Originally posted by Buddhist Channel. Pacific Buddhist Academy is kicking off a public fundraising campaign,watch the video! Honolulu, Hawaii (USA) — Pacific Buddhist Academy in Nuuanu will publicly launch a $5 million capital campaign Friday as part of the first phase of an expansion plan. << Pacific Buddhist Academy is kicking off a public fundraising campaign Friday aimed at expanding its campus and doubling enrollment. Sam Sueoka, left, Jarrett Kam, Kayla Suganuma, Connor Emerson and Noelle Chang gathered Tuesday in a campus garden. The school is looking to double its enrollment to 120 by 2013. The academy, the only Shin Buddhist college prep school in the country, has approached foundations, corporations and philanthropists over the past year to seek funding for a new six-classroom building. So far, the academy has raised $2.8 million. Now school officials want to reach out to the public for donations big and small to gather the rest needed for the 25,500-square-foot building, which will also feature a science lab, a multipurpose room and a rooftop garden. The $5 million price tag includes the cost of state-of-the-art equipment and classroom technology, furniture and fixtures. Construction is slated to begin in spring 2012 and wrap up in time for the fall 2013 school year. In the longer term, the school hopes to conduct a second expansion phase, adding another building that would allow enrollment to increase to about 240, said Pieper Toyama, head of school. He said the second phase probably will cost about $8 million. The school has not yet decided when that phase will begin. Pacific Buddhist Academy opened in 2003 with 15 students, and bills itself as a unique alternative that emphasizes academics along with Buddhist values and critical thinking. At the school, in the shadow of the pristine white Honpa Hongwanji Hawaii Betsuin temple, students are required to take all the normal courses —math, science and reading — along with a few nontraditional ones, such as yoga and kendo. Before they enter a classroom, they must bow, symbolizing their gratitude. And discipline at the academy is modeled after Buddhist tenets. Students who break rules aren’t punished, but counseled or told to meditate as they pull weeds in the school garden. In more severe cases, therapy is arranged...

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Dalai Lama says he will decide successor

Originally posted by Buddhist Channel. WASHINGTON, USA — Tibet’s spiritual leader the Dalai Lama has insisted that he will guide the choice of his successor, saying China’s plans to control the selection of the Buddhist leader were “ridiculous.” << Tibet’s spiritual leader the Dalai Lama. – File Photo The Dalai Lama on Monday headed back to his home in exile in India after a nearly two-week visit to the United States. President Barack Obama welcomed him Saturday at the White House, leading China to lodge a protest. China has tried to isolate the Dalai Lama, but he remains widely popular around the world and packed arenas throughout his US visit. Many Tibetans believe Beijing is waiting for his death, hoping his cause will end with him. The Dalai Lama, who turned 76 during his US visit and appears to be in good health, was emphatic that he would not allow China to stage-manage his succession. “The Dalai Lama’s rebirth or next life logically, finally, it is my business, not others’ business,” the Dalai Lama told NBC television’s “Today” show in an interview broadcast on Monday. “My next life, ultimately, I will decide – no one else,” he said. Referring to Chinese leaders, the Dalai Lama said: “Recently, they have some kind of policy, some certain policy, but that is quite ridiculous.” It was unclear if the Dalai Lama meant he would control his successor’s selection in a practical or a spiritual sense. Under Tibetan tradition, monks identify a young boy who shows signs he is a reincarnation of a late lama. But the Dalai Lama has said in the past that he is willing to break custom by choosing his successor before his death or among exiles outside Tibet. The Dalai Lama has also said he is open to picking a girl. China’s leadership – whose ruling Communist Party is officially atheist – said in March 2010 that it had ultimate authority on the next Dalai Lama and that any choice without Beijing’s approval would be “illegitimate and invalid.” In a potential harbinger of future controversy, China in 1995 rejected the Dalai Lama’s choice to be the Panchen Lama, the second-highest ranking Tibetan Buddhist, and picked its own boy. The Chinese-raised Panchen Lama, Gyaincain...

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The Lumbini project: China's $3bn for Buddhism

Originally posted by Buddhist Channel. Little Lumbini….China  leading  project worth $3bn to transform the small town into the premier place of pilgrimage for Buddhists from around the world. Lumbini, Nepal — The town of Lumbini in Nepal is where the Buddha was born as Prince Gautama Siddhartha, before achieving enlightenment more than 2,500 years ago. Now China is leading a project worth $3bn to transform the small town into the premier place of pilgrimage for Buddhists from around the world.  Little Lumbini will have an airport, highway, hotels, convention centre, temples and a Buddhist university. That’s in addition to the installation of water, electricity and communication lines it currently lacks. That’s a lot of money anywhere – but especially for a country like Nepal whose GDP was $35bn last year. That means the project is worth almost 10 per cent of the country’s GDP. So what does China want back? The organization behind the project is called the Asia Pacific Exchange and Cooperation Foundation (APECF), a quasi-governmental non-governmental organisation. Its executive vice president, Xiao Wunan, is a member of the Communist Party and holds a position at the National Development and Reform Commission, a state agency. On Friday, APECF held a signing ceremony for the project with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). With the backing of the UN, Xiao has said he hopes Lumbini will bring together all three schools of the faith: the Mahayana as practised in China, Japan, and South Korea; the Hinayana as practiced in Southeast Asia; and Tibetan Buddhism. Indeed, the APECF says it has already received full support from Buddhists representing all three schools. With one exception. Apparently, no one from the Lumbini project has reached out to the Dalai Lama’s office. The Dalai Lama, head of the Gelug, or “Yellow Hat” branch of Buddhism, is spiritual leader to millions of Buddhists around the world. This would make him a top candidate for involvement in the Lumbini project. But he’s also China’s enemy. Is it even fathomable that China would allow the Dalai Lama to traipse around Lumbini’s grounds after building the place at a cost of $3bn? “It’s just not a question we’re looking at, for the moment,” says Xiao. “We’re pulling together experts in finance,...

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The Clear View Project

Alan Senauke talks about the  accomplishments this year of the  Clear View Project do to past support. Dear Friends, Winter and Spring (and now Summer)have been productive here at Clear View Project.  Because you have supported us – either recently or in the past – I want to talk about our accomplishments this year, and ask for your continuing support so that we can maintain our engaged Buddhism work in Asia and the United States. If you have already mailed in a donation, thanks so much. Burma In April Clear View hosted senior Saffron Revolution monk U Pyinya Zawta in the Bay Area. U Pyinya Zawta is Executive Director in Exile of the All Burma Monks’ Alliance.  He gave talks at Berkeley Zen Center, UC Berkeley, and the Metta Center for Nonviolence, as well as co-leading a daylong retreat at Spirit Rock with Tempel Smith and myself. Many thanks to Clear View’s Margaret Howe for organizing and Kenneth Wong for first-class translation. Last summer, along with exiled monks U Gawsita and U Agga, U Pyinya Zawta founded the Metta Parami Monastery in Brooklyn, NY, where he practices and serves his community in the U.S. and Burma. Our Adopt a Monk from the Saffron Revolution program continues letter writing and emergency funding for more than 250 monks and nuns in Burma’s prisons and in exile throughout the world. So far this year we have helped raise more than $4000 towards their support, with additional funds in the pipeline. Burma’s jewel-like Inle Lake, in Shan State, is dying from an overload of pesticides, sewage, and unsustainable agriculture.  This threatens not just the lake, but the health and livelihood of more than 70,000 people who live by its shores. Clear View, with primary support from Dharma Gaia Trust, is helping to fund Burma’s Buddhist Youth Empowerment Project’s (BYEP)  Inle Lake Watershed Rehabilitation Program. We have just transferred $5000 in support to BYEP. Project leadership is based in Burma, involving good friends from International Network of Engaged Buddhist circles. India I returned to India in March, following up on work last winter with Dalit Buddhist youth at Nagaloka, a remarkable school and training center in Nagpur.  With more time this year, I taught about issues of gender –...

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We invested all we have into Socially Engaged Buddhism~Joerg Ulmer

It started when His Holiness the Dalai Lama clearly told us: “It is not enough, that we we pray and meditate in monasteries. We need to bring our engagement to the society”.  This direction came associated with our organizing His Holiness’ 2009 visit to Frankfurt.  It inspired my wife Mona and I to establish an annual international symposium on Buddhism and ethics, the second of which took place on June 11-13, 2011 in Mainz, Germany. That we failed financially lies in the fact that the people have the opinion that the dharma has to be free of charge and that we are blamed to be greedy and to fill our wallets in the name of Buddha.  In the dana boxes through which we invited event participants to support the event, all we found was a couple of buttons (we had no idea people carry old buttons in their pockets!). Most people don’t see that we gave everything we ever owned for the dharma.  We invested all our money, our house, and savings in the symposium to pay the invoices, which we hoped to pay from the ticketbuyers. Now all is gone and we are on wellfare since July 1st.  The costs of a symposium is not interesting to people. They just want the essence of the teachings and speeches and to gain enlightenment for themselves. German websites about this Symposium (English coming soon): http://www.buddhismus-und-ethik.de/spenden.html...

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Was Dalai Lama upstaged in Washington?

Originally posted by Buddhist Channel. Watch the video on China`s reaction to Obama`s interaction with the Dalai Lama. DHARAMSALA, India — There were more reasons than usual for Beijing to feel furious over United States President Barack Obama’s date with the Dalai Lama last week. Annual meetings with the Dalai Lama have become almost traditional for US presidents, as has China’s angry response. What was different this time, however, was the coincidental presence in Washington of nearly all of Tibet’s important religious and political figures in exile. The 17th Karmapa Lama, Ogyen Trinley Dorje – the Dalai Lama’s potential successor – and the newly sworn-in prime minister of the exiled Tibetan government, Lobsang Sangay, were in town attending the Kalachakra for World Peace, an 11-day Buddhist ritual that attracted a US audience of thousands. While the Karmapa’s presence at the Kalachakra drew media attention, the main event for Tibetan interests remained the Dalai Lama’s second meeting with Obama since he became president. “This meeting underscores the president’s strong support for the preservation of Tibet’s unique religious, cultural and linguistic identity and the protection of human rights for Tibetans,” said a White House statement after the meeting. Though the sentiment was a rare departure from the US’s oft-reiterated commitment to its “one China” policy, the meeting again led China to warn of a possible impact on Sino-US relations. Vice Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai summoned the US representative in Beijing to lodge “solemn representations”. Obama’s meeting with the Dalai Lama “severely interferes in China’s internal affairs, hurts the Chinese people’s feelings and harms China-US relations”, said Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu in a statement. “The Dalai Lama has for a long time used the banner of religion to engage in anti-China splittist activities … We demand the United States conscientiously handle China’s principled and just stance, immediately take steps to remove the baneful impact, stop interfering in China’s internal affairs and stop abetting in and supporting ‘Tibet independence’ anti-China splittist forces.” After years of similar spats, Beijing’s protests over the Dalai Lama’s US visit appear routine, especially as the spiritual leader retired from politics in March. Perhaps China should’ve been paying more attention to the arrival in Washington of the 17th Karmapa, Tibetan Buddhism’s third-highest lama...

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Engaging the world through Buddhism

Originally posted by Buddhist Channel. Applied insights from  meditation practice. Washington, D.C. (USA) — Engaged Buddhism refers to Buddhists who are seeking ways to practically apply insights from their meditation practice and spiritual teachings to social, political, environmental, and economic suffering and injustice. << Practitioners listen as Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama speaks during the Kalachakra for World Peace at the Verizon Center in Washington, DC, July 6, 2011. (SAUL LOEB – AFP/GETTY IMAGES) While the roots of Engaged Buddhism may be found in the teachings and actions of the Buddha himself, and other great teachers of the past, Engaged Buddhism can also be understood principally as a movement that began in the late 19th century as a response to Western colonialism in Asia. It is best known through its political movements, such as the struggles by the Tibetan, Burmese, and Vietnamese Buddhists for self-determination, democracy, and peace. Engaged Buddhism is not simply being a Buddhist and involvement in politics and social justice. Rather, Engaged Buddhists critically and creatively apply the Buddha’s teachings to transform themselves and their societies. Thich Nhat Hanh of Vietnam, Ajan Maha Ghosanand of Cambodia, The Dalai Lama of Tibet, Aung San Suu Kyi of Burma, and Ajan Sulak Sivaraksa of Thailand are modern-day leaders who embody Engaged Buddhist principals and have guided organizations such as the Buddhist Peace Fellowship, the International Network of Engaged Buddhist, and the Zen Peacemakers. When I first went to Tibet in the late 1990s, I was on a pilgrimage and did not intend to involve myself with politics in general, nor practice Engaged Buddhism. The roadmap for my pilgrimage was the far-ranging travels across Tibet by a 19th century mystic known as Tertön Sogyal. I meditated among hermits in remote sanctuaries and slept in caves where Tertön Sogyal had experienced spiritual visions. On foot, on horseback, and in dilapidated buses, I crossed the same snow-covered passes that he had used to travel from eastern Tibet to Lhasa. I was searching out the living masters and yogis who uphold Tertön Sogyal’s spiritual lineage and could tell me the oral history of his life and teachings. But my pilgrimage took an unexpected turn. The more time I spent in Tibet delving into the 19th-century teachings...

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A Birthday Wish!

Hello, and thank you for checking out my Birthday Wish! For my birthday on July 22nd, I’m asking everyone I know for a special gift: help me raise $1000 for To Haiti With Love: Seva Challenge 2011. I am asking you to help To Haiti With Love: Seva Challenge 2011 because I have committed to raising $20,000 this year for sustainable relief efforts in Haiti.  If I meet this goal, I will travel to Haiti next year to put your donated funds into action building an orphanage and community center, installing water filtration systems, planting trees and providing micro-credit to those in need. Please consider giving to my Birthday Wish, and together we can make a real difference in Haiti. If you can’t give now, and even if you can, I’d really appreciate if you’d also share this page with everyone you know. Many thanks, Christy —- To give to or share Christy Freer’s Birthday Wish, follow the link below:...

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Want to be part of the Friends of Bernie cybersangha squad?

For a relaunch of Zen Peacemakers website we are looking for passionate people, who appreciate the power of the Internet to reduce suffering, enjoy creating something new and want to be part of Bernie Glassman’s vision of peace. The main task will be transferring content from the old website to a new WordPress platform. Knowledge of WordPress or HTML is helpful, but not necessary. Later on, we will need help to market and promote the website and translators from English to German (other languages will follow). Ideal would be a longer committment to work on this project, but help for the relaunch alone (July -October) is welcome. How much time you can offer is up to you, but 5-10 hours per week would be ideal. We will show you via screen sharing what to do. We will communicate via skype and email. We will add a lot of new features to the website, so there will always be a lot to do. If you like to join our team we will be happy to work with you. Working on this project is dharma work and practice and a great opportunity to spread the dharma. If you are interested, please contact:...

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Letter from Cadzand on Socially Engaged Buddhism

On 18-19 June 2011, the committee ‘Buddhism and Society’ of the European Buddhist Union organised an informal networking weekend, hosted by the Naropa Institute in Cadzand, the Netherlands. Socially engaged Buddhist networks from the United States, Asia and Europe were represented. The purpose of the brainstorming weekend was – to share ideas on how Buddhism can contribute to a better world – to evaluate the links between Buddhist practice and social engagement – to encourage communication and support among existing Buddhist initiatives worldwide Over 2600 years ago, Siddhartha Gautama rejected all forms of social discrimination and institutionalized inequalities. Buddhism teaches that everyone, regardless of race, colour, gender, sexual orientation, language, religion, political ideology, nationality, social origins, property, birth status or other distinctions, has the potential to become enlightened. The global financial crisis reminds us that social and economic structures are fashioned by human minds, which also implies that they can be reconstructed. No-self, impermanence and interconnectedness are inspirational core teachings that help us (with meditation and other contemplative practices) to identify suffering and the causes of suffering, and to act compassionately, with awareness of our own motivations. Becoming aware of the suffering due to abuse, injury, poverty, illness, imprisonment, oppression and war continues to be a source of action for many Buddhists. Many types of initiatives have been developed in different parts of the world. The participants at the meeting in Cadzand came to the following conclusions: 1. Many socially engaged projects by Buddhists are not well known within the broader Buddhist community. The participants identified a strong need to share ideas and methods. It would therefore be useful to set up a directory and network, a sort of World Forum for Socially Engaged Buddhism, to facilitate global communication and cooperation. The participants intend to support informal networks via mailing groups and the construction of a website where existing initiatives, ideas and literature are easily accessible. 2. As a first step it would be useful to organize a European symposium on Socially Engaged Buddhism in the near future (Summer 2013). This will be the third in a series of major conferences on the topic, following a symposium on engaged Buddhism in the United States (August 2010 in Montague, Massachusetts) and a forthcoming conference on ‘The...

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The Buddhist Peace Fellowship has a short-term job opening

Originally posted by Buddhist Peace Fellowship. Dear Friends, The Buddhist Peace Fellowship has a short-term job opening. We are looking for an Operations Manager to start as soon as mid July. The Operations Manager will be responsible for the bookkeeping, human resources, and other needs of the organization, while supporting and participating in organizational change. This position will work with the Executive Director for three months, at which point there will be a re-evaluation and a decision to extend the position for another three months, extend the position with a long-term contract, or end the position. Personal characteristics: · Flexibility, enthusiasm, and energy for engaging with changing circumstances · Capacity to self-direct, work autonomously, and identify and initiate work · Capacity to collaborate, work as part of a team, and receive instructions and direction · Very careful attention to detail · Ability to juggle many tasks and deadlines Skill and experience areas: · QuickBooks · Database software · Familiarity with the financial, tax, and legal filings and reporting requirements of a 501c3 in California · Familiarity with employee benefits · Familiarity with nonprofit structures · Experience recruiting and managing volunteers and interns The Buddhist Peace Fellowship does not discriminate on the basis of age, religion, race, sex, ethnic background, marital or veteran status, national origin, disability, or sexual orientation. People of color, women, and LGBTI individuals are encouraged to apply. For information about our work, please visit www.bpf.org Hours: 30 hours/ week for three months from start date To apply, please email a cover letter and resume by July 10th to:...

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Upaya’s Engaged Buddhism in Nepal

Originally posted b y Upaya News. Roshi Joan  guides and supported the Nomads Clinics in the Himalayan regions of Asia. Engaged Buddhism has many extraordinary expressions at Upaya. In addition to our work in the end-of-life care field, Upaya’s prison project, donating food to the homeless shelter, our chaplaincy training program, the Nomads Clinic has been a constant in the life of Upaya. Since the early 1980′s, Roshi Joan has guided and supported the Nomads Clinics in the Himalayan regions of Asia. She founded the clinic as a way to bring medical care to the remote regions of the Himalayas and Tibetan Plateau. This past year’s clinic has given rise to a number of important projects: • Iodine project to prevent goitre in Limi, thanks to Zorba Paster, Joe Sensenbrenner, Brian Quennell • Education project in Limi, thanks to Peggy Murray, Michael Daub, Roshi Enkyo O’Hara • Citta Hospital project in Simikot, thanks to Kat Bogazc • Education of health aides in Simikot, thanks to Liane Collins, Peggy Murray, Ghazaleh Ashar Attar Roshi wants to thank Michael Daub, founder of Citta. Citta and Arlene Samen’s One Heart World-Wide, are now sharing an office in Kathmandu. This collaboration, facilitated through Roshi, is yielding much at this time. Michael is in Limi as of this newsletter firming up details and agreements for the education project. He will also be refining the work at Citta Hospital in Simikot, where Kat Bogazc and various clinicians who are going on this year’s trip to Mustang will be serving. Finally, the Nomads Clinic will be serving in a new region this September and October, when Roshi takes a large group of clinicians and friends to Mustang. For information about this work, please contact Roshi [email protected] Roshi plans to do a similar trip to Dolpo in the fall of 2012. The Mustang endeavor is currently...

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Buddhism and Alternative Medicine

Originally posted by Buddhism About.com. Reiki and Zen, the connection. Sponsored Links The Ultimate ExperienceLearn How to Have Your First Astral Projection Experience…www.TheArtofAstralProjection.com Ready to Heal Yourself?If You Truly Want to Heal Yourself Download This Free Healing Exercisewww.SilvaMindBodyHealing.com What is Quantum Jumping?Discover Why Thousands of People are “Jumping” to Change Their Lifewww.QuantumJumping.com An article by David Freedman at The Atlantic, unfortunately titled “The Triumph of New-Age Medicine,” got me thinking about alternative medical therapies and their connections to Buddhism. (I say “unfortunately” because I think it’s intellectually sloppy to shovel everything that is not Western Rational Materialist Orthodoxy into the “New Age” box, but that’s another rant.) Reiki seems to have some connection to Zen, although I don’t know precisely what that connection is. Meditation (especially mindfulness!) is being widely touted as a health aid these days. I understand traditional Tibetan medicine considers the three poisons to be at the root of many physical ills. I have little personal experience with alternative medicines, but that’s mostly because my insurance doesn’t cover it. When I was younger I was very scornful of everything the medical establishment told us to scorn. However, these days I’m inclined to think that medical science doesn’t know everything, and just because there is no known scientific explanation for the effectiveness of, say, acupuncture, doesn’t mean acupuncture isn’t effective. If people say it helps them, I believe them. Placebo effect? Years ago health care experts realized that sometimes a sugar pill could be as effective as “real” medicine if the patient believed he was getting “real” medicine. But instead of investigating how a patient’s beliefs and thoughts could affect outcomes, the experts treated placebos as gremlins of statistical noise that must be factored out of results. Only recently have researchers taken a serious look at how placebos work. They’re finding that variables such as the colors of pills and the personalities of the administrators of the pills make measurable differences in outcomes. They don’t know precisely why this might be true, any more than they know why acupuncture or reiki might help someone feel better. But it’s starting to dawn on some in the health care field that maybe the placebo effect could be a resource instead of a problem. There’s...

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Angry Asian Buddhist’s Interview with Kevin Wu for LGBT Pride Month

Originally posted by Danny Fisher. Check it out right...

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Dalai Lama's greatest challenge: trying to retire

Originally post by Buddhist Channel. DHARMSALA, India — In a lifetime spent advocating the plight of his Tibetan community, promoting inter-religious harmony and pleading for world peace, the Dalai Lama now faces perhaps his greatest challenge: trying to truly retire from politics. << In this picture taken Friday, July 1, 2011, Tibetan artisan Yangzom, 52, who fled Tibet overland in 1991, holds the portrait of Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama that hangs in her shop in the hill station town of Dharmsala, northern India. In a lifetime spent advocating the plight of his Tibetan community, promoting inter-religious harmony and pleading for world peace, the Dalai Lama now faces perhaps his greatest challenge: trying to truly retire from politics. (AP Photo/Kevin Frayer) In May, the Dalai Lama formally stepped down as head of the Tibetan government-in-exile, giving up the political power that he and his predecessors as Dalai Lama have wielded over Tibetans for hundreds of years. Though he remains the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism, his decision to abdicate is one of the biggest upheavals in the community since the Chinese crackdown led him to flee in 1959 into exile in India. And it raises the question of whether a man worshipped by his people as a living deity can ever stop leading them. “It’s almost impossible for the Tibetan people to accept that their political, religious leader, their Buddha, will be truncated to just a religious leader,” said Tenzin Tsundue, a 37-year-old poet and activist. There are other questions as well, of the legitimacy of the exile government to speak for all Tibetans, of China’s refusal to talk to the new leaders and of whether elected representatives could ever make a decision contradicting the revered holy man. The Dalai Lama, the 14th in a line of men said to be the living incarnation of Chenrezig, a Buddhist god of compassion, says he had little choice. Though he appears hearty, he turns 76 this week. He said he needed to act now because he feared political chaos would erupt in the Tibetan community after his eventual death, when the Chinese government and Buddhist monks are certain to argue over the identity of his successor reincarnation as the 15th Dalai Lama. “Now, that danger...

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Perspectives clash at Wanderlust Festival.

Originally posted by Elephant. Overwhelmed but love ele, just want the cream of our mindful crop? Just get one email a week with our top ten blogs of the week via our lovely e-newsletter. It’s free. Via Ari Setsudo Pliskin on Jun 28, 2011 Siphoning some of the $5 billion industry yoga industry toward good. I attended a workshop Friday entitled Becoming a leader: yogis for interpersonal and global change at the Wanderlust Festival in Vermont.  The workshop was led by Off the Mat Into World (OTM) leaders; Seane Corn, Suzanne Sterling and Kerry Kelly.  Seane began the class by inviting us to gather near the main stage.  The leaders explained that the mission of Off the Mat is to aid yogis in applying the strength, flexibility and perseverance that they learn on the yoga mat into the world of social service and social action.  “This is a $5 billion industry,” Seane explained “There are 20 million people in the U.S. that are practicing yoga.  It is a community that is educated, that pay their taxes and that vote.  I’ve always dreamed what would happen if we could align ourselves to focus on one issue over another and really rally our resources”. Inviting social ailments onto the yoga mat After the introduction, we returned to our mats and Seane instructed us to lay on our backs with our eyes closed in Supta Baddha Konasana.  She guided us into an open state and invited us to consider the social ailment that touches us most deeply.  Tears flowed from my eyes as I recalled street kids, who cracked my heart open 11 years ago working at a summer camp.  I hadn’t thought about that experience for some time. Meditation led by Suzanne Sterling (I am bald guy with green shirt) After Seane led some vinyasa flow interspersed with words connecting our asanas to social activism, Suzanne took over with another guided meditation accompanied by drum beat.  She brought us through the darkest aspects of the human experience, including poverty and natural disaster, to our deepest inspirations and hope.  She invited us to reflect on three things -something that challenges us, something that make us hopeful, and a value that we deeply stand for – and then...

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Notes from a London Meditation Flash Mob

Originally posted by Shambhala SunSpace. Meditation flash mob sponsored by  Wake Up London sangha. Tonight at 6:30 in front of St. Paul’s Church in Covent Garden, dozens of Londoners and global citizens of all ages took their seats on the rain-damp cobblestones to create a meditation flash mob sponsored by a local sangha called Wake Up London. Organized quietly on Facebook, the mass sit-in was the second public dharma event hosted by the group; the first took place in June in Trafalgar Square. It was a challenging setting for urban practice. Covent Garden is one of the most crowded and chaotic spots in London, with streams of tourists pouring through the area in front of the church and eating in restaurants around the square, and street musicians and other performers contributing to the general din. Tonight was no exception. But there was magic in the moment that a silent signal passed through the crowd and practitioners starting laying down zafus, gomdens, backpacks, and coats and jackets and taking their places. At first, some of the startled onlookers didn’t quite know what to make of the event, but after a few minutes of silent sitting — with incense and music from groups of nearby acrobats wafting over the heads of the practitioners — a huge area of the 17th Century square became focused and tranquil. Wake Up London described its goals as follows: 1. To create an environment for people from all walks of life to come together in meditation. 2. To spread awareness of meditation to the public. 3. To come together as a community to send positive intentions out into the world. 4. To show that leading by example is the best way to lead. Simple acts can stimulate major paradigm shifts in thinking. As tourists rushing from the Underground to the nearby bistros and theatres paused to take in the spectacle of more than a hundred people planting themselves on the  earth to appreciate a half-hour of mindfulness, it was easy to believe that more than a few paradigms shifted before the practitioners faded back into the passing crowd. Click here for more from Steve Silberman on SunSpace. And be sure to follow Steve on Twitter. (TIME named him one of their Top...

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Mindfulness in Action

Originally posted by Yoga Journal. Fire Monks: Zen Mind Meets WIldfire at the Gates of Tassajara, How do you put your spiritual practice to use in the face of danger? This is the fundamental question behind Fire Monks: Zen Mind Meets WIldfire at the Gates of Tassajara, written by former Yoga Journal senior editor Colleen Morton Bush. The book tells the tale of California wildfires that swept through California’s Ventana Wilderness surrounding Tassajara Zen Center. When the fires threatened to destroy the property, the center was quickly evacuated. Five monks, however, decided to risk their lives and stay. With meticulous detail and an open heart, Busch recounts the story of how these senior monks applied their Zen training, using mindfulness, presence, intuition, and faith to stay and guide the fire, in spite of grave danger. We talked to Busch, a longtime Zen and yoga practitioner, about what she learned in recreating this emotional story, a process that generated more than 100 hours of interviews. “Zen is more about unlearning than learning, getting back to our innate clarity, compassion, and wholeness,” she says. “In working on a project that involved so many people, what I practiced with the most was how our relationships with one another are just as essential, and every bit as dynamic, as our relationship with our own minds on the meditation...

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Engaged Buddhism at Upaya Zen Center This Summer

Please join us at Upaya Zen Center in beautiful Santa Fe, New Mexico, to study and practice with three of the leaders of socially engaged Buddhism in the United States: Roshi Bernie Glassman, Roshi Joan Halifax, and Acharya Fleet Maull. August 12 – 14, 2011 Charnel Ground Practice and the Five Buddha Families with Acharya Fleet Maull, M.A and Roshi Joan Halifax, PhD The essential nature of a bodhisattva or a Buddha is that he or she embraces the enlightened qualities of the five Buddha families, which pervade every living being without exception, including ourselves. These enlightened qualities include discriminating awareness wisdom, mirror-like wisdom, all encompassing space, wisdom of equanimity, and all accomplishing wisdom. To achieve the realization of these five Buddha families or the five dhyana buddhas, it is necessary to meet and transform the five distributing emotions of great attachment, anger or agression, ignorance or bewilderment, pride and envy. We will not only explore the practice of transforming these disturbing emotions on our own path, but also explore the five Buddha families as tools for social organizing principles for engaged work. CEUs for counselors, therapists and social workers are available for this program. For more info and to register: http://www.upaya.org/programs/event.php?id=639 ______________ August 19 – 21, 2011 Bearing Witness to the Oneness of Life with Roshi Bernie Glassman and Roshi Joan Halifax The founder of the Zen Peacemakers, Zen Master Bernie Glassman, evolved from a traditional Zen Buddhist monastery-model practice to become a leading proponent of social engagement as spiritual practice. He is internationally recognized as a pioneer of Buddhism in the West and as a founder of Socially Engaged Buddhism and spiritually based Social Enterprise. He has proven to be one of the most creative forces in Western Buddhism, creating new paths, practices, liturgy and organizations to serve the people who fall between the cracks of society. In this workshop Bernie will trace his evolution from the dharma hall to blighted urban streets. He will share the practices and principles he has developed to teach service as spiritual practice and to create sustainable, major service projects, such as the Greyston Foundation in Yonkers, NY. He will share the insights, revelations, personalities and personal experiences that have influenced his life and development. He...

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Bearing Witness in Rwanda April 2011 by Kamanzi

Call me Kamanzi.   On our final night in Rwanda before returning home, Issa Higiro gave Fleet Maull and I new Kinyarwanda names.  Fleet became Mugabo (Man) and I became Kamanzi, which can either mean hero or beautiful…….or … The land of the thousand hills welcomed us back in late March with flowering trees and smiling faces.  Many arriving in Rwanda for the first time expect to arrive in a desolate, grey and broken place devoid of joy and peace, still reeling from the Tutsi genocide of seventeen years ago.  Rwanda surprises us as one of the safest and most welcoming countries on the continent.  What a joy to be home again. We check into the EPR guesthouse, a lovely lodge that is part of a Presbyterian Church and ministry located on the same hill as the president’s residence and the Hotel Mille Coline (aka: Hotel Rwanda).  It is a great pleasure to greet again the beautiful staff and to meet the security guards, Alfonse and Jerome, who, in short order I will be embracing at each meeting.  By far this is the best kind of security.  I have often heard the phrase “beautiful people” used particularly towards indigenous populations of the world.  Having met Rwandans I begin to see that it means…beautiful inside, without artifice or substantial defense.  When invited, the joyful, loving essence of these people just bubbles up and touches our hearts palpably.  ET’s heart-light is simply real. Our first days are busy with meetings and preparation for training and the bearing witness retreat.  And the next days and the next.  Our schedule is so brimming that in the three weeks we are there we will be moving, meeting and constantly engaged.  Our meeting schedule was a retreat within a retreat.  Introducing ourselves and the three tenets of not knowing, bearing witness and loving action is a constant awareness that to be present is the only prescription for healthy relationship. At Urugo Rw’Amahoro (Friends Peace House) we meet dedicated people that originally served the orphans of the genocide after July 4, 1994, locating their House on the road to the garbage dump where children and adults would go to find means of survival.    At IBUKA (remember, the genocide survivors umbrella organization) we...

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Uncommon people doing uncommon work: Get introduced to The Mind Body Awareness Project

Originally posted by Shambhala SunSpace. Making Peace in America’s Cities. On our recent trip for the Wisdom 2.0 conference — detailed in our current issue — we had the good fortune to also spend an afternoon with the incredible folks at the Oakland-based Mind Body Awareness Project. By the time we’d gotten together that day, Barry Boyce’s May 2011 “Making Peace in America” feature, in which he’d written about the MBA, had already been written. Still, the MBA crew generously got in a circle with us and shared, one by one, some very personal reflections on their work with at-risk and incarcerated youths, helping them to find some peace despite their difficult circumstances and surroundings. These are uncommon people doing uncommon — and very necessary — work. Get introduced to them in this excerpt from “Making Peace in America’s Cities.” From “Making Peace in America’s Cities”: The Mind Body Awareness Project was started in 2000, principally by Noah Levine, author of Dharma Punx, a memoir which in part recounts Levine’s own transformation while in juvenile hall. In 2006, Vinny Ferraro (above), who also served time in juvie, took charge of training MBA’s teachers. Chris McKenna, a longtime mindfulness practitioner and trauma counsellor who became executive director in 2009, told me the program served 1,200 youths last year in three counties, and “we’re doing it with only twelve instructors, all of whom do this part time.” It takes a particular kind of person to have the credibility and dedication, McKenna said, to work with “traumatized, treatment-resistant populations, folks who aren’t going to sit still for your garden-variety meditation class.” In addition to recruitment and offering training to people like parole officers, so there is support within the justice system, a major goal for MBA is developing successful aftercare programs for kids when they return home. “In juvie, they’re in the middle of a break in the action, and we have a chance of reaching them, but we need to see them again after they’re out,” he said. “We’re doing that to a certain extent, but we need to do more. We need to get them to a retreat out in nature.” MBA has been able to start developing a model for doing longer residential retreats,...

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The Realm of Maria Nikolaeva

Originally posted by CNNiReport. Maria Nikolaeva [Atma Ananda – Shanti Nathini – Dolma Jangkhu] –   Author of 25 books on spirituality and practical guidance printed in Russia, USA, Europe and Asia. “We are made to persist. That’s how we find out who we are.”- Tobias Wolff: In Pharaoh’s Army: Memories of a Lost War That sums up Maria Nikolaeva, contemplator extraordinaire. To be able to bring to fruition what most can only grasp in vivid, yet forgotten dreamscapes makes her a remarkable woman. And don’t be fooled by the mischievous glint in her eyes. She is dead serious about her beliefs culled over years of searching, travelling and cultural immersion. We spoke at length covering as much as possible in such a brief and unexpected encounter. The Master of Philosophy and Personal Psychology; the fellow of The Association for Study of Esotericism and Mysticism; the author of 25 books on spirituality printed in Russia, USA, Europe and Asia (110 000 copies sold) and 85 articles; press correspondent for different magazines and translator of classic scriptures into Russian. After leaving her position as editor in Saint-Petersburg State University she spent 5 years in India living in ashrams and visiting holy places. She practiced with over 50 Indian and Western spiritual teachers, completed courses at many centers, and was certified as a Yoga-teacher. She got initiations in ancient Indian traditions Natha Sampradaya and Kriya Yoga; becamea Karma Sannyasini of the Vedanta Order(Bihar School of Yoga). She was also engaged in comparative research in other Eastern cultures, became a Reiki Master; published books on Taoism and Feng Shui; practicingTai Chi and traveling to China. Taking Buddhist refuge she practiced Karma-Kagyu in Nepal, learned Theravada meditation systems in India,Sri Lankaand Thailand, Mahayana Zen in Vietnam.Then she traveled 2 years through 10 countries in South-East Asia working with many spiritual masters. Reflections on Ethnicity, Family and the Beginnings. I was born in Saint-Petersburg home to the past 4 generations of my family. My family had a broad range of interests and some remarkable and eccentric personalities. Many of them experienced the Siege of Leningrad* during the 2nd World War. The Siege of Leningrad, also known as the Leningrad Blockade (Russian: блокада Ленинграда, transliteration: blokada Leningrada) was a prolonged...

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NEWS: Buddhist Nun Fundraising for Her Destroyed Temple is Arrested on Canal Street for “Acting as Unlicensed Vendor”

Originally posted by Danny Fisher. An upsetting development, via Yahoo news, CHINATOWN — A Buddhist nun giving out prayer beads on Canal Street to raise money to rebuild her burned down temple was arrested and detained her for several hours without an interpreter, she told DNAinfo. Police charged Baojing Li, 48, with acting as an unlicensed vendor, a misdemeanor. They claim she hawked costume jewelry at the corner of Canal and Mott Streets on June 2 without a license from the state Department of Consumer Affairs. But the religious woman, who wears a traditional Buddhist robe and has a shaven head, says she was not selling the 50-cent strands of prayer beads, but handing them out to generous people who dropped donations in her collection tin. Li said she had a sign placed next to her stool — written in red Chinese calligraphy — telling would-be donors that she needed help rebuilding her temple and home in Chamblee, in Georgia. The building burned down on March 26, according to the official fire incident report. The Chinese native, who came to the U.S. to do missionary work in 1996, wept as she said police approached her on the street, handcuffed her and took her to the Midtown South precinct where she said she was held for four hours without knowing what was happening. “I had no idea what [was] going on. I don’t know,” Li said in her lawyer’s office Monday, fighting back tears while telling the story through a translator. “Nobody explained whatsoever,” she added. Li was issued a desk appearance ticket and ordered to appear in Midtown Community Court on July 7. If convicted, she could face up to three months in jail and a $3,000 fine. Her attorney, Robert Brown, said he agreed to take Li’s case pro bono after hearing her story. Li came to New York in April in hopes of getting help from Manhattan’s large Chinese population, she said. She has been living at an East Broadway Buddhist temple, and has already raised $10,000 of the $30,000 she needs thanks to donations from New Yorkers and coverage in the Chinese-language press, she said. Brown added that a passerby tried to intervene during the arrest, telling police that she was...

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“Most Attendees were White, Many were Men, and the Average Age Skewed Toward the 50s”

Originally posted by Danny Fisher. Tags: 2011 Buddhist Teachers Council, Garrison Institute, Jaweed Kaleem, The Huffington Post trackback That’s part of Huffington Post writer Jaweed Kaleem’s assessment of the recent, closed-to-the-public, by-invitation-only gathering of Buddhist teachers in the West. Read the rest...

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Working with Todays Children

Originally posted by Wisdom 2.0 Conference. Wisdom 2.0 Youth Sowing the Seeds. First Annual Wisdom 2.0 Youth Conference. For Parents, Educators, Teachers, and Concerned Citizens. September 17th, 2011 Silicon Valley Speakers Upcoming 2011 presenters click Here to view all speakers Rasing or working with children today is no easy task. Technology pervades our (and their) lives. We struggle to find our own balance, and at the same time navigate their use of cellphones, social networks, and computer games. Our challenge is to harness the power of technology as parents and educators, while supporting wellness and balance that are essential for a healthy child and a sane society. Join us September 17th in Silicon Valley for the first ever Wisdom 2.0 Youth Conference. Together we will explore living consciously and supporting wellness, wisdom, and mindfulness in young people today. Read More >>> or Register >>> The Details When: Saturday, September 17th, 2011 from 9:00am – 5:30pm. Where: Computer History Museum, 1401 North Shoreline Boulevard, Mountain View, CA. See Map. Who: Educators, Parents, Teachers, and Concerned Citizens What: To explore supporting mindfulness, wellness, and wisdom in young people today. Read full description. Why: To learn practices and tools for deepening mindfulness in oneself; discover ways to better support the young people in one’s life; meet others who share this interest; and engage with people from various communities, including technology, education, and wisdom traditions, on this topic. How to Register: Click here to register early for discounted price. For information on our Annual Wisdom 2.0 Conference, click...

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Street Retreat Reflections ~ Heinz-Jürgen Metzger

This article is part of a series of articles written about a Holy Week 2011 Street Retreat, which took place in New York City. This retreat commemorated the 20th Anniversary of the first Zen Peacemakers street retreat, also in New York.  Zen Master Bernie Glassman invited several longtime students and companions to the retreat to become recognized as Senseis and Dharma Holders. Read bios and reflections of retreat participants. Read explanation of ceremony by Bernie Glassman. See more retreat pictures by Peter Cunningham. Fourteen years ago, in 1997, Bernie invited me to a street-retreat in New York City. After having been together with him in the retreat at Auschwitz, this street-retreat was my second experience of practice outside a traditional zendo. Both retreats helped me to see my true zendo, my true place of practice: our green planet. Fourteen years later, on Easter Holy Weekend, we met again at Tompkins Square Park in the Lower East Side of New York City.  This time, it was a family gathering:  some of us had already been previously together at the 1997 Street Retreat; and the remaining I have been working with in the context of the Peacemakers for the past fourteen years. All of us participated in a ceremony of recognition with Bernie. For me, this recognition has two aspects: Of course, Bernie recognized the work of each of us, but he also recognized the work of us as a group, as a mandala of Peacemakers.  How will this mandala actualize itself in the future? How will we keep alive and continue to develop the vision, Bernie shared with us? It’s not easy to be a visionary, it’s even harder to stay a visionary: There’s the gap between vision and reality, year after year, year after year. – Thank you, Bernie, for keeping your vision alive all the...

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Street Retreat Reflections ~ Sally Kealy

This article is part of a series of articles written about a Holy Week 2011 Street Retreat, which took place in New York City. This retreat commemorated the 20th Anniversary of the first Zen Peacemakers street retreat, also in New York.  Zen Master Bernie Glassman invited several longtime students and companions to the retreat to become recognized as Senseis and Dharma Holders. Read bios and reflections of retreat participants. Read explanation of ceremony by Bernie Glassman. See more retreat pictures by Peter Cunningham. Appreciatory Verse to Bernie: Your vow has been to feed all the hungry spirits throughout all space and time. Under that red beret, You call a new game into play. So many slices in this pizza- Delicious!!!! Yes, so many slices and flavors became apparent at our Holy Week New York City Street Retreat which also commemorated the twentieth anniversary of the first ever street retreat located also in the Big Apple.  This retreat was a little different. Bernie invited ten of his long standing students and activists to participate in this event.   There was also a wonderful Theravaden nun, Pannavati, and our long time street guide, Larry Batman Chamberlain, and Bernie’s assistant, Ari Pliskin, with  Sensei Paco Lugovina and our street retreat leader, Roshi Genro Gauntt.  As we walked the streets in the wind and rain I looked at the flavors of this pizza:  Belgian, French, Swiss, Polish, American, Israeli, Puerto Rican,Afro-American, and they all karmically gathered around a divine madman from Brooklyn named Bernie Glassman, “Bernie”. At the end of the retreat on Easter Sunday the ten invited plus Pannavati and Batman participated in a ceremony of Dharma Recognition in the Five Buddha Familuies—ironically nothing is given in this ceremony between teacher and student for it is already there.  It impressed me deeply how this ceremony strips everything away to “just this”===moment by moment.  How could there be something added?.  And yet, I always felt that when we chanted the women’s lineage and said, “And to all those who have been forgotten or left unsaid”, that I stood for all of them.  And now the title, Sensei, has been given to me, and I feel rather odd, and yet, encouraged. The street retreat prepared me for what happened a few days...

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Street Retreat Reflections ~ Andrzej Krajewski

This article is part of a series of articles written about a Holy Week 2011 Street Retreat, which took place in New York City. This retreat commemorated the 20th Anniversary of the first Zen Peacemakers street retreat, also in New York.  Zen Master Bernie Glassman invited several longtime students and companions to the retreat to become recognized as Senseis and Dharma Holders. Read bios and reflections of retreat participants. Read explanation of ceremony by Bernie Glassman. See more retreat pictures by Peter Cunningham. I wouldn’t miss one single moment of the New York City  Street Retreat with old and new friends.  Each moment was a peak experience filled with intensity and complete vigilance even while asleep! The infinite Circle embraces all.  Seeing the integrity of all energies and spheres, their interlocking working, no need to put one in front of other, they are a mandala, Indra¹s net – one in all and all in one. Appreciatory Verse to Bernie: I met a guy walking the same way, but he was so much more advanced than me.  While we walked sometimes together, I appreciated more and more the crystal brisk air and distant goal as well as Bernie’s clear and simple language, practical tools and steps.  Such simple joy, and an astonishing way to let go and move on ­and off the side walk when necessary.  Thank you, Roshi Bernie. Sensei...

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Street Retreat Reflection ~ Roland Wegmüller

This article is part of a series of articles written about a Holy Week 2011 Street Retreat, which took place in New York City. This retreat commemorated the 20th Anniversary of the first Zen Peacemakers street retreat, also in New York.  Zen Master Bernie Glassman invited several longtime students and companions to the retreat to become recognized as Senseis and Dharma Holders. Read bios and reflections of retreat participants. Read explanation of ceremony by Bernie Glassman. See more retreat pictures by Peter Cunningham. Roshi Bernie Tetsugen Glassman invited me as a Sufi student to join the Zen Peacemaker circle in Paris.  I began to attend the circle more and more frequently.   He appeared to prefer to be a peer to all of us in the Paris Peacemaker Circle.  The teacher student relationship grew over time.  Zen Peacemakers practice with ever new upayas (skillful means) enriched my life. Every plunge into Not-Knowing opened my heart and encouraged me to act and to learn. The invitation for the Street Retreat in New York with long time friends was an honor and a highlight of my life.  I feel the bliss of love, and warmed by the intimate sense of an every growing and opening family that is all-inclusive. Appreciatory Haiku To Roshi Bernie following the twentieth anniversary of the first New York City Street Retreat: Twelve juniors, one elder in the circle; warmth and love – recognition Old master, subtle wisdom; opening doors; our true Selves unfolding – Easter-...

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Street Retreat Reflection ~ Barbara Wegmüller

This article is part of a series of articles written about a Holy Week 2011 Street Retreat, which took place in New York City. This retreat commemorated the 20th Anniversary of the first Zen Peacemakers street retreat, also in New York.  Zen Master Bernie Glassman invited several longtime students and companions to the retreat to become recognized as Senseis and Dharma Holders. For more details, click here. It had already gotten chilly when we met at Tompkins Square Park at seven in the evening to begin our New York City Street Retreat. Our teacher, Roshi Bernie Glassman, invited ten people to participate in this event.  These ten people have been with Bernie’s work for a long time in a variety of ways.  I had looked forward to being together with this group for quite some time. These ten were all precious friends with whom I had studied together in groups and retreats with our teacher Roshi Bernie.  Often our meetings had taken place in Europe. Now we were meeting here on New York City streets!  It felt like a big family party to me. To my great joy a few more people were with us who had been invited by Bernie. I had the opportunity to also get acquainted with them during these days in the streets of New York, and always appreciative that a group is never a fixed, closed entity. Bernie was wearing his old black coat he had been wearing for years during the Auschwitz Retreat. I could see his red beret from far away which gave me a reassuring feeling not to get lost when we were moving through the busy streets in order to meet up again at Ground Zero. We had already lost Michel Dubois from Paris in these first hours whom we a little later met again in the waiting room of the Staten Island Ferry. He had been waiting there for us completely relaxed.  Half of our group decided to stay overnight outside in the streets, and the other half decided in favor of riding the Staten Island Ferry back and forth in twenty minute intervals all night.  It was warm and there was shelter from the wind and rain.  Also, the ride was free, and the...

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Joan Halifax Roshi: Peace and Engaged Buddhism

Originally posted beliefnet,”Facets of Religion.’ Beliefnet interviews the Zen priest on how the principles of Buddhism can benefit the world’s pursuit of peace. BY: Interview by Jennifer E. Jones. Email Share Comments (1) Joan Halifax Roshi has dedicated her life to peace, compassion and engaged Buddhism. The Zen priest and author has studied all around the world and is sharing her insight and wisdom at The Newark Peace Education Summit conference in Newark, New Jersey, May 13th through 15th. Beliefnet caught up with the Buddhist teacher to discuss the Summit and its significance to actualizing peace. Q. What are your thoughts about participating in the Newark Peace Education Summit? A. I feel very joyful, honored and I also feel grateful to have the opportunity to interact with His Holiness in the context of peace and with two such extraordinary women as [Shirin] Ebadi and [Jody] Williams. It affords the world a great opportunity to look at issues in relation to human rights and world peace. So, I’m very excited about this conference. It happening in Newark is important, because Newark is a place that has been very socially vulnerable in the past, and to bring this kind of energy into Newark is a visionary idea. Q. How will you be bring your years of study to the Summit? A. My work has been in the field of engaged Buddhism. That is my own practice, which began in 1965 that formed the base for the work I was doing in the civil rights and anti-war movement. I feel that my perspective is about bringing a Buddhism that is applied into the world in terms of not only personal transformation, but also social transformation and in an endeavor to really address issues related to structural violence. Q. You’ve gone through times of personal struggle. How did Buddhism help restore you? A. For me, Buddhism is a psychology and a philosophy that provides a means, upayas,  for working with the mind. Through my own developmental struggles — which seem from one point of view unending, but certainly were more critical in my 30s than they are now —  Buddhism was a raft that brought me to the shore of sanity and stability. It’s also provided a means for me to intentionally cultivate...

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Buddhist organization pushes for more Asian American organ donors

Originally posted by the  Buddhist Channel. The changed man! Whittier, CA (USA) — Robert Chen is a changed man. In his younger days, when he ran a nightclub, he said he drank heavily, went to lots of parties, and, as a self-described “Mr. Cheeseburger,” his diet was far from healthy. Then came high blood pressure, kidney disease and eventually four years of dialysis treatments. In 1998, Chen was approved for a kidney transplant and everything began to change for him. He left the nightclub business and works as an insurance agent in Walnut. He said he now prefers vegetables over greasier fare and has dropped 20 pounds from his frame. “It’s like I’m born again,” he said. “The kidney made me a new man.” But it’s not just the new kidney that’s made a difference in his life, Chen said. His personal reformation has been inspired by the tenets of Tzu Chi, an international Buddhist humanitarian aid organization. “The teaching of the foundation has been keeping me to live a healthier life,” he said. He also now volunteers his time as an ambassador for OneLegacy, an organ transplant network serving Southern California that works with Tzu Chi. And he’s just the kind of person they’ve been looking for. That’s because while Asian Americans make up about 17 percent of those on organ transplant waiting lists in California, only about 8 percent of organs donated in 2010 came from Asian Americans, according to data from the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network. And since it’s more difficult to find donor-recipient matches between people of dissimilar races, the wait time to receive an organ can be especially long for Asian Americans. Facing those odds, many immigrants from Asian countries have opted to return home for transplant surgeries, said Debra Boudreaux, CEO of the Tzu Chi Medical Foundation. So last month Tzu Chi and the Association of Organ Procurement Organizations, an umbrella group for networks such as OneLegacy, announced that they were joining forces to provide educational outreach services to Asian-American communities. Tzu Chi has been working with OneLegacy for about a decade. This agreement will allow it to establish similar relationships with organ donation networks across the country. “We just saw it as a chance to extend...

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Buddhist Global Relief is Celebrating Buddha’s Birthday and Mother’s Day

Originally posted by Danny Fisher. Bathing The Buddha, ‘it is simple to wash away physical dirt but it is much more difficult to cleanse one’s inner dirt of greed, anger and ignorance.’ The custom of bathing the Buddha in China dates back as far as the Three Kingdoms Period (220-280AD). As one of the most significant dates in the Buddhist religion, Buddhists all over the world continue to celebrate the Buddha’s birthday by the tradition of bathing the little Buddha with fragrant water.A symbol of inner purification, the tradition is said to assist with the purgation of sins. Find out more...

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The Stories We Tell Ourselves

Listen to Danny Fishers live interview on Pod Cast mp3. Buddhist scholar and Chaplain Danny Fisher, joins us to explore various stories, or narratives, that run through the Buddhist world. There are a variety of different kind of stories in the Buddhist tradition, including those that are more traditional and those which are more modern. Included in those narratives are Buddhist hagiographies (traditional teaching stories about important figures), historical narratives, and more modern narratives. Listen in as we try and piece apart what some of these stories are, and find out how the stories that we believe in affect us as individuals and communities. Danny Fishers live interview at the original link Buddhist Geeks. Episode Links: DannyFisher.com University of the West A People’s History of the United States How the Swans Came to the Lake Buddhism in America Luminous Passage After the Ecstasy, the Laundry Transcript: Vincent: Hello, Buddhist geeks this is Vincent Horn and I’m joined today by a special guest. We had them on the show before Reverend Danny Fisher. Hey, Danny, how it’s going buddy? Danny: How are you Vince? Vincent: I’m doing well. Getting ready to move to LA where you’re located actually. We’re going to be a little bit toward the beach but I understand we’re going to get to hang out some more. So I’m excited about that. Danny: I’m thrilled out. It’s always a pleasure to see you and Emily. Vincent: Yeah. Absolutely and you live in Los Angeles. You started working there a few years ago at the University of the West and you helped start and are now the main professor at the Buddhist chaplaincy program. The other thing I wanted to mention is that you’re pretty much a Buddhist boss besides that. You’ve blogged for Shambhala Sun, for Elephant Journey. You’ve contributed to a lot of really prestigious magazines and also academic journals. I see on your bio that you’ve contributed to Religion News Service, the New York Times, for the BBC and also my favorite is E! Entertainment Television. Tell me how did a Buddhist academic practitioner get invited on to E! Entertainment Television. Danny: I tell you when I majored in Buddhist study as an undergrad, went on to get my master...

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Are you “Being the Change”?

Originally posted by Shambhala Sun. Liam Phillips Lindsay, ask the question, “What am I doing to make the world a better place?” In the preparation of this issue of the Shambhala Sun, says Deputy Editor Liam Phillips Lindsay, a question began inching into the forefront of his thoughts: “What am I doing to make the world a better place?” Here, in his May 2011 editorial, Liam tries to answer that question and hopes you’ll share your answer too. “What am I doing to make the world a better place?” It would be gratifying to be able to say I have a good answer that question, but I don’t — not yet anyway. What I do have, gleaned from the wise ways of the Dalai Lama and the words and deeds of the other inspiring people presented in this issue, is a growing collection of signposts that point the way to creating a more compassionate society, one that offers a balm to suffering and engenders hope. The troubled New Jersey city of Newark is not the first place I would think of as a source of motivation. Neither is Oakland, the gritty city across the bay from San Francisco. But that was before senior writer Barry Boyce informed me in our feature “Making Peace in America’s Cities” that people in those towns are ignoring seemingly impossible odds to tackle problems head-on—courageously, selflessly, and, perhaps most important, mindfully. I learned a new phrase from Cory Booker, the 41-year-old mayor of Newark who is working tirelessly to take back the city from drugs and gangs, and it lit me up like the unexpected flash of a strobe in a shaving mirror: “sedentary agitation.” Maybe you’ve heard it before, but I hadn’t. It means, Booker says, “being regularly upset by all that you see but not getting up and doing anything about it.” Suddenly, I saw myself and every aspect of my life differently. I didn’t like what I saw—thirty-five years in the hard news business had left me, sadly, hardened and sitting on my hands within a shell of studied indifference. That realization broke open my heart in a way that nothing had before. What am I doing to make the world a better place? This kind...

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Encourage Sharing, Support Compassion

Originally posted by: In this article, Ajahn Sucitto talks about understanding the values of sharing, limitations, and the use of compassion to acknowledge life efforts.  How to take responsibility after seeing dukkha [suffering], and not pointing blame unto others as a cop-out that just waters the very seed of the world’s suffering. He talks about how through our practice of mediation we strengthen are mindfulness. In this way we awaken and become aware to the true practice of Nibbana. Original post can be found at -Ajahn Sucitto, “From Turning the Wheel of Truth: Commentary on the Buddha’s First Teaching” When there is understanding and a set of values that encourage sharing, then the limitations, the needs, and the lacks of any given life can be acknowledged and effort can be put into using material supports with compassion.  This is also true in cases of deprivation; surely a major contributor to this is the greed and exploitation of others, which has its source in identification with material prosperity. If we could all accept the experience of limitation on our resources and comforts, if affluent people’s standard of living were not so high, there would be fewer people who felt, and actually were, “poor.” Maybe with more sharing, there would be less severe physical deprivation. Instead of creating golf courses in the desert, or seeing air-conditioning, two cars, and countless television channels as necessities of life, we could try to accept limitations to our material circumstances and acknowledge the there is suffering. This acknowledgment doesn’t require that everyone should feel wretched; rather, it’s a matter of learning to know and accept that this earthly realm is one of limitation. When we wake up to how human life on this planet actually is, and stop running away or building walls in our heart, then we develop a wiser motivation for our life. And we keep waking up as the natural dukkha [suffering] touches us. This means that we sharpen our attention to catch our instinctive reactions of blaming ourselves, blaming our parents, or blaming society; we meditate and access our suffering at its root; and consequently we learn to open and be still in our heart. And even on a small scale in daily life situations, such...

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Buddhism in UK prisons

Originally posted by Buddhist Channel. British monk takes Buddha’s message of compassion to prison inmates ‘gone astray’ Bangkok, Thailand — It is one singular word of his master that he has been following for over three decades. In 1977 Khemadhammo, a Briton already ordained as a monk, followed Ajahn Chah on what he initially thought would be a two-month trip to revisit his homeland, Britain. One day sitting on a train, the disciple consulted his mentor about how to respond to a request inviting him to serve as a visiting Buddhist minister at three prisons there. “Pai”, or “go”, was what the late Ajahn Chah uttered. “That was it. And I have been going to prisons ever since,” said Khemadhammo, founder and spiritual director of Angulimala, a chaplaincy organisation that has introduced Buddhism to over a hundred prisons throughout the UK. For his dedicated service to prison inmates, in 2003 Queen Elizabeth II bestowed him with an OBE (Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire), and the following year His Majesty the King of Thailand granted him the ecclesiastical title of Chao Khun Bhavanaviteht, the second foreign-born monk to receive such an honour. On his recent visit to Thailand the monk, now 66, was invited to be a keynote speaker at an annual talk organised by SEM (Spirit in Education Movement). It was part of the Thai NGO’s month-long programme to improve public understanding of people who have supposedly “gone astray”, during which the venerable monk got the opportunity to meet and share his experiences, in a closed-door meeting, with Thai people who work with prison inmates and juvenile delinquents. Luang Por Khemadhammo began his talk with a brief summary of his background. Born into a middle-class Christian family, at 17 he took up professional acting and later became interested in Buddhism. At 27, he decided to travel to Asia, and ended up in Bangkok where he was ordained as a novice. One day, he chanced upon an old friend from London, who said to him: “If you want to be a real monk, there’s only one place: Wat Nong Pah Pong”. And off he went to Ubon Ratchathani province where he spent the next five and a half years under...

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Zen and Zohar On Repairing the World

Originally posted by Isabella Freedman. The Wisdom of Kabbalah. Zen and Zohar On Repairing the World July 5 – 10, 2011 Zohar: The Wisdom of Kabbalah with Daniel and Hana Matt Zen: Social Engagement as Spiritual Practice with Zen Master Bernie Glassman and Roshi Eve Myonen Marko These two retreats are being held during the same week to give you the opportunity to look at repairing the world through the lenses of zen, zohar or both. Separate program fees apply to each class. See Registration Information below for more information. The Wisdom of Kabbalah Morning classes with Daniel and Hana Matt Explore the Kabbalah to discover how it reimagines God and how it inspires us to mend the world. Themes include Ein Sof (God as Infinity), Shekhinah (the feminine half of God), God’s need for the human being and for virtuous action, discovering divine sparks in the material world, the mystical dimension of Torah, and meditation. Study and discuss original texts of Kabbalah translated by Daniel Matt, including selections from the Zohar—the masterpiece of Kabbalah. Participants are asked to bring a copy of The Essential Kabbalah (available for order online at IF bookstore), or to pay a small materials fee and receive a copy of the book upon arrival at Isabella Freedman. Participate in Social Engagement as Spiritual Practice in the afternoon and save $100 on program fees. Daniel Matt is one of the world’s leading scholars of Kabbalah and the Zohar. He has published numerous books, including The Essential Kabbalah and God and the Big Bang: Discovering Harmony between Science and Spirituality. His multi-volume translation of the Zohar (The Zohar: Pritzker Edition) has been called “a monumental contribution to the history of Jewish thought.” Hana Matt is a teacher of Jewish Spirituality and a Spiritual Director. She is completing her book Jewish Spiritual Practices and Spiritual Direction, which includes teachings on transforming depression, anxiety, addictive patterns and relationship problems. She teaches classes in Jewish Mysticism, Jewish Meditation and World Religions at schools throughout the country. Social Engagement as Spiritual Practice Afternoon classes with Zen Master Bernie Glassman and Roshi Eve Myonen Marko Join us for meditation, council, dharma-talks, group discussions, solitary walks, individual reflection, and sitting and walking practices. Meditation and council will...

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Rwanda Bearing Witness Retreat: Day Five

Originally posted  by  Peacemaker Institute. Retreat Day Five. Today was quite different than the preceding three days of visiting genocide memorial sites.  This morning we visited a TIG prison farm and camp in the Bugesera district about an hour outside of Kigali.   Faced with prosecuting and imprisoning hundreds of thousands of accused genocide perpetrators, the Rwandan government decided to implement a traditional community justice process called Gaccaca, updated with some elements of modern jurisprudence.  The government’s main focus has been unity and reconciliation rather than punishment.  Faced with rebuilding a country from the ashes of genocide and civil war, they simply could not afford to imprison hundreds of thousands of able body workers.  They also wanted people to somehow find a way to make peace and move forward as a country.  Prisoners who are willing to admit their crimes and give information about where victims are buried, what properties have been destroyed or stolen, etc. have been processed through the Gaccaca courts.  They are then sentenced to the TIG community service prisons, where they work farms, build houses for the poor and refugees, build roads and schools, etc.  They can spend up to 3 days a week at home with their families and working to support their families, but most elect to spend more days in the work camps, because the days at home don’t count for their sentence.  While in the work camps they received education aimed at helping them reintegrate into the community, where they will be neighbors again with the families of those they have killed.   Once they have finished their sentence, they are released to the community with no conditions.  When the Gaccaca court process is finished (it’s nearing completion now), Rwanda will have brought vastly more genocide perpetrators to justice than in any other genocide. TIG prisoners in dialog with retreat participants (above). The survivors have mixed feelings about Gaccaca and the TIG camps.  Many recognize that it was necessary for the country, but consider it a necessary evil.  They appreciate that the process has helped them locate the remains of the loved ones in order to give them proper burials and services, but many also feel that the process lets the killers off too easy or that many...

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Rwanda Bearing Witness Retreat: Day Four

Originally posted by Peacemakers Institute. Retreat Day Four. Dignitaries and victims families laying wreaths at the graves of fallen political leaders at Rebero (above). Inspiring morning at the Closing Ceremonies of the National Week of Mourning at the Rebero Genocide Memorial, just outside of Kigali. In the early hours of the genocide on April 7, 1994, the Hutu extremists then in control of the Rwandan government murdered a number of moderate Hutu politicians on a hit list who refused to support or openly opposed the genocidal ideology and plans of the extremist. These politicians are buried at Rebero along with about 18,000 Tutsis, murdered in the surrounding areas. The theme of the closing ceremonies was good governance. The speakers, poets and singers honored the fallen political leaders for their courageous stand and exhorted current leaders to put their country and the needs of the people ahead of personal interests. Just like the other two major national events we have attended, the Opening Ceremonies at Amarhoro Stadium with President Paul Kagame on the 7th and the Nyanza ceremonies on April 11th, many of the speakers referenced the need to continue to challenge and fight against those who seek to deny the genocide or rewrite history to undermine Rwanda’s progress. The theme of this year’s commemoration is: Uphold the Truth and Preserve Our Dignity. The greater part of the speeches touched on themes of unity and reconciliation, good governance, hope and the importance of the youth of Rwanda in creating a new and brighter future. We sat just behind the government leaders, diplomatic corps, other dignitaries and families members of the fallen political leaders. For me it was like watching a people uplift themselves and rebuild their country right before our eyes, refusing to give in to fear and hatred or to remain beaten down by the darkness of the genocide … the power of basic goodness in action. Graves of the fallen political leaders at Rebero. Skulls of victims on display at the Ntarama Church Genocide Memorial site (above). Coffins and clothing of the victim inside Ntarama church (above). In the afternoon we visited to churches, major massacre sites during the 1994 genocide, descending again into the darkness and horror. 5000 Tutsis were brutally slaughtered...

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Prayers For Those Who have Died In Japan

On April 24th, 2011 (Japanese local time), in various places, in various methods, let us pray for the repose of the souls of those who have died. Also, I would like us all to offer our prayers at exactly 12 noon. Let Us All Pray for Those Who Died in the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake.“I Call Upon Us All to Create a Day to Pray for the Repose of Those Who Died” ―Takashi Uchiyama, The First to Call Method: Those of you who belong to a religion can pray in your normal way; those who do not can use any method you feel appropriate. You can face the direction of the disaster area and pray with your hands together; those with a Buddhist altar can offer up some incense; others can get together at nearby temples, shrines, churches, and mosques to offer prayer; at your homes you can fly flags of your own design at half-mast; you can gather in memorial meetings or even concerts—there are several ways in which we can offer our prayers. . . . You can pray in any way you feel is good for you, in any way that you can. I do not want this to be a kind of national funeral service; rather, I hope that it can be a day on which we can offer prayer throughout the land. In addition to shock, fear, and sorrow, the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake gave birth to strong intentions within us that we ourselves “want to be individuals of a society in which we all help one another.” I believe that we are all in various areas and various ways, both directly and indirectly, participating in efforts to extend aid to the victims. It is my firm belief that our role is now to make sure that such aid continues, that we cooperate in the recovery and reconstruction of the damaged areas, at the same time both directly and indirectly considering what our society is and what it should be, considering what would be good ways to change our styles of living and working, and thereby bring about a revitalization of Japanese society. In order to express this intent and to move forward toward the future, I am calling...

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Rwanda Bearing Witness Retreat: Day Three

Originally posted by Peacemaker Institute. Retreat: Day Three. Genocide victims remains on display at Murambi. There are no words for Murambi.  Our group of 40 Rwandans and internationals spent the day at Murambi today.  It was a rough day for all of us, especially for the genocide survivors in our group.   Neither my heart or mind knows what to do with this.  I’m angry, heartbroken, and vacillating between deep emotions and numbness.  How is it possible that we do such things?  How is it possible that we allow such things to be done.   As hard as this is, we cannot keep looking away.  If we are not willing to own this it will surely happen again. Roshi Genro Guantt and Acharya Fleet Maull after laying a wreath on one of the mass graves at Murambi, where 18,000 victims are buried.  About 50,000 Tutsis were murdered at...

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Rwanda Bearing Witness Retreat Day Two

Originally posted by Peacemaker Institute Retreat Day Two. Rwanda Bearing Witness Retreat: Day Two Retreat opening orientation session (above) This will be short posting.  It’s already 12:20 am and we have an early departure in the morning. We spend the morning at the Kigali Genocide Memorial Center, the principal genocide museum in Rwanda, which is also the site of mass graves where the remains of over 280,000 genocide victims are interred.  The museum is a deep plunge.  The museum was funded and designed by the Aegis Trust and a British designer that also designed one of the major holocaust museums.  So the exhibits are very well done and extremely powerful.   I felt crushed there, even though this was my fourth time going through the museum.  I walked out just overwhelmed and brokenhearted.  In the afternoon we listened to the testimony of an amazing man who lost his wife, children and 75 family members in the genocide.  He escaped into Burundi and joined the military hoping to one day bring vengeance on his family’s killers.  Some how he went through a major healing and found a way to forgive the killers.  He now works together with the actual men who killed his wife and other family members in an association he started for survivors and convicted perpetrators working together for unity and reconciliation in Rwanda. Peacemaker Institute group laying wreath at Kigali Genocide Memorial Center mass graves (above) This evening we were at Nyanza, the location of the IBUKA ofices, where we did the 3-day trauma counselor training last week.  They had erected about six huge white circus tents forming a vast U shape around a large field and bonfire.  There were probably six or seven thousand people there.  We listened to a lot of speeches in kinyarwanda without translation.  So that was kind of challenging for our international participants, although our Rwandan friends did a little whispered translation for the people sitting next to them.  There was beautiful music too, and it was just very special sharing this event and time with the Rwanda people.   At the beginning, we were asked to stand as honored guests.  Several speakers also thanks us for our support for the commemoration and the peace process in Rwanda. ...

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Second Report from Rwanda: Peacemaker Bearing Witness Retreat begins tomorow.

Originally posted by Peacemaker Institute Rwanda Bearing Witness: Second Report Our Peacemaker Institute staff attended the opening ceremonies of the National Week of Commemoration and Mourning, honoring the victims and survivors of the 1994 Rwandan genocide against the Tutsis.   The four of us were seated in the VIP section just five rows behind the President of Rwanda, at Amahoro (Peace) Stadium, the national stadium, which was packed, standing room only, with about 50,000 people.  We were sitting among high government officials, diplomats and visiting dignitaries.   As volunteers with a small peacemaking NGO, we felt a bit out of place, but there we were.  I sat next to the Deputy General of the National Bank of Rwanda.  We had a great conversation about how to leverage our peace building efforts in Rwanda for the greatest positive impact. The ceremonies were very powerful and moving.  There were songs and theatrical presentations by leading Rwandan artists and stirring speeches, including a very powerful speech by President Paul Kagame. President Kagame’s speech: http://allafrica.com/stories/20110408012… Throughout the ceremonies and the president’s speech, we could here the crying and wailing of traumatized survivors, many breaking down during the ceremonies in this, April 7th, the day the 100 days of genocidal horror began in 1994, 17 years ago. Toward the end of his speech, the president encouraged everyone to take care of and support the many traumatized survivors who have a particular difficult time during the mourning period and anniversary of the genocide where so many witnessed and experience unspeakable horrors and often the brutal slaughter of their own family members. Our 2nd Rwanda Bearing Witness Retreat begins tomorrow afternoon with 18 international participants and 35 Rwandan participants, leaders and senior staff from more than twenty Rwanda NGO’s and government agencies involved in genocide prevention and unity and reconciliation work here, who have joined the bearing witness and peace building coalition organized by the Peacemaker Institute and our principal Rwandan partner, Memos: Learning from History. We held a press conference this afternoon for the Rwandan print, radio and television media.  The press conference was the lead story on the evening news of the national Rwandan television channel.  So at this point, the whole country knows we are here. I’m looking forward to...

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Week One: Peacemaker Team in Rwanda

Originally posted by Peacemaker Institute Week One: Peacemakers in Rwanda. As one would imagine, our second visit to Rwanda has been a deep plunge into not knowing and bearing witness. As I write this report, I’m acutely aware that 17 years ago the 1994 Rwandan genocide was just about to unleash 100 days of the darkest horrors imaginable on the people of Rwanda, by its end leaving the country in ruins and the people profoundly traumatized. We are getting up at 5 am tomorrow, April 7th, in order to reach the national stadium by 6 am when people begin filing in for the opening event of the national genocide commemoration and mourning week. We arrived here a week ago, the airport and drive into Kigali, the capital, now familiar from our visit to Rwanda last year for the first Rwanda Bearing Witness retreat. We’ve had a packed week, numerous meetings with our growing peace building coalition partners, the key government agencies and NGO’s involved in healing, reconciliation and genocide prevention work here. Most of the leaders we met with are genocide survivors themselves, courageously dedicated to rebuilding their country and creating a future for their children and future generations. We led a three-day trauma counselor training April 3 – 5, introducing 65 genocide survivors working through Rwanda as trauma counselors to mindfulness and presence practices, deep listening reflective listening and our peace circle practice, also known as council, listening circles, and talking stick circles. Our goals was to train and empower them to take the peace circle practice back to their towns and villages as a tool for healing trauma, for unity and reconciliation work, conflict resolution and community building. The group appeared very inspired to take these practices back to their communities, and we are now trying to envision how to follow up with them and support the growth of a peacemaker circle movement in Rwanda. The clear highlight of the trauma counselor training for us (the training team) was the traditional Rwandan singing and dancing that became our way of generating energy at the beginning of the morning and afternoon sessions each day. Today we travel 2.5 hours to Butare to meet with the director of the National Museum of Rwanda. We...

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United Nations: ANNUAL COMMEMORATION OF THE RWANDA GENOCIDE (7 April 2011)

Originally posted by Peacemaker Institute ANNUAL COMMEMORATION OF THE RWANDA GENOCIDE This year’s commemoration of the Rwanda genocide will be observed with a series of events organized during the week of 4 April 2011 at United Nations Headquarters and at UN Information Centres around the world, under the theme: “Rebuilding Rwanda: Reconciliation and Education”. The activities organized in New York by the UN Outreach Programme on the Rwanda genocide in cooperation with the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Rwanda to the UN will include a Memorial Ceremony and a Student...

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Day 2: Auschwitz-Birkenau Bearing Witness Retreat

Originally posted by Peacemakers Institute The road to Birkenau. We began our morning as usual with the small council circles, where the listening and sharing goes very deep. After breakfast we walked or road the bus to Birkenau, about 25 minutes on foot. I went ahead with the truck carrying our sitting cushions and benches for our sitting circle at the “selection site” between the tracks at Birkenau. Sitting Circle at Selection Site (2008) As we rounded the bend and Birkenau came into view, my whole body shuddered with fear and dread. Birkenau seems to always do me in the first day, and today was no different that the other nine times I’ve been here on retreat. It always takes me a while to find my seat at Birkenau … to really be present and work with the intense energies of this killing ground, where human beings were systematically murdered/exterminted on perhaps a larger scale and with greater, cold efficiency than at any other place in the world or any other time in history. At the participants arrive, we handed out meditation cushions, chairs and benches in silence. Some ninety strong, including our youth component, we gathered in our circle at the selection site for silent sitting followed by the chanting of names of those who perished here. Later we walked in silence to the “Sauna,” the complex where those chosen for the slave labor camp were stripped of all their belongings, brutally shaved, disinfected and tattooed with their camp number before being sent to a quick or slow death from overwork, starvation, the elements, and brutality in the work camps. We returned to the main gates of Birkenau and had our traditional lunch of soup and bread outside the gates of Birkeanau. Some gathered in clumps engaging in quite conversations while eating their soup. Others sat alone deep in reflection. After lunch we returned to the selection site for more sitting and chanting of names followed by free time to wander about the camp before returning to our lodging at the Dialog Center. Tonight the group is visiting the amazing, powerful exhibition of Marion Kolodziej’s dark, visionary drawings from his time as a prisoner at Auschwitz. I’ve been there many times with Marian....

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This Month in Socially Engaged Buddhism

Originally posted by Zen Peacemakers Monthly News Letter. This Month in Socially Engaged Buddhism “A religious statue in a tsunami-devastated area in Natori city, along the coast.” Photo by Getty Images.  Picked up from Danny Fisher. Dear John, Natural disaster.  Conflict.  Poverty.  How do we respond? To address these issues, Buddhists throughout the West are innovating new forms of practice, including the exploration of what it means to serve as chaplains and ministers; the organizing of outreach projects; and working to create centers that combine meditation with social service. In today’s newsletter, I aim to provide a touch of my personal story in the context of my work with Bernie Glassman and the Zen Peacemakers and the development of Buddhism in the West.  I’ll site a small handful of the 46 articles related to Socially Engaged Buddhism that I’ve culled from various sources over the last month.  You can peruse these articles yourself at the Bearing Witness Blog or follow the blog through Facebook, Twitter or RSS in order to receive updates several times per week. Ari Setsudo Pliskin Bearing Witness Blog Editor Zen Peacemakers His Holiness the Dalai Lama: Tradition & Modernity Recent events related to His Holiness the Dalai Lama illustrate some of the tension between tradition and modernity.  While he plays the role of a global religious figure and prays for Japanese Tsunami victims, Tibetans resist his attempt to remove himself from political leadership.  Meanwhile, Tibetan monks travel through the U.S. (right) sharing Buddhist teachings about peace paired with cultural elements of dance, music and clothing. In transporting Buddhism to the West, what role should Asian culture and organizational structure play? (Side note: I look forward to joining Bernie and His Holiness for the Newark Peace Education Summit in May.  You may consider joining.) What is the proper position for a leader in Socially Engaged Buddhism? Another example of tension between old and new structures emerges with teachers closer to home form me.  Bernie and Eve (technically Roshi Tetsugen and Roshi Myonen according to Zen lingo) cannot accept an invitation from their White Plum Asangha colleagues to attend a Soto Zen Buddhist Association meeting.  How come?  Bernie and Eve (as they prefer to be called) aren’t priests and the SZBA only...

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Plunge Begins – Day 1 of Auschwitz-Birkenau Bearing Witness Retreat

Originally posted by Peacemaker Institute The original concentration/death camp. We arrived in Oswiecim, Poland by bus from Krakow this morning and settled into our quarters at the Centrum Dialogu (Dialog Center) a short walk from Auschwitz I. After our orientation and lunch we spent the afternoon at Auschwitz I, the original concentration/death camp established here by the Nazis in 1939. This is my 10th Bearing Witness Retreat at Auschwitz, my second this year. I never know how I will react or what my journey will be here, but what arose in me as I wandered through the barracks and exhibits at the Auschwitz I museum was anger, deep anger. I’m not even sure who I was feeling anger toward, just anger that this could and still does happen, that we human beings do this to each other. We concluded our time at Auschwitz I today with a ceremony at the Killing Wall next to the infamous Block 11, the punishment barracks run by the SS. We are about 90 on the retreat his time, and for the first time we have a contingent of young adults as a retreat withing the retreat, 15 young people, ages 16 – 28, from Israel (Jewish and Arab Israeli citizens), Switzerland, Poland and the U.S. We were supposed to have three young Palestinians from the West Bank, but they were very sadly unable to get their visas at the last moment. The young people will have there own council groups and their own afternoon activities at Birkenau over the next four days, but otherwise they will participate in the rest of the retreat program along with with the older adults. We held our first small councils this evening. Every participant is in a small council group of 7 – 9 participants with two trained council facilitators from our staff. Four the next four days we will meet in council each morning before breakfast. We will spend the entire day at Birkenau (Auschwitz II) the vast death camp where Jews and others were systematically exterminated in five gas chamber/crematorium complexes or killed more slowly in the slave labor camp, some 1.5 million people in all, 90% of them Jews from all over Eastern and Western Europe, from as far...

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The Clear View Project

Originally posted by The Clearview Project Dear Friends, Quite a few months have passed since I last wrote you.  I have been to New York, India, and Colorado, with opportunities to meet and do the work of engaged Buddhism with many of you. Here is a compendium of activities and links to our activities. Now spring has arrived. The world is troubled, but wisteria is blooming bright on my doorstep. *** The Bodhisattva’s Embrace My book of essays – The Bodhisattva’s Embrace: Dispatches From Engaged Buddhism’s Front Lines – has been published by Clear View Press, an imprint created for engaged Buddhist books by a variety of authors committed to social liberation.  Without benefit of commercial distribution we have already got more that 700 copies in circulation.  Strong reviews in Tricycle, Turning Wheel, Seeds of Peace, Inquiring Mind, and the Honolulu Diamond Sangha newsletter have helped create an interest in western Buddhist circles.  Joanna Macy says this about the book: For friends and followers of the Dharma, this collection illumines the promise of our practice and its relevance to our world today. Shorn of sentimentality and electric with caring, Alan Senauke is a trustworthy guide. His essays serve me both as reports from the field and inspirational reading. You can purchase a copy for $15 (plus postage) from the Clear View website www.clearviewproject.org or from Amazon.com.  We will gladly send a signed copy to any donor who sends Clear View a donation of $200 or more. *** Burma’s Saffron Revolution is not yet complete. Between April 21 & 24 Clear View is bringing U Pyinya Zawta to the Bay Area. U Pyinya Zawta is a Saffron Revolution monk, leader of the All Burma Monk’s Alliance in exile, living with other radical monks in Brooklyn, New York. He will be speaking at Berkeley Zen Center at 10am on Saturday, April 23 and co-leading a one-day retreat at Spirit Rock Meditation Center from 9:30 to 5pm on Sunday, April 24.  For registration and full details see: Spirit Rock – U Pyinya Zawta, et al. *** Clear View Blog For the last several month I’ve been writing an editing a blog which you can find at clearviewblog.org. Posts and comments have explored the compelling evidentiary hearings of Jarvis...

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26th Annual Interfaith Convocation & Overnight Vigil – June 1, 2011‏

Originally posted by The Interfaith Assembly on Homelessness and Housing invites you and your community to join the 26th Annual Interfaith Convocation and Overnight Vigil for Housing Justice. On Wednesday, June, 1st we will stand together and bear witness to the crisis of the homelessness and those at risk of losing their homes and call for solutions. As New York City establishes its budget and thus determines how its vast resources are to be allocated, and as New York’s rent laws near potential expiration, the Interfaith Assembly invites you to join people of faith and good will, housed and homeless in a call for housing justice for those in our city most in need of affordable housing. Wednesday, June 1  – 7pm to 8pm Interfaith Convocation Grace Church Broadway and 10th street 8pm to 9pm Procession to City Hall Park 9pm to Thursday, June 2, 9am Overnight Vigil in City Hall Park As crucial decisions are made that effect the lives of those struggling to find or maintain a home, the moral voice of people of faith and compassion must be loud and clear. When our elected officials determine the usage of state monies towards the housing subsidies for 15,000 formerly homeless families, and the renewal of New York state’s rent regulations for 2.5 million rent regulated tenants,  your voice is needed. Be a part of the Interfaith Assembly’s  26th annual convocation and  witness for Housing Justice for those most in need – and help support the Assembly’s Housing Justice efforts and Homeless Empowerment programs. Log on to www.blessednightout.org and join in Building a Blessed City Together...

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Indian state to map ancient Buddhist routes

Originally posted by Buddhist channel Religious pilgrimage offer a unique opportunity to local people. by Pranava K Chaudhary PATNA, India — The Bihar government will soon begin mapping the lost and forgotten Buddhist pilgrimage routes in the state with an aim to revive its old glory and promote tourism. The newly formed Bihar Virasat Vikas Samiti (BVVS) an NGO working as a separate body under the guidance of department of culture and a deemed university Nava Nalanda Mahavihara (NNM) have jointly designed a multi-pronged project to develop these unknown sites. Experts would be involved to develop these unknown sites spread across the districts of Nalanda, Vaishali, Bhagalpur, Saran and East Champaran. French archaeologist Yves Guichand during his recent Bihar visit took aerial photographs of some of these sites in Nalanda. “The community that has preserved the heritage stands to benefit from it while devising methods to preserve it. Tourism and more specifically, religious pilgrimage, offer a unique opportunity to local people to showcase the culture and heritage and, in the process, generate new avenues of livelihood,” says amateur archaeologist Deepak Anand, who has been actively engaged in this project during the last few years . “The pilgrimage routes through villages will give pride to the culture and offer them monetary support to take care of the inheritance and generate awareness,” Anand told TOI. This relationship between people and their surroundings would set an example of Buddha’s teachings in the land of its origin. The vast heritage that is inlaid in most of the villages in Bihar was once part of the pilgrimage for Buddhist all over the world; millions of followers traced these routes for over 1800 long years that saw an unexpected decline around the 14th century AD. The BVVS and NNM have designed a strategy to develop these sites for the interest of the local community and their heritage. The first phase of the plan would comprise a tour route spanning Bodh Gaya, Pragbodhi, Gurpa, Jethian, Nalanda, Rajgir, Parwati and Checher. The strategy put in place includes a community participation plan focussing on the interdependency of community and heritage termed “Engaged Buddhism”. The process of revitalization of the heritage has many aspects like, field study, exploration, documentation of the sites, protection, preservation,...

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Newark Peace Education Summit: The Power of Non-Violence

Originally posted by Danny Fisher A three day conference focusing on peacemaking practices from around the...

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The David Loy Interview

Originally posted by Sweeping Zen An authorized teacher in the Sanbo Kyodan tradition of Japanese Zen. David R. Loy is a Buddhist philosopher who writes on the interaction between Buddhism and modernity. He has been practicing Zen since 1971 and is an authorized teacher in the Sanbo Kyodan tradition of Japanese Zen Buddhism. David has taught at the National University of Singapore and Bunkyo University in Japan. From 2006 to 2010 he was the Besl Family Chair Professor of ethics/religion and society at Xavier University in Cincinnati. See:  http://davidloy.org/ Transcript SZ: This question gets asked a lot, but, how did you first get started with Zen practice? DL: In 1971 I was living in Hawaii, sometimes hanging out with a friend in Waikiki who heard about a zendo near the University called Koko An. We went there one evening and after the sitting learned that the following weekend there would be a seven day sesshin with a Japanese Zen master, Yamada Koun of the Sanbo Kyodan. There were still some openings, so my friend and I signed up – but we had no idea what a sesshin was! We expected that we’d all sit a bit and have tea with the roshi, with opportunities to talk to him about this or that. It turned out to be the most difficult seven days of my life. During the sesshin I literally thought that I was going crazy after about the fourth day. Physically, there was a lot of pain, of course. But the biggest challenge was psychological. Because I hadn’t sat much before, I didn’t really have any perspective on all those thoughts that were bouncing off the wall, and of course during a sesshin you don’t get the reassuring feedback we usually get from other people. But after the sesshin was over and I was lying in bed at home, about to fall asleep, at that moment of letting go there was a little opening– nothing terribly dramatic but it reinforced my sense that this was the path for me. The main teacher in Hawaii was Robert Aitken, who was just beginning to teach and at that time I felt particularly connected with Yamada-roshi. I stayed in Hawaii for several more years, later living...

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Popular Culture vs. Dharma

Originally posted by About.com Two Perspectives, East Versus West Buddhism dichotomy. By Barbara O’Brien, Some new slams of “western Buddhism” as something shallow and commercial touched off more reflection on the East Versus West Buddhism dichotomy. The slams of which I speak are from Jane Iwamura, “On Asian Religions Without Asians,” and Mark Vernon, “Buddhism Is the New Opium of the People.” Note that Mark Vernon isn’t so much discussing his own views as he is the views of others, so please don’t be too hard on him. It’s interesting to read the two pieces together, if only to see how two people from different backgrounds can look at the same thing but see different things, and draw different conclusions.  But to me Iwamura’s perspective is more interesting and more credible, and I’d like to take it up first. Iwamura’s review of the West’s smarmy flirtations with Asian spirituality, going back to 19th century Transcendentalists and Theosophists, is pretty much spot on. I even appreciate the article’s illustration, which appears to be the cover of her new book,  Virtual Orientalism: Asian Religions and American Popular Culture. Yep, there’s the decidedly not-Asian David Carradine, in his television role as Kwai Chang Caine from the old Kung Fu series of the 1970s. (The part could’ve gone to Bruce Lee, but the series developers didn’t think Lee was “serene” enough, according to Wikipedia. Basically, they didn’t trust an Asian to be the kind of Asian they had in mind.) Widespread knowledge and acceptance of Asian spiritual practices began to take root in western popular culture in the mid-20th century, Iwamura writes, and that mostly through association with celebrities, especially those thought to be very cool or “arty” — Jack Kerouac, John Cage, George Harrison. Asian spiritual practices also tend to be popularized through association with an iconic guru-monk figure, such as the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (of transcendental meditation, if you young folks don’t recognize the name). “His philosophy and outlook are important; but perhaps more significant are his Asian face, mannerisms, and style of dress. Such visual cues help authorize an Asian spiritual movement and practice,” Iwamura writes. I’d say western Buddhism has entered a new and more pernicious phase, in which the “icon” is a westerner who argues that...

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How to Build a Community.

Originally posted by Elephant A contemplative introduction to social entrepreneurship and connecting with others by Avery McChristian. When I caught up with Avery recently, we pulled up stools in a dark corner bar in south Philadelphia.  The conversation moved quickly from the usual banter of old friends to our latest conquests in “deep thinking.”  His latest exploration into contemplative theory challenged me to constantly improve my understanding of topics we found to discuss. Over the years our small junto always seemed to wrestle with understanding the significance of community and our relation to those around us.  That is, until, I opened an email a few days later  in which he had managed to identify what community means and sum it all up in one simple bullet list that caused me to stop what I was doing and say, “this is  it!” Turn off your TV Leave your house Know your neighbors Look up when you are walking Greet people Sit on your stoop Plant flowers Use your library Play together Buy from local merchants Share what you have Help a lost dog Take children to the park Garden together Support neighborhood schools Fix it even if you didn’t break it Have pot lucks Honor elders Pick up litter Read stories aloud Dance in the street Talk to the mail carrier Listen to the birds Put up a swing Help carry something heavy Barter for your goods Start a tradition Ask a question Hire young people for odd jobs Organize a block party Bake extra and share Ask for help when you need it Open your shades Sing together Share your skills Take back the night Turn up the music Turn down the music Listen before you react to anger Mediate a conflict Seek to understand Learn from new and uncomfortable angles Know that no one is silent though many are not heard, Work to change...

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Nepal begins restoration of Buddha's birthplace

Originally posted by Buddhist Channel. Team restores three endangered monuments at Buddha’s  birthplace in southern Nepa. KATHMANDU, Nepal — An international conservation team has begun work on restoring three endangered monuments at Buddha’s supposed birthplace in southern Nepal, officials said on Tuesday. The team, led by Italian conservation expert Costantino Meucci, will restore the marker stone, nativity sculpture and Ashoka pillar in Lumbini, 250 kilometres (150 miles) southwest of Nepal’s capital Kathmandu. Lumbini, declared a world heritage site by UNESCO in 1997, is visited by Buddhist pilgrims from around the world, and the month-long restoration campaign is funded by the Japanese government. The marker stone is believed to be the exact site of Buddha’s birth while the nativity sculpture is a carving that shows Buddha’s mother holding a tree branch for support during his birth. The Ashoka pillar was built by an Indian king in the third century BC. “We will clean the nativity sculpture. Its outer layer is peeling. The Ashoka pillar is deteriorating due to human activities and biological effects,” conservation expert Meucci told reporters. “Offerings such as sugar and oil by devotees have probably caused changes in the colour of the marker stone,” Meucci added. Gautama Siddhartha, who later became known as Buddha or the Enlightened One, is believed to have been born around 500...

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Just an hour of meditation training reduces pain response, study finds

Originally posted by Buddhist Channel. Meditation relieves pain through focused attention. By Agence France-Presse. WASHINGTON, USA — Meditation can deliver powerful pain-relieving effects to the brain with even just 80 minutes’ training for a beginner in an exercise called focused attention, a study released Tuesday found. “This is the first study to show that only a little over an hour of meditation training can dramatically reduce both the experience of pain and pain-related brain activation,” said Fadel Zeidan, lead author of the study and a post-doctoral research fellow at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in North Carolina. The findings appear in the April 6 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience. “We found a big effect — about a 40-percent reduction in pain intensity and a 57-percent reduction in pain unpleasantness. Meditation produced a greater reduction in pain than even morphine or other pain-relieving drugs, which typically reduce pain ratings by about 25 percent,” he added. Researchers looked at 15 fit volunteers who had never meditated. The subjects each took four 20-minute sessions to learn how to control their breathing and put aside their emotions and thoughts. Before and after sessions, subjects’ brain activity was monitored with a special type of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Called “arterial spin labeling magnetic resonance imaging” (ASL MRI), it is able to give readings on longer duration brain processes, such as meditation, better than a standard MRI scan of brain function. When ASL MRIs were being taken, a pain-inducing heat device was put on participants’ right legs. It heated a small area of their skin to 120° Fahrenheit, which most people would find painful, for five minutes. Scans taken after meditation training showed that all of the volunteers’ pain ratings were reduced, with drops from 11 to 93 percent, Zeidan said. Meanwhile meditation also reduced brain activity in the primary somatosensory cortex, an area that is involved in creating the feeling of where and how intense a painful stimulus is. Scans done before meditation training showed activity in this area was very high; but when participants were meditating during scans, activity in this important pain-processing region could not be detected. “One of the reasons that meditation may have been so effective in blocking pain was that it did not...

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Equanimity Helps Activism

Originally posted by Tricycle Burnout is rampant! Anger burns you out. And among social activists, burnout is rampant. When people learn meditation practices for the first time, this idea of accepting things as they are is very confusing. But it’s simply that: that they are. Not accepting circumstances as they are isn’t going to change them, and in fact, not accepting them keeps you from seeing things as-they-are. And that prevents you from being able to do the most effective action to change them. -Mirabai Bush, “Contemplating Corporate...

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Week One: Peacemaker Team in Rwanda

Originally posted by The Peacemaker Institute The plunge into not knowing and bearing witness, the second visit to Rwanda, and our second Rwanda Bearing Witness Retreat. Posted by Fleet Maull ,View Fleet Maull’s blog. Week One: Peacemakers in Rwanda As one would imagine, our second visit to Rwanda has been a deep plunge into not knowing and bearing witness. As I write this report, I’m acutely aware that 17 years ago the 1994 Rwandan genocide was just about to unleash 100 days of the darkest horrors imaginable on the people of Rwanda, by its end leaving the country in ruins and the people profoundly traumatized. We are getting up at 5 am tomorrow, April 7th, in order to reach the national stadium by 6 am when people begin filing in for the opening event of the national genocide commemoration and mourning week. We arrived here a week ago, the airport and drive into Kigali, the capital, now familiar from our visit to Rwanda last year for the first Rwanda Bearing Witness retreat. We’ve had a packed week, numerous meetings with our growing peace building coalition partners, the key government agencies and NGO’s involved in healing, reconciliation and genocide prevention work here. Most of the leaders we met with are genocide survivors themselves, courageously dedicated to rebuilding their country and creating a future for their children and future generations. We led a three-day trauma counselor training April 3 – 5, introducing 65 genocide survivors working through Rwanda as trauma counselors to mindfulness and presence practices, deep listening reflective listening and our peace circle practice, also known as council, listening circles, and talking stick circles. Our goals was to train and empower them to take the peace circle practice back to their towns and villages as a tool for healing trauma, for unity and reconciliation work, conflict resolution and community building. The group appeared very inspired to take these practices back to their communities, and we are now trying to envision how to follow up with them and support the growth of a peacemaker circle movement in Rwanda. The clear highlight of the trauma counselor training for us (the training team) was the traditional Rwandan singing and dancing that became our way of generating energy at...

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The Interfaith Challenge

Originally posted by Inside Higher Ed By Eboo Patel and Cassie Meyer Attitudes and behaviors toward diversity. For over two hundred years, Americans of all faiths have come together, put their shoulders to the wheel of history, and made this country what it is today. And I know that as we go forward, it’s going to take all of us – Christian and Jew, Hindu and Muslim, believer and non-believer – to meet the challenges of the 21st century. –President Barack Obama, in a video announcing the President’s Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge When a university president shakes hands with a senior on graduation day, she is likely confident that the student has certain positive knowledge, attitudes and behaviors toward diversity, including racial, ethnic, sexual orientation, class, and gender diversity. If she’s feeling optimistic, she might expect these attitudes toward diversity to shape students’ civic participation and leadership beyond college. So where is religious diversity in this mix? What knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors should a college president expect of her graduates when it comes to the Catholics and Protestants, Muslims and Jews, Hindus and nonbelievers that make up the American fabric? Religion is increasingly prevalent within American public and political discourse, and religious intolerance is at significant levels toward groups like Muslims, Mormons, Evangelicals and Atheists. Intolerance toward Muslims and Mormons appears to be rising. These rates and attitudes mirror prejudices that Catholics and Jews have faced in the past. The good news is that Catholics and Jews are now — according to Robert Putnam and David Campbell’s research — among the most favorably viewed by their fellow Americans. How did this powerful change occur? Social science data suggest that increasing appreciative knowledge of these religions and expanding opportunities for meaningful positive encounters with Catholics and Jews were the keys. Given that colleges and universities are places that facilitate encounters with and knowledge about diversity, could higher education play a similar role with regard to today’s more expansive religious diversity? On March 17, President Obama offered colleges and universities an opportunity to address this question: the President’s Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge. Obama invited campuses to commit to a year of interfaith cooperation and community service programming on their campuses, bringing students...

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Tibetan monks share culture, wisdom with Brookdale students in Middletown

Originally posted by The Buddhist Channel Written by JENNIFER BRADSHAW, The Asbury Park Press, Mar. 31, 2011. Middletown, Connecticut (USA) — According to Buddhist teachings, ignorance is a powerful negative emotion and one that will hinder wisdom and problem solving. “The root cause of all our suffering is ignorance,” said monk Tenpa Phuntsok, translating for monk Geshe Lharamta Lobsang Dhondup. “If we try to reduce or dispel this ignorance from our mind . . . then there will be no more pain or suffering in our lives.” On Wednesday, a group of monks from the Drepung Gomang Monastery spent a day at Brookdale Community College to visit with students, demonstrate cultural dance and Buddhist debate, and talk about meditation and karma. Originally built in Tibet and driven out by the Chinese Communist Party, the monastery is now located in a southeast region of India. According to the monastery website, approximately 2,000 monks currently live there. Phuntsok, a monk who gave most of the presentation in English, said the tour has three objectives: To share what they have learned at the monastery, to share their culture with other cultures, and raise some money for the monastery. The monks hope to spread Buddhist teachings and the ideas of wisdom, compassion and peace as a way to help solve the problems of the world, he said. “(We have) a big hope that we can work some contribution from the Buddhist way of practice,” he said. To raise that money, the group also brought a colorful array of jewelry, clothing, prayer flags and Tibetan instruments to sell, including “singing bowls,” which are often used in meditation practices. “It is said that those who are “fortunate’ can hear the teachings of the Buddha in the ringing of the bowls,” Phuntsok said. The group has been in the U.S. for six months, and will stay for another six, he...

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Chaplains Speak Out on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Repeal

Originally posted by Jizo Chronicles Just simply doing what’s right. I am heartened whenever I hear about an individual or a group of people who use their credibility and voice to speak up for something, to put their necks out for a cause bigger than themselves. Sometimes this is called “being an ally,” sometimes it’s called advocacy, sometimes it’s just simply doing what’s right. It’s easier to not speak up, and most of the time people don’t look much beyond their own interests. But when it does happen, I think it’s a modern manifestation of the bodhisattva ideal. Last week, I attended the annual conference of the Association of Professional Chaplains in Dallas, TX. I was there on behalf of the Upaya Buddhist Chaplaincy Training Program. I don’t consider myself a chaplain, at least not in the traditional sense, so this was not my “tribe,” so to speak. Even so, I enjoyed meeting people and learning more about this profession. Earlier in the week, I had mentioned to a student in our program that I had been following a couple of news stories this past year that involved chaplains and I was surprised and disappointed that the APC didn’t seem to have expressed an opinion on them. One was the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the other was the growing presence of Muslim chaplains on college campuses and other settings. In both cases, fear-based fundamentalists grabbed on to these events and turned them into an opportunity to spread their distorted points of view. [Distorted in my opinion, anyway.] In the case of gays serving openly in the military, the position was that chaplains were having their rights violated. In the case of Muslim chaplains, well, there wasn’t anything remotely close to a rational objection… the responses were racist, pure and simple. Here was the perfect opportunity for a professional body of chaplains to refute these destructive beliefs. And yet I hadn’t seen anything in the media. Well, it turns out I was wrong. The APC actually did make a statement on DADT, and I was told that APC president David Johnson also spoke out in strong support of Muslim chaplains. It may be that the APC needs some more savvy media help to...

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OUT OF THE SHADOWS: Socially Engaged Buddhist Women

Originally posted by Snow Lion Pub A collection of essays that sheds light on Buddhist women’s vast achievements. 396 pp., clothbound. # OUSHSO – $ 21.00 OUT OF THE SHADOWS: Socially Engaged Buddhist Women edited by Karma Lekshe Tsomo Since the time of the Buddha, women have played significant roles in Buddhist societies, but until recently their contributions have often gone unrecognized. In the past two decades, the landscape has shifted dramatically. Buddhist women have come out of the shadows and begun to take active roles, both in the spheres of religion and social transformation. The First Sakyadhita International Conference on Buddhist Women held in Bodhgaya, India, gave rise to a revolutionary new awareness among Buddhist women that has led to major changes throughout the Buddhist world. Out of the Shadows: Socially Engaged Buddhist Women is a collection of essays that sheds light on Buddhist women’s vast achievements. These essays recount women’s struggles, their earnest spiritual practice, and their diligent efforts to relieve the sufferings of the world. Beginning with the story of the Buddha’s wife and spanning more than two thousand years of history, these essays illuminate the lives of Buddhist laywomen and nuns, from a diversity of cultures throughout Asia and beyond. The richness and variety of their struggles and accomplishments are a valuable chapter in women’s history and an inspiring legacy. Contributors include Tenzin Palmo, Anne Carolyn Klein, Martine Batchelor, and many other noted Buddhist writers. Here are a few of the titles among the 55 essays in this volume: – Reconstructing Yasodhara’s Life Narrative: From Siddhartha’s Wife to Daughter of the Buddha – The Meaning of Nonduality in the Practice of Compassion – Dhamma in Daily Life: How to Deal with Anger – Buddhist Education for Children – Education and Training for Women at the Time of the Buddha: Implications for Today – On the Equality of Beings in Buddhist Ecology Karma Lekshe Tsomo is an American born, fully ordained Buddhist nun (bhikshuni) in the Tibetan tradition. She is an associate professor of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of San Diego, California, and editor of numerous books on women in Buddhism. These books were produced in India, and there are slight imperfections from shipping in the...

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We're in This Together

Originally posted by Tricycle Written by Pema Chödrön. People need to see that if you hurt another person, you hurt yourself, and if you hurt yourself, you’re hurting another person. And then to begin to see that we are not in this alone. We are in this together. For me, that’s where the true morality comes from. -Pema Chödrön, “No Right, No Wrong” Week 4 of Pamela Gayle White and Khedrub Zangmo’s Tricycle Retreat, “Letting Go” continues this week at tricycle.com! Sign up for Tricycle’s Daily Dharma here. Read the Full Article: No Right, No...

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On the Buddha Side!

Originally posted by On The Buddha Side Work on the Montague Farm...

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Buddhist Chaplains

Originally posted by Danny Fisher BuddhistChaplains.org is dedicated to developing the field of Buddhist spiritual care, check it out!! k This from the mind and effort of our friend and past interviewee Jennifer Block at Zen Hospice Project: http://buddhistchaplains.org Brand new. Come visit. Post a comment. Join the Directory. Contribute content. … with dedication to: All Buddhist chaplains serving in our communities — those near & far, new & vintage, known & yet to be known. …with special thanks to: Steve Goodwin for skillfully building this site for us. May his generosity return to him 1,000 fold. Lori Hefner et al. for creating the first Buddhist chaplain network & website, and blessing this one. …with apologies for: Any confusion & quirks encountered herein. Tell us & we’ll address them,...

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Bernie Glassman :: Socially Engaged Buddhism

Originally posted by The Secular Buddhist Episode 57, Listen to this video!! Share This Page on Facebook Listen To This Episode Bernie Glassman Bernie Glassman speaks with us about Socially Engaged Buddhism, and the organization Zen Peacemakers. There are many different ways in which our practice can show itself. We can sit with a group at a local center. Go on retreats. Reach deep states of mental calm in meditation. None of which is a bad thing. The question is, beyond feeling better yourself, what good are we doing? The founder of the Zen Peacemakers, Zen Master Bernie Glassman, evolved from a traditional Zen Buddhist monastery-model practice to become a leading proponent of social engagement as spiritual practice. He is internationally recognized as a pioneer of Buddhism in the West and as a founder of Socially Engaged Buddhism and spiritually based Social Entrepreneurship. He has proven to be one of the most creative forces in Western Buddhism, creating new paths, practices, liturgy and organizations to serve the people who fall between the cracks of society. So, sit back, relax, and have a nice Silver Peony white...

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The 2011 Women in Engaged Buddhism Award to Be Presented to Venerable Pannavati-Karuna at this Year’s Buddhist Women’s Conference in Chicago

Originally posted by Danny Fisher Women in Engaged Buddhism award. This from Buddhadharma: The Practitioner’s Quarterly Online: On Saturday, March 26 the 2011 Women in Engaged Buddhism award will be presented at the annual Buddhist Women’s Conference in Chicago. This  year’s award will be presented to Venerable Pannavati-Karuna to support the work of My Place, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing a positive youth development program for homeless and at-risk youth that heals the whole person. The conference website says that,”Ven. Pannavati founded My Place two years ago at the Embracing Simplicity Buddhist Hermitage in Hendersonville, NC. Since that time more than 60 homeless youth have stayed in the home environment of a residential, transitional housing program. They receive training in self-responsibility, positive self-expression, the arts, meditation, educational/career training/work readiness, interaction with adult mentors and referral for crisis intervention.” The award is presented by The Buddhist Council of the Midwest and its purpose is to “recognize and encourage initiatives in Engaged Buddhism by women. It is intended to nurture young or little known projects that are underway at the time of the application. This year’s award carries with it a guaranteed monetary grant of...

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Buddhist Recovery Network plans conference on recovery from addiction

Originally posted by Shambhala SunSpace Recover from the suffering caused by addictive behaviors. “Recovery from Addiction in a Buddhist Context” is the theme of a coming conference brought to us by the Buddhist Recovery Network, which “supports the use of Buddhist teachings, traditions and practices to help people recover from the suffering caused by addictive behaviors.” Hosted by the Against the Stream Meditation Center, the conference will take place from May 19-22, in Los Angeles. Presenters will include Kevin Griffin, Darren Littlejohn, Noah Levine, Gregg Krech, Chönyi Taylor, Thérèse Jacobs-Stewart, Jeffrey McIntyre, Lauri Carlson, Pablo Das, Joseph Rogers, and Barbara West. As the BRN describes it: “The Conference provides a broad platform for a diverse range of perspectives to be heard, including presentations from experts in the fields of psychology, psychotherapy and Buddhism. “Attendees will come away from the experience with a broad understanding of how Buddhist approaches and practices can help inform and alleviate the suffering caused by addiction. The relationship of these approaches to current research and practice in the broader recovery field will also be covered.” Visit the BRN for more information and to register. See also: Extreme Detox: How Buddhist monks led me to humility and freedom from alcohol...

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NEWS: “Tibetan Government Rejects His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s Proposal to Retire”

The Dalai Lama finding himself in a catch-22! See the talk live by HH. Originally posted by Danny Fisher This from the Hindustan Times (by way of Buddhadharma: The Practitioner’s Quarterly Online): Finding itself in a catch-22 situation, the Tibetan–parliament–in exile, known as the Assembly of Tibetan Peoples Deputies (ATPD) on Friday passed a resolution with a voice vote, pleading with Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama to reconsider his decision to devolve his political powers. After holding marathon deliberations for four days, the Tibetan parliament, that was finding it difficult to reach to any conclusion, has finally resolved that the 400 year old relationship between the Dalai Lama and Tibetan people was “immortal”. The Speaker of the Tibetan parliament on Wednesday had formed three committees comprising of 12 parliamentarians each, to find a middle way out to the Dalai Lama’s proposal to relinquish his political role in the Tibetan-government-in-exile. The three committees on Friday gave their recommendations to bring a resolution in the house, asking the Dalai Lama not to give up his political role. The Committees have, however, strongly recommended a reduction in the Dalai Lama’s admistrative role. Parliamentarians observed that the Dalai Lama should stay on as the leader of the Tibetan movement. Read the rest at the Hindustan Times. Live video of The Dalai Lama: Tibetan Language – Remarks on the Issue of Retirement from Political...

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More on Japan: Joanna Macy and Thich Nhat Hanh

Beautiful words in response to the crisis in Japan. Originally posted by Jizo Chronicles Jizo Bodhisattva / Image via Wikipedia This past week, both Joanna Macy and Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh have written some beautiful words in response to the crisis in Japan. Each of them helps us to remember the larger context of this disaster, and of our lives and practice. First, the letter from Joanna, who is no stranger to the dangers of nuclear power and radiation. In 1992, she spent time with the people  of Novozybkyov, a village about 100 miles from Chernobyl. Joanna and her late husband, Fran Macy, have been dedicated to the cause of nuclear disarmament and guardianship for many years. Dear Ones, In this hour of anguish we reach out to our Japanese colleagues and all beings of that noble and stricken land.  As our hearts unite in prayer for them, we experience our own non-separation from the immeasurable suffering inflicted by the successive earthquakes and tsunamis, and by the nuclear catastrophe these have triggered. Having just begun the last week of my three-month retreat, I break silence to give voice to my solidarity with you all.  By speaking to you, I remind myself of what we can remember in this time of grief and fear. It helps me to remember what I learned in Novozybkov with survivors of Chernobyl: that is that there are two basic responses to massive collective trauma.  One response is to let it destroy our trust in life and in each other, plummeting us into division, blame and despair.  The other is to let the shared cataclysm strengthen us into greater solidarity, and deepen our knowledge of our mutual belonging in the web of life. Your communications are evidence already of that second response.  Indeed the Work That Reconnects has been preparing us for it. We remember to breathe.  As we have practiced, we breathe through the reports as we hear and the images of disaster. This helps us simply take in what is happening, and not be blocked by horror or the desire to fix or flee. We also breathe with those who are caught up in this tragedy, in the intensity of panic, shock, and loss. Feel how this breathing-with...

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Taxpayers to fund Buddhist-inspired stress course for civil servants

Stressed-out!! Originally posted by The Buddhist Channel By Don Butler. OTTAWA, Canada — Stressed-out employees at Justice Canada in Ottawa will soon be able to seek relief in a taxpayer-funded program that uses the Buddhist concept of mindfulness to help them cope with personal and workplace pressures. << A Tibetan Buddhist In exile shields a candle while participating in a vigil. File photo. Photograph by: Dibyangshu Sarkar, AFP The department invited bids last week for two nine-week “mindfulness-based stress reduction” sessions designed to help up to 40 public servants “learn to relate more consciously and compassionately to the challenges of work and personal life.” According to Justice Canada’s request for proposals, the program will help employees “deal more effectively with difficult thought and emotions that can keep you feeling stuck in everyday life. “The practice of mindfulness can support you to work with and understand the nature of your thought and perceptions so that you can take control and responsibility for your health and well-being,” the document says. The maximum budget for each of the two sessions is $11,000 plus GST. The request for proposals gives the department the option of adding four more sessions later this year, which would increase the cost by up to $44,000. Asked why the program was necessary, a departmental spokesman replied by email that the need for effective tools to manage stress and promote mental health in the workplace is “widely recognized. The beneficial effects of this program are well documented.” Mindfulness-based stress reduction was founded in 1979 by Jon Kabat-Zinn, a medical professor at the University of Massachusetts. According to the website mindfulnet.org, 18,000 people have since completed MBSR programs. It’s now used in hospitals, schools, courtrooms, prisons and boardrooms around the world. Corporate disciples include Apple, Yahoo!, Google, Starbucks and Procter & Gamble. Mindfulness, which has its origins in ancient meditation practices, “helps you choose to become more aware of your thoughts and mental processes,” says mindfulnet.org, “allowing you to choose how you respond to them, rather than responding on autopilot.” In the workplace, the website says it can help reduce tensions, improve communications, defuse conflict and promote more creative thinking. Participants are taught a number of meditation techniques designed to reduce “brain chatter” and respond...

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Vajrayana Maitri Project

Originally posted by Dharma Ocean Socially Engaged Buddhism and the Contemporary Bodhisattva Path In the Western world, the advent of broad exposure and experience with Buddhist teachings largely coincided with the counter-cultural “consciousness movement” of 1960s and 70s.  As a consequence, many have largely viewed Buddhism as a “personal growth” technique relevant primarily to an individual and their personal approach to the world. Historically, however, suffering and the awareness of suffering are said to be the founding force of the Buddha’s journey towards enlightenment.  They are also part of the foundational first teachings of the Buddha, recorded as the Four Noble Truths.  From this perspective, the engagement with suffering can be viewed as the very essence of the inspiration and practice of Buddhism.  This awareness of, and willingness to engage suffering outside oneself became the foundation of the second turning of the Buddha’s teachings – the Mahayana.  The view and practices for working with the suffering of the inner and outer world were codified as the Bodhisattva path. Over the past twenty years, a number of both Asian and Western Buddhist teachers have made the direct and personal engagement with outer world issues a focal point of their practice and instruction. Thich Nhat Hahn, Bernie Glassman, Fleet Maul, Jon Kabat-Zinn and many others began to push the boundaries by literally taking Buddhism to the streets, prisons and corporate health care settings.  In recent years, this phenomenon became a clearly recognized trend with a growing body of commentary and analysis now generally referred to as “socially engaged Buddhism.” Launch of The Vajrayana Maitri Project For those practicing within the Vajrayana traditions of Buddhism, efforts to foster “social change” or other actions intended to alter the world evokes fundamental questions about the intention and orientation of such activities.  The samaya vow, taken as part of the traditional Vajrayana pointing out ceremonies, contains an explicit commitment to trust and respect the world as sacred-as-it-arises.  How do we hold both “sacred world view” and the need to change the world? It is in this context that Dharma Ocean Foundation and The Hemera Foundation have partnered to initiate the Vajrayana Maitri Project: an exploration of what unique contribution and role the Vajrayana tradition – as conveyed through the lineage...

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Bodhisattva Action Alert: Ways to Help Japan

When disasters or crises hit`s!! Originally posted by Jizo Chronicles Member of Japan Self-Defence Forces carries a man in Natori city, in Miyagi prefecture March 12, 2011. REUTERS/Yomiuri When disasters or crises hit Asian Buddhist countries, I believe that we as Western Buddhists are offered a way to re-pay the gift of dharma that has been shared with us so generously by our dharma brothers and sisters in the East. Now, the people of Japan are in great need in the wake of the devastating earthquake and tsunami of March 11. Some of my Buddhist blogging colleagues have collected lists of ways to help with the relief efforts in Japan: See this post from Adam Tebbe on Sweeping Zen John Pappas, aka Jack Daw, of Point of Contact, has posted a collection of photos that illustrate the extent of the disaster, and re-posted an extensive “How to Help” list from USA Today Rev. Danny Fisher recommends the Google Crisis Response page, which includes a link to donate to the Japanese Red Cross Society The Shambhala Sun Space blog offers this list Tricycle Magazine provides this post If you’re looking for a reputable and respected Buddhist organization to support, I’d highly recommend making a donation to the Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation. Tzu Chi is one of the world’s first socially engaged Buddhist organizations and they have done tremendous relief work at other natural disaster sites, including the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. Tzu Chi has announced that it has set up a command center to prepare for launching relief aid to Japan.  You can learn more and make a donation...

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Buddhists Respond to the Crisis in Japan

Japanese Religions “Confront Tragedy” Originally posted by Dannyfisher “A religious statue in a tsunami-devastated area in Natori city, along the coast.” Photo by Getty Images. Focus Taiwan reports on Tzu Chi USA’s efforts to raise relief funds for Japan. Sify News reports on Buddhists in Dharamsala, India, offering their prayers for those affected by the terrible disasters. CNN’s Belief Blog looks at “how Japan’s religions confront...

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Buddhist Monasteries in Bodh Gaya

Third day of protest in allegedly unpaid Bills. Originally posted by Dannyfisher Afternoon at the Mahabodhi Mahavihara, November 2006. Photo by the author. This from the Indo-Asian News Service (IANS): The Bihar State Electricity Board disconnected power supply to eight foreign Buddhist monasteries over two days March 8-9, citing unpaid bills totalling around Rs.65 lakh. After the board took the step, the International Buddhist Council of India, the Bodh Gaya chapter, decided to close all its 34 monasteries, temples and other institutions in Bodh Gaya in Gaya district of...

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Buddhist Compassion in Action

Among the first responders to the catastrophe in Japan. Originally posted by About. com Buddhism By Barbara O’Brien, March 14, 2011 The Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation was among the first responders to the catastrophe in Japan. In a letter to global volunteers, the Venerable Dharma Master Cheng Yen said that within an hour of the first earthquake shocks, Tzu Chi headquarters in Taiwan had begun coordinating relief efforts with the Tokyo chapter. A Tzu Chi relief center opened in Tokyo at 6.30 p.m. Friday, less than four hours after the quake. The center is providing snacks, Internet access to search for lost loved ones, and a place to rest for those without shelter. By now 50 tons of instant rice and 17,000 blankets flown to Japan by Tzu Chi should have arrived at areas most affected by the earthquake and tsunami. Here in the U.S.,  Buddhist high school students gathered in the Tzu Chi Center in San Jose, California, on Sunday morning before joining 300 other people in a fund raising drive. Many other temples and dharma centers around the world are accepting donations for Japan. And of course, Tzu Chi is accepting donations on the...

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Tzu Chi Foundation response to the Massive quake in Japan

Originally posted by Buddhist Channel The Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation set up an emergency coordination center. Taipei, Taiwan — An 9.0-magnitude earthquake on the Richter scale hit Japan on March 11 at 2:46 pm Japan time. Immediately after the quake, the Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation set up an emergency coordination center in its global headquarters in Hualien, Taiwan. Starting on the day of the quake, the Tzu Chi chapter in Tokyo opened up its office as shelter, and is also providing hot meals, as well as internet connection for people to contact their family members. So far, the Tzu Chi chapter in Tokyo has provided 500 items to those who trapped on the streets of Tokyo and unable to go home during the night. Tzu Chi volunteers have already started to assess the needs of residents who stay in the emergency shelters under the coordination of Japan officials. In the meantime, Tzu Chi global headquarters in Hualien has air freighted 5,000 blankets made of recycled PET bottles with features of warm and light-weighted and 35,000 kgs of instant rice which is ready to be served after 40-50 minutes in room temperature water or 20 minutes in hot water and 1,000 kgs of mixed nuts to Japan on March 13, 2011 Currently, all Tzu Chi volunteers in Japan are on standby to provide assistance and launched a series of street fundraising campaigns throughout the United States to help the suffering people in Japan . Dharma Master Cheng Yen, the founder of the Tzu Chi Foundation, urges everyone to pray sincerely for the suffering people in...

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Dalai Lama offers prayers for Japan quake, tsunami victims

Original post The Buddhist Channel Dalai Lama offers prayers for Japan quake, tsunami victims Dhramsala, India — Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama offered prayers here for the victims of the massive earthquake and tsunami in Japan. In a letter sent to Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan, the Dalai Lama expressed “shock and sadness” on the news of yesterday’s earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Japan and offered condolences to the victims” families and others affected by it. The Dalai Lama said “we must all be grateful that the Japanese government”s disaster preparedness measures prevented the death and destruction from being much worse”. “His holiness offered his prayers for those who have lost their lives and offered his sympathy and condolences to their families and others affected by it,” a statement issued by the Nobel Laureate”s office said. The statement said “as a Buddhist monk who daily recites the Heart Sutra, the Dalai Lama felt it would be very good if Japanese Buddhists were to recite the Heart Sutra” for the victims and survivors of the quake and the tsunami. “Such recitation may not only be helpful for those who have lost their precious lives, but may also help prevent further disasters in the future””, the Dalai Lama said. He said prayers to recite the Heart Sutra 100,000 times were being organized in Dharamsala for this...

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Tricycle Book Club: Discuss Sex and the Spiritual Teacher

The discussion! Originally posted by: Author Scott Edelstein Tricycle Book Club: Discuss Sex and the Spiritual Teacher We’re discussing Sex and the Spiritual Teacher by Scott Edelstein in the Tricycle Book Club. It’s a levelheaded, honest look at a serious and real issue—and with all that’s going on in the Zen community lately, it couldn’t be more timely. Here’s one of the author’s comments from the discussion taking place at the Book Club: When something becomes the norm in a community, it isn’t easy to speak out against it. You’re not just challenging the specific practice; you’re also challenging all of the people in it, their leaders, the agreements among all these folks, and the organization itself. When we’re new to a community, we tend to keep mum because we’re still learning about it, and we know that we won’t be taken seriously. If we challenge things, we’ll probably just be quickly shown to the door. And once we’ve become part of the community, the norms may no longer seem so strange or bother us so much. Wittingly or unwittingly, we may have even adopted them ourselves. And now we have things to lose–friendships, commitment to a teacher or tradition, the possibility of future benefit–by speaking out. It’s a classic setup. Does this sound familiar to you? Join the discussion here. Special Member Offer for March Become a Tricycle Community Member and discuss Sex and the Spiritual Teacher in the Tricycle Book Club! During the month of March, in partnership with Wisdom Publications, all Tricycle Community Members can get Scott Edelstein’s new book, Sex and the Spiritual Teacher, at a 20% discount with free shipping in the US*, plus free e-book for instant download. Then, discuss the book with the author in the Tricycle Book Club! Here’s how: • Join the Tricycle Community at any member level. If you are already a Tricycle Community Member, you are pre-qualified for this special offer! • Purchase Sex and the Spiritual Teacher online at tricycle.com, and receive a 20% discount plus free shipping. *Shipping charges apply to Canadian and international orders. Your book will arrive in the mail within 2-4 weeks. • Download your free e-book and start reading immediately. • Join Scott Edelstein in the Tricycle...

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Chicago Buddhists Pray for Japan

Continuous Compassion by the Buddhist community Originally posted by The Buddhist Channel Chicago, USA — Buddhists in Chicago pray for their family and friends in Japan. Many in Chicago’s Buddhist community were personally touched by the earthquake in Japan, and their concern for family and friends there is palpable. At Sunday’s services at the, hearts and minds kept returning to the tragedy. “We hear a lot of stories of people walking down 45 flights of stairs, walking home, taking 8, 12 hours to get home because nothing was running,” said Kiku Taura, who used to work in Japan, and still has co-workers in Tokyo. Another member of the temple, Joanne Tohei, has a 35-year-old son living in hard-hit Fukushima, where a nuclear reactor is in danger of melting down. “He thinks he’s far enough away from the nuclear plant, however he’s got to make a decision whether or not to evacuate, so he’s just waiting for that news,” she said. Luckily, Tohei and Taura say their friends and family are all OK, but they feel deeply for those who were injured or killed. “I’ve spent a couple of sleepless nights, of course, but waking up in the morning, I’m thinking, ‘maybe it was just a horrid dream, maybe this didn’t happen.’ But I’d flip on the TV and then there it is, the news all over again, and realizing again that this did happen,” Thoei...

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Bodhisattva Action Alert: Ways to Help Japan

Originally posted byJizo Chronicles Give back to the Dharma Member of Japan Self-Defence Forces carries a man in Natori city, in Miyagi prefecture March 12, 2011. REUTERS/Yomiuri When disasters or crises hit Asian Buddhist countries, I believe that we as Western Buddhists are offered a way to re-pay the gift of dharma that has been shared with us so generously by our dharma brothers and sisters in the East. Now, the people of Japan are in great need in the wake of the devastating earthquake and tsunami of March 11. Some of my Buddhist blogging colleagues have collected lists of ways to help with the relief efforts in Japan: See this post from Adam Tebbe on Sweeping Zen John Pappas, aka Jack Daw, of Point of Contact, has posted a collection of photos that illustrate the extent of the disaster, and re-posted an extensive “How to Help” list from USA Today Rev. Danny Fisher recommends the Google Crisis Response page, which includes a link to donate to the Japanese Red Cross Society The Shambhala Sun Space blog offers this list Tricycle Magazine provides this post If you’re looking for a reputable and respected Buddhist organization to support, I’d highly recommend making a donation to the Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation. Tzu Chi is one of the world’s first socially engaged Buddhist organizations and they have done tremendous relief work at other natural disaster sites, including the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. Tzu Chi has announced that it has set up a command center to prepare for launching relief aid to Japan.  You can learn more and make a donation...

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U.S Prisons, Their funding and shrinking ablitly to reabilitate

The Gateless Gate, Mumons Great Compassion Originally can be found at Gateless Gate The Gateless Gate is a regional retreat center that has answered to the written requests of inmates to learn both meditation and Buddhism. Our programs can be divided into five areas: 1. Zen groups; 2. inter-faith meditation; 3. the death row ministry, which consists of individual visits and counseling; 4. secular, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) groups and retreats; and 5. possible residency at the Gateless Gate Zen Center for individuals who have exhibited a strong commitment to the practice and to educational efforts. In US prisons, where the funding for rehabilitation continues to shrink and recidivism rates continue to rise (statistics currently indicate that 65% of the 100,000-plus inmates released this year will be rearrested), there is a tremendous need for independent organizations, like the Gateless Gate, that help the system with its struggle to reduce recidivism and lower crime rates. We accomplish this by helping incarcerated individuals to cultivate an outlook on life that is filled with deeper meaning and purpose, and less focused on the superficial, materialistic aspects of life. We also help these individuals to develop self-discipline and impulse control, and to uproot the root causes of their suffering and of the harmful actions that result from difficulty dealing with suffering. Perhaps the most critical aspect of the struggle to break the cycle of recidivism is our residency program, which helps people develop social and technical skills. This is especially true for people with addiction issues. Often times, for people with addictions, the first several days after release will determine whether they continue toward a productive, ethical lifestyle, or toward a life of crime. This is determined in large part by where they reside. Are these people in their old neighborhood, with their old peer group or dysfunctional families, or are they in a meditative atmosphere surrounded by people who support their transformation? In many respects we have become the victims of our success. The prison program has expanded beyond the capacity of the Gateless Gate Zen Center to support. Your financial and/or volunteer support is desperately needed to assist us in our efforts. The Gateless Gate Zen Center is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt non-profit corporation. All funds donated...

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JUST ANNOUNCED! Coast-to-Coast Seva Benefit Concerts!

Originally posted by SEVA FOUNDATION Wavy Gravy’s 75th Birthday Events! Proceeds benefit Seva’s international health programs Saturday, May 14th, 2011 Craneway Pavilion, Richmond, CA Featuring: Bob Weir & Mickey Hart Barry Sless, Bobby Vega, Jeff Chimenti, John Molo, Mark Karan, Nicki Bluhm, Pete Sears Robin Sylvester & Steve Kimock The Chris Robinson Brotherhood Zero The Nashvillains Ace of Cups Clown Conspiracy and SURPRISE GUESTS Find out all the details! __________________________________________ Friday, May 27th, 2011 Beacon Theatre, New York… Read More Spread the word. Every invitation...

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Sex and the Spiritual Teacher

Originally posted by Tricycle This is not a book of finger-pointing or whistle-blowing!! Dear Friend, Author Scott Edelstein Tricycle Book Club: Discuss Sex and the Spiritual Teacher We’re discussing Sex and the Spiritual Teacher by Scott Edelstein in the Tricycle Book Club. It’s a levelheaded, honest look at a serious and real issue—and with all that’s going on in the Zen community lately, it couldn’t be more timely. Here’s one of the author’s comments from the discussion taking place at the Book Club: When something becomes the norm in a community, it isn’t easy to speak out against it. You’re not just challenging the specific practice; you’re also challenging all of the people in it, their leaders, the agreements among all these folks, and the organization itself. When we’re new to a community, we tend to keep mum because we’re still learning about it, and we know that we won’t be taken seriously. If we challenge things, we’ll probably just be quickly shown to the door. And once we’ve become part of the community, the norms may no longer seem so strange or bother us so much. Wittingly or unwittingly, we may have even adopted them ourselves. And now we have things to lose–friendships, commitment to a teacher or tradition, the possibility of future benefit–by speaking out. It’s a classic setup. Does this sound familiar to you? Join the discussion...

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A look at what Zen IS

Originaaly posted by Tricycle Zen Shorts What is Zen? Robert Aitken provides three takes. ZEN AND PSYCHOLOGY Many Zen Students and even a few teachers think Zen is a kind of psychology. This is a little like thinking that persimmons are a type of banana. The Zen master is more like a flea than he or she is like a psychologist. More like a cool breeze. More like a mountain peak. I am not exaggerating or being fanciful. THERAPY Some People think of Zen practice as a kind of therapy. That’s not completely mistaken, of course. Yamada Koun Roshi used to say that the practice of Zen is to forget the self in the act of uniting with something—Mu, or breath counting, or the song of a thrush. That is wonderful therapy. Concern about me and mine disappears. COPING WITH ONE’S MISTAKES Shunryu Suzuki Roshi said, “Being a Zen master means coping with one’s mistakes.” Indeed, and it’s a pretty lonely position. If you confess to your errors, some of the good students will go away. If you don’t, you yourself will go away. I don’t wonder at the alcoholism found occasionally in sacred halls. ▼ From Miniatures of a Zen Master, © 2008 by Robert Aitken. Reprinted with permission from...

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"Eco-monastery" to open in the Buddha's birthplace

The Lumbini Udyana Mahachaitya World Center for Peace and Unity. Originally posted by Tricycle An “eco-monastery” will open in April in Lumbini, Nepal—the birthplace of the Buddha. The Lumbini Udyana Mahachaitya World Center for Peace and Unity (LUM), a project headed by Trungram Gyaltrul Rinpoche, will be the largest temple in Lumbini, at 48,600-square-feet, and has incorporated various “green” elements into its design—such as extra insulation, and relying on large area solar panels to generate all of the building’s lighting needs. Though it will be the largest temple in town, it will be the most environmentally friendly of all the buildings in the monastic zone of Lumbini, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Dharmakaya, Rinpoche’s organization, began construction on the project in 2006. “A green monastery is a model of inspiration,” Rinpoche said. “It highlights the importance of our gentleness and connectedness to each other and the earth. It promotes a sense of peace and unity for all.” Rinpoche, the first incarnate lama to receive a PhD (from Harvard, no less), also cites the Buddha’s affinity towards the natural world as a reason to build an eco-monastery in his birthplace. “Nature and greenery were very important to the Buddha,” he said. “He was born under a tree, he became enlightened under a tree, he gave his first teachings in a forest, and he passed away between two trees.” This is where the monastery will be located within the Lumbini Master Plan: Image 1: lumbiniworld.org Image 2: explorehimalaya.com Image 3:...

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Pasang Dorjee, prisoner in a Chinese forced labor camp

Video: Heidiminx on Tibetan ex-political prisoners’ tattoos (Parts 2 and 3) Originally poste by Shambhalasun SunSpace In new installments from her series of videos about Tibetan ex-political prisoners and their tattoos, activist Heidiminx talks to Pasang Dorjee, who had “Free Tibet” tattooed while he was a prisoner in a Chinese forced labor camp. Watch after the jump. A note from Heidiminx about the video: In this video Pasang Dorjee refers to the ‘fake Panchen Lama’. In ‘95 the Chinese government abducted the Tibetan reincarnate Panchen Lama recognized by the Dalai Lama and appointed their own in hopes of controlling Tibetan Buddhism. Dorjee was arrested while protesting a ceremony to honor the fake appointee, in which the Chinese would have paid his monastery. About the next video, Heidiminx says: Many young Tibetans, newly arrived in India from Tibet, bear tattoos. They are a mix of the cultures that this new generation faces: Tibetan, Western, and Chinese. Here, Pasang talks about the tattoo process, and why he risked his life to flee Tibet. See also: Video: Heidiminx on Tibetan ex-political prisoners’ tattoos (Part 1) More SunSpace posts by and about Heidiminx The warmth of the Sun, always on her back / Would you get a Buddhist...

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The Science of Mindfulness

Mindfulness and it`s impact on the medical field Originally posted by Thomas Peteet I am doing a month long elective on mindfulness in medicine. As part of this, I am taking an 8 week course called Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), a program developed at UMASS Medical school and now offerred in wordwide. For 2 ½ hours of Wednesday nights, I sit in a room and do meditation exercises, yoga, body scanning, guided imagery, and participate in discussions about the nature of the mind. When I tell people this, they often expect one of two things: for me to offer sage-like wisdom, or to defend this study as something more than a new fad in health care. I will do both. My sage-like wisdom is that the techniques I have learned over the last few months are exactly this – techniques and tools. I am reminded of a quotation by one of my favorite psychologists, who I refer to as “feelings doctor Bob.” One day a patient angrily came up to h