Thursday, September 30, 2010

Korean Buddhist delegation introduces religion and food in NY

A delegation from the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism paid an official visit to the United States from September 14 to 22 to promote Korean Buddhism overseas.

The Most Venerable Ja Seung, head of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism since last November, led the delegation to introduce Korean Buddhist philosophy and cuisine.

On Sep. 17, the delegation held a meeting with representatives of several different religions, including Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, and Catholicism, and Protestant Christianity at a vegetarian restaurant in Manhattan. At the meeting, they held an in-depth discussion on ways to increase goodwill worldwide and end religious conflicts.

The delegation held a Buddhist ceremony in New York on Sep. 19 for more than 700 Korean Buddhists and believers.

Continue reading from Zen Mirror.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

MWZ Podcast Thus Far

Our little MWZ Podcast has made it to the #3 big featured New & Noteworthy on iTunes! (Right on the top front of the Buddhist podcasts page)

After premiering on the iTunes Music store around #160 in most popular Buddhist podcasts, in only a few short weeks it is already climbing steadily up to #145 #127 #50#17as of today.

There have been 221 episode hits in total and 68 visitors to the podcast homepage. (Hae Doh Sunim's "My Karma Ran Over Your Dogma" receiving the most downloads, 68)

Episode hits have been recorded across the U.S. (Alaska, Oregon, California, Colorado, Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Arkansas, Missouri, South Carolina, North Carolina, Kentucky, Illinois, Michigan, West Virginia, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut,, Massachusetts, New Hampshire. (Penetration in 40% of U.S. States.))

MWZ Podcast is international! Downloads in Canada (Toronto, Montreal), England, France (Paris), and Norway (Oslo).

Zen and Violence Unite in Japan Society’s New Film Series

In Zen & Its Opposite, 5 master filmmakers offer the bloody and all-too-human spectacle of sin, folly and frailty, in unforgettable tales of crime and punishment, vengeful ghosts and delirious soldiers, mad samurai and deranged marauders, fire and brimstone, and spiritual darkness. The selection promises to satisfy the courteous viewer with an appetite for dark eroticism, macabre poetry and the exquisite monstrosity of the human heart, which will haunt long after viewing.

In his book Zen at War, ordained Soto Zen priest Brian Daizen Victoria documented Japanese Buddhist support for violence and warfare, from 1868 until the end of World War II. He tracked down a surprising embracing of war-making to the intimate relation between Zen and samurai warrior culture.

Each film in Zen & Its Opposite illustrates one or several of the Six Planes of Existence-a Buddhist concept commonly referred to in Japan as “Six Paths” (rokudo) within “the realm of Birth and Death” (samsara). Kobayashi’s Kwaidanpersonifies the Realm of Humans, a form of hell where tormented souls hover between good and evil, being and nothingness. Shindo’s Onibaba bites from the Realm of the Animals, a condition of servitude in which one is governed by instinct, and in which one has no sense of morality and lives only for the present. Ichikawa’s Fires on the Plain feeds from the Realm of the Hungry Ghosts, characterized by agonizing craving and eternal starvation. Nakagawa’s Hell burns from the Realm of the Beings in Hell, the lowest and worst of all realms, wracked by torture and violence. And Okamoto’s Sword of Doom roars from the Realm of the Asuras-a realm of anger, jealousy, and constant war.

World Religions: An Introduction to Five Major Traditions

Buddhism: Siddhartha Gautama, the "Enlightened One," was motivated in his spiritual search to discover the causes of and remedy for suffering. His teachings, summarized in the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path, give a guide to living in the world.

Basic Religion Test Stumps Many Americans

BBC: Heart and Soul "Right Livelihood"

Can you have ethics and make a living? Or will the squeeze on jobs mean compromises just to pay the rent? This week’s Heart and Soul, looks at the morality of making money and investigates whether the Buddhist precept of Right Livelihood can make even the dirtiest jobs and the harshest workplaces bearable. Remembering our connectedness to other beings can take the disgust out of some of nursing’s most physical tasks, and every workplace offers an opportunity to practice compassion for our co-workers.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Audio slideshow: Cemetery living

A very powerful slideshow focusing on a community living in a cemetery in Manila.

"Manila's port district is one of the most densely populated areas in the world, filled with packed shanty towns that stretch right up to the waterfront. People are living on every spare bit of land they can find - even in the local cemetery."

Warning: Slideshow contains some graphic images which may be disturbing to some viewers.

How Meditation Techniques Compare -- Zen, Mindfulness, Transcendental Meditation and more

"Meditation shopping? Sounds like an oxymoron, right? Yet millions of Americans are seeking tools to turn within. As a nation we've tried to fix our problems with everything from psychotherapy and Prozac to positive thinking and politics. Now people everywhere are ready to close their eyes and take a dive -- not to escape, but to more fully be.

Having lectured on meditation for 25 years, I find that audiences no longer need to be convinced of meditation's practical benefits. But people do often ask, "Aren't all meditation techniques basically the same?"

Experts in the venerated traditions of meditation have always marveled at the mind's subtlety, appreciating its keen responsiveness and sensitivity to different mental procedures. Great master teachers of meditation have recognized that the various techniques engage the mind in different ways and naturally produce different results. With advancements in neurophysiology, scientists are now identifying distinctions among varieties of meditation practices."

Read the full article from The Huffington Post

Buddhist Seminary Presence in Second Life

From Open Buddha: (Click to read full story)

"...To accommodate such a physically separated group, we have set up retreats where we gather but also have embraced the use of Internet technologies, such as Skype, Second Life, and e-mail lists for information sharing, training, and student/teacher interaction."

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Secrets of the Mind

A PBS Nova documentary recommended by a sangha member involving a fasanating look into the skandhas (five types of phenomena that serve as objects of clinging and bases for a sense of self)

"In Secrets of the Mind we gain insights through various tragedies that have affected others, thanks to the logic and insights of Professor Ramachandran regarding what he calls the most complex organized matter in the universe."

Monday, September 20, 2010

MWZ Podcast featured on iTunes New & Noteworthy!

Don't forget to subscribe to the new MWZ Dharma Talk Podcast feed. Available through iTunes and Podbean, you can get Dharma Talks downloaded to your computer or MP3 player automatically each week!

Dharma Talk - Reflections on a Southern Vacation

Given by Rev. Hye Kyong Bup Sanim on Sunday, September 19, 2010.

Don't forget to subscribe through iTunes!

DVD Spotlight - Windhorse

The story of WINDHORSE begins eighteen years ago in the mountains of western Tibet. There, on a crisp autumn morning, a tiny village awakes. And three small children play at jump-rope -- a brother and sister, Dorjee and Dolkar, and their cousin, Pema. But the idyllic scene is shattered by a sudden gunshot that takes the life of the children's grandfather. Abruptly, the scene shifts to present day Lhasa, the capitol city of Tibet where we get a triple portrait of the threesome as young adults. The sister, Dolkar, is a taltented singer who has attracted a boyfriend -- a successful young Chinese man named Duan-ping. With his help, Dolkar gets the attention of a high-ranking Chinese government official who can make her a recording star. It would mean money and security for her and her family. But her brother is totally disgusted. Dorjee spends his days with friends in a snooker hall and his nights getting drunk. We also see fleeting aspects of a Tibetan underground political movement in the person of Dorjee's old friend, Lobsang.

How Can We Bring About a Compassionate Society?

Notes from Matthieu Ricard and Joan Halifax

The Beginner’s Guide to Zen Habits – A Guided Tour

‘Smile, breathe and go slowly.’ ~Thich Nhat Hanh

While some of you have been following Zen Habits since its early days (beginning of 2007), many of you are fairly new readers.

To help you through the fairly overwhelming archives, I’ve compiled a beginner’s guide. Kind of a Quick Start guide.

Rationalizing Violence in Buddhism

Another Russ Wellen article from Foreign Policy in Focus, addressing some discussions raised in the recently published book, Buddhist Warfare

Other related links:

The Worst of Both Worlds

The "Shimano Problem" Underscores Clash of Cultures When Buddhism Spread to West

Editoral by Russ Wellen from Foreign Policy in Focus

Future of Buddhism

Patheos has a great collection of articles on the future of Buddhism and Buddhism in the West. Lots of great reading in there. Check it out!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Ven. Sangye Khadro: Understanding the Heart Sutra

Kathleen McDonald was born in California in 1952, and took her first courses in Buddhism in Dharamsala, India in 1973. She was ordained as a Buddhist nun in Kopan Monastery, Nepal, in 1974. She has studied Buddhism with various teachers such as Lama Zopa Rinpoche, Lama Thubten Yeshe, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Geshe Ngawang Dhargyey and Geshe Jampa Tegchog, and in various countries such as India, Nepal, England, France, and Australia. At the request of her teachers Ven Sangye Khadro began teaching in 1979, while living in England, and since then has taught in many countries around the world, most recently at Amitabha Buddhist Centre in Singapore, for 11 years. In 1988 Sangye Khadro took the full ordination or Gelongma vows. Her book, How to Meditate, is a best selling book of Wisdom Publications now in its 14th printing.

The Heart Sutra is a member of the Perfection of Wisdom (Prajñāpāramitā) class of Mahāyāna Buddhist literature, and along with the Diamond Sutra, is considered to be the primary representative of the genre. It consists of just 14 shlokas or verses in Sanskrit and 260 Chinese characters in the most prevalent Chinese version, Taisho Tripitaka Vol. T08 No. 251, translated by Xuan Zang. This makes it the most highly abbreviated version of the Perfection of Wisdom texts, texts which exist in various lengths up to and including 100,000 slokas. This sutra is classified by Edward Conze as belonging to the third of four periods in the development of the Perfection of Wisdom canon, although because it contains a mantra (sometimes erroneously called a dharani), it does overlap with the final tantric phase of development according to this scheme.
The study of the Heart Sutra is particularly emphasized in the practice of East Asian Buddhism. Its Chinese version is frequently chanted (in the local pronunciation) by the Chan, Zen, Seon and Thiền sects during ceremonies in China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam respectively. It is also significant to the Shingon Buddhist school in Japan, whose founder Kukai wrote a commentary on it, and to the various Tibetan Buddhist schools, where it is studied extensively.
A striking feature of the sutra is the fact that the teaching is not actually delivered by the Buddha, which places it in a relatively small class of sutras not directly spoken by the Buddha.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

DVD Spotlight - Wheel of Time

'Wheel of Time' is acclaimed filmmaker Werner Herzog's ('Grizzly Man', 'Aguirre: The Wrath of God', 'Fitzcarraldo') gorgeously photographed look at the largest Buddhist ritual in Bodh Gaya, India. It is said that Buddha found enlightenment under a tree in Bodh Gaya and today, Buddhist monks are ordained in this holy place. Herzog magically captures the lengthy pilgrimage (which for some, is over 3,000 miles), the monk's creation of the beautiful and intricate sand mandala (the wheel of time) along with many secret rituals that have never been seen before on film. He delivers a personal and introspective look at what Buddhism really means to its most ardent followers, as well as giving outsiders an intimate look into a fascinating way of life.


The Muddy Water Zen Podcast is available again in the iTunes Music Store! The feed has been fixed and updated with last week's Dharma Talk. Here is the link again for those who wish to subscribe and receive all Dharma Talks automatically delivered to their iTunes.

If you don't use iTunes or would like to subscribe to the feed using a different music player or RSS feed you can find the Podcast homepage here.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

BUDDHA: A STORY OF ENLIGHTENMENT - Free digital download

By Deepak Chopra

Published by HarperOne, a division of HarperCollins Publishers.

Deepak Chopra, the preeminent voice of Eastern philosophy in the West, now offers his remarkable insights on the inspiring life of one of the world's most important figures-the Buddha. This re-imagining of the Buddha's life presents a new form of teaching from the beloved Chopra, who shows how the iconic journey of the prince who became the Buddha has changed the world forever, and how the lessons he taught continue to influence every corner of the world.

Special Limited Time Free E-Book
For a limited time -- through September 21 -- order your free copy of the special e-book, Buddha: With Bonus Material, wherever e-books are sold (including, and Apple's iBookstore). Visit these sites to order your free e-book today (E-Book ISBN number: 9780062062635):

Monday, September 13, 2010

iTunes Podcast Link

I know I just announced and posted a link to our Dharma Talk podcast in the iTunes music store but apparently there is some problem with the feed am I waiting to hear back from the host service about. iTunes is temporarily not reading the new episodes.

This is the podcast homepage where all podcasts can be listened to or downloaded from. I'll let everyone know when the iTunes feed is working again. Sorry for any inconvenience.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Dharma Talk - My Karma Ran Over Your Dogma

All Dharma talks will now be published in audio format. Our Dharma Talks are also available in the iTunes Music Store where you can subscribe to receive new talks automatically.

Stephen Hawking on Larry King Live

This is Part 1 of 3. Parts 2 and 3 can also be viewed on Youtube. This interview Larry King asks Hawking questions on his new book, "The Grand Design."

Part 2 -

Part 3 -

Friday, September 10, 2010

Voice of Flying Ink

An awesome art gallery featuring lots of great zen art. Lots of stuff available for purchase. Check it out.

Deconstructing Death (Book Review)

In Final Exam, Pauline Chen — a transplant surgeon who graduated from Harvard and Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, and then completed her surgical training at Yale University, the National Cancer Institute, and UCLA — takes us on a journey many of us would unlikely experience on our own. We confront death, our fear of it, and the busyness with which we fill our daily routines such that we temporarily forget own mortality. Alongside Chen, we grapple with what it means when a loved one is terminally ill, how to assist them in their dying, and how to die best.

Read the rest of the review on SEED.

The Heart Sutra & 37 Practices of a Bodhisattva

The other videos from Days 2 and 3 and MP3 links can be found on the Dalai Lama's website here.

Chinul and the Hwadu Meditation

This was originally written as a short paper for a seminary class on Chinul and Korean Sôn at the Five Mountain Seminary. I thought people might appreciate some of the content though it is a bit long for a blog post. Hwadu is part of my own practice within my overall work with kong-ans, which I tend to avoid discussing here (as with most aspects of my personal practice).

Stephen Hawking Asks, What Is Reality? (Book Excerpt)

There is no picture- or theory-independent concept of reality. Instead we adopt a view that we call model-dependent realism: the idea that a physical theory or world picture is a model (generally of a mathematical nature) and a set of rules that connect the elements of the model to observations. This provides a framework with which to interpret modern science.

Though realism may be a tempting viewpoint, what we know about modern physics makes it a difficult one to defend. For example, according to the principles of quantum physics, which is an accurate description of nature, a particle has neither a definite position nor a definite velocity unless and until those quantities are measured by an observer. In fact, in some cases individual objects don't even have an independent existence but rather exist only as part of an ensemble of many.

Read more:,8599,2017262,00.html?xid=rss-topstories&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+time%2Ftopstories+%28TIME%3A+Top+Stories%29#ixzz0zBSbDSqh

Seung Sahn: No Problem!

Today's video, a ten-minute excerpt from the flim Wake Up!, wonderfully captures the directness and good humor of Zen Master Seung Sahn's teaching.

You'll see portions of a dharma talk given in Oslo and also observe part of an interview with three students.

This film was shot during one of Dae Soen Sa Nim's last visits to Europe and, when I watch it today, I'm struck by the enthusiasm and excitement he brought to his teaching. It wasn't simply charisma - it was his genuine concern for his students' awakening.

Link borrowed from Ox Herding.

What is the meaning of Buddhism?

A good post over at one of my favorite Buddhist blogs, The Reformed Buddhist.

Art for Tibet Online Auction

Featuring over 100+ Artists, online bidding is open from now until September 25th. Proceeds go to Students for a Free Tibet. Lots of cool artwork, check it out if you're interested! I already bid on something myself....

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Gasa: letting go of our possessions

Gasa’’ is a translateration of a Sanskrit term meaning monk's robe; the monk's or nun's robe is made from scraps of material. The Sanskrit term denotes decayed, impure (in color), dyed, not of primary color, so as to distinguish it from the normal white dress of the people. A gasa is an official robe, which monks wear like a mantle on top of the ``jangsam,’’ the outer garment. It is, in fact, patchwork clothing, and dyed with miscellaneous colors, other than the five primary colors _ blue, yellow, red, white and black. It is supposed to be made out of several pieces of material.

Continue reading story from The Korea Times.

What do Goryeo buddhist paintings tell us about Goryeo people?

A quick survey of the 133 extant paintings of the Goryeo Kingdom (936-1332) discloses a seemingly pre-occupation of the afterlife and how to arrive there in proper Buddhist fashion. Of these 133 paintings, 110 depict the Western Paradise (Buddhist heaven) as a landscape; ``Amitabul’’ (Amida, Lord of the Western Paradise) arriving with the bodhisattvas ``Guanseum’’ (Avalokitesvara) and ``Taeseji’’ (Mahasthamaprapta) to accompany the believer to this paradise; Guanseum alone, usually in the transformation of this bodhisattva as regent of the island Potala; and Jijang (Ksitigarbha), the bodhisattva who succors those in hell. Were the people of the Goryeo Kingdom, then, obsessed with their post-mortem fates?

Continue reading story from The Korea Times.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Buddhist Artist Andy Weber

Modern master of the traditional art of Tibetan Buddhism, Andy Weber presents the deeper meanings in Buddhist iconography, its relation to Buddhist philosophy and influence on architecture (skip ahead to the 5 minute mark to pass the host announcements.)

Find more Buddhist videos on UStream TV.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Zen and the art of protecting the planet

In a rare interview, zen buddhist master Thich Nhat Hahn warns of the threat to civilisation from climate change and the spiritual revival that is needed to avert catastrophe

Read the article here.

Diamond Sutra teaching

The Dalai Lama gave a talk to a group of Korean Buddhists a couple of weeks ago - the audio for both days is available here:

Sunday, September 5, 2010

DVD Spotlight - The Burmese Harp

An Imperial Japanese Army regiment surrenders to British forces in Burma at the close World War II and finds harmony through song. A private, thought to be dead, disguises himself as a Buddhist monk and stumbles upon spiritual enlightenment. Magnificently shot in hushed black and white, Kon Ichikawa's The Burmese Harp is an eloquent meditation on beauty coexisting with death and remains one of Japanese cinema's most overwhelming antiwar statements, both tender and brutal in its grappling with Japan's wartime legacy.

Little Monk and Modernity

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Another large directory of Buddhist Links

The Reformed Buddhist has a impressive (and massive) directory of categorized Buddhist links. A very good resource that is definitely worthy of a bookmark!

Another form of generosity - Let It Be

I gave a Dharma talk last month about generosity and I recently came across this blog post that struck me as pretty interesting. It's Dogen's take on generosity and viewing it from yet another angle.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

TED Talks: His Holiness the Karmapa on “The Technology of the Heart”

God did not create the universe, says Hawking

God did not create the universe and the “Big Bang” was an inevitable consequence of the laws of physics, the eminent British theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking argues in a new book.

Continue reading story on The Buddhist Channel.

Korean bhikkhunis, creating a culture of their own

Walk into any Buddhist temple in Korea, and you will readily find female monks, or ``bhikkhunis,’’ walking or praying in the temple grounds, just like any other male monk. Sometimes it’s even harder to notice at a glance if they are female or male; which indicates that in Korea, there are almost no hints of discrimination in terms of the Buddhist faith.

Continue reading story on The Buddhist Channel.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Modernization of Buddhism

Article recently shared by Ven. Myo Hyon Sunim (IBS Austria) on the Modernization of Buddhism: What It Means and Should Be. Read online here at Sribd.