Saturday, October 30, 2010

Taego Order Featured on Sweeping Zen

The Taego order is one of the largest Zen orders in the world, and is the second largest order in Korea. They have over 3,100 Zen Temples. For example, Seonamsa is a beautiful temple complex tucked away in the scenic mountains of Korea. It was originally built about 1300 years ago. Depending on its location and purpose, a temple may be home to one monk, or hundreds.

Continue reading on Sweeping Zen

Friday, October 29, 2010

Taego Monk Training and Ordination Ceremony (행자교육)

한국불교태고종행자교육, 35기득도식, 선암사
This is video from a Korean TV station showing the novice monk training and ordination ceremony that took place earlier this week. Our own Bup Chon Sunim has an English interview near the end of the video starting at the 8:59 mark.

Note: If video doesn't play click on the box to watch on host site.

DVD Spotlight - Jigoku

This is the last entry in the October Halloween Themed Buddhist Horror Movie Collection. Jigoku.

"Jigoku's version of Hell is roughly based on the lowest state of existence in Buddhism, the mythology of which is fascinating. Those who have sinned in life will, in death, go to Hell to atone. Depending on the kind of crime they committed, they'll be sent to one of several different kinds of Hell (the exact number of which numbers somewhere between 8 and 144), all of which are presided over by King Enma, a bearded giant with red skin. One Hell, for “sexual misconduct,” crushes the sinner between two iron mountains. Another slices thieves into neat pieces. However, unlike in other cultures, the Buddhist Hell is not eternal and once atonement is complete, the redeemed sinner can move on to higher states of existence."

What The Constitution Says About Church And State

Many believe the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution clearly declares the separation of church and state. But Senate hopeful Christine O'Donnell alluded recently to the fact that the phrase never appears there. Syndicated columnist Clarence Page says O'Donnell was right -- but that the First Amendment clearly aims to separate church from government.

Listen to the story on NPR's Talk of the Nation

Gallup: Very religious Americans have higher levels of well-being

Christopher Hitchens' atheist manifesto was subtitled "how religion poisons everything," but a new polling analysis challenges that notion, finding that very religious Americans have higher levels of well-being than the rest of the country.

The most religious Americans show the highest levels of well-being as measured by factors ranging from physical and emotional health to self-evaluations of life to perceptions of work environment, according to a Gallup report released Thursday.

Americans for whom religion is an important part of everyday life and who attend religious services roughly once a week or more score an average 68.7 on Gallup's well-being index.

Americans who are moderately religious or who are nonreligious, meanwhile, average 64.2 on the index.

Continue reading here.

Survey on Perceptions of Monasticism within Buddhism

Via Jennifer Harris,

“Hi! Working toward my PhD in community psychology, I’m conducting a survey (one version in English, the other Tibetan) of the perceptions of monasticism within Buddhism. With its spread to the West, Buddhist practitioners in the United States tend mostly to be lay and there are very few monasteries. This study therefore examines the role and relevancy of the monastic tradition within the Western Buddhist cultural community. I will also be posting an exact replica of the survey in the Tibetan language so that I can cross-examine two distinct cultural communities’ perceptions about monasticism.”

The first version of the survey, which is for Westerners, is available here. Help Jennifer out!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

TTC Video "Buddhism" on Sale!

The Teaching Company (produces recordings of lectures by nationally top-ranked university professors) has their lecture series on Buddhism on sale currently (up to $185 off). Available in DVD, Audio CD, and Audio Download format, this series features 24 lectures given by Professor Malcolm David Eckel (PhD Ph.D., Harvard University,Boston University).

For more information on course content and reviews visit The Teaching Company website here.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Can meditation change your brain? Contemplative neuroscientists believe it can

Can people strengthen the brain circuits associated with happiness and positive behavior, just as we’re able to strengthen muscles with exercise?

Richard Davidson, who for decades has practiced Buddhist-style meditation – a form of mental exercise, he says – insists that we can.

Read the full story on CNN Belief Blog

Taego Ordination (Congratulations Bup Chon Sunim)

Ven. Bishop Jongmae has confirmed through the president of the Taego order that the Samanera and Sameneri ordination of 104 new monks (both male and female) has been completed in Korea this morning. Congratulations to Brent Eastman on being ordained as Bup Chon Sunim! This Sunday, Muddy Water Zen will hold a special service to introduce Bup Chon Sunim as the newest clergy member of Muddy Water Zen and gather in a celebratory vegetarian potluck after the morning service. Please join us if you can.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Does a dog have Buddha-nature?

This dog certainly does. Best part of the video is at the very end.

A Buddhist Vision of Life Beyond Consumerism

Are there alternatives to consumerism? Other than a dreary alternative such as loss of a job, a prolonged economic downturn or the stealth tax of inflation?

What is it, this consumerism? It's the assiduous promotion of cravings which our economic system, at least until recently, has somewhat satisfied: "Your neighbor has it. You will be happy when you get it. You can have it now on easy credit." The amping up of desire for stuff is so normal here that it's hard to imagine another approach to life.

Read the full story on The Huffington Post

Religion in Contemporary Korea

Audio Lecture from The Korea Society:

On August 10, 2010, Dr. John Goulde, professor of religion and director of the Asian Studies Program at Sweet Briar College, spoke at The Korea Society to middle- and high-school teachers as part of the New York City Department of Education’s After School Professional Development Program. Dr. Goulde specializes in the sociology, religion, and culture of North and South Korea. He received a bachelor’s degree from Seoul National University and completed his graduate work at Harvard University. In this second of two lectures, Dr. Goulde addresses religion in contemporary Korea.

Listen Here

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Friday, October 22, 2010

DVD Spotlight - Onibaba

After being forcefully inducted as a soldier into war in 14th century Japan, his wife and mother remain living in a swamp. They eke out their living by ambushing worn-out warriors, killing them and selling their belongings to a greedy merchant. The woman comes to mistrust her daughter-in-law who has coupled up with a deserter, and begins to wear a facial mask she has taken from a slain samurai. Soon the mask will not come off again. In this disguise she is at first taken for a demon by her daughter.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A "Shelter" for Dharma Awakening in Korea

Rapid socio-economic growth of South Korea has brought an unwelcome side effect that threatens to undermine its own cultural heritage as well as moral standards.

Worse yet, fierce - if not fanatical Christian evangelical onslaughts - have jeopardized the history and value systems of Korea, whose culture and way of life have harmoniously interlaced with Buddhism since its introduction in the year of 372 AD.

Under the seizure of bellicose evangelism, Buddhism in Korea has been painted as a misguided, superstitious cult, while Buddhists are openly abused as 'demons worshippers'. In some cases, physical and criminal assault were reported, such as temple-burning, insults openly hurled at Buddha images or statutes etc.

Continue reading story from Zen Mirror

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

영산제 (Young-San-Je)

Video Ven. Bishop Jongmae posted earlier today on Facebook of Young-San-Je...Young-San-Je (영산제) usually takes 8 to 10 hours to complete the ritual. Yet in the old days, Young-San-Je took 2 full days to complete.

Taego order overseas parish officially invites Young-San-Je performers from Taego order Korea.
Bishop Dr. Jongmae Park and Venerable Bo Kwang will be the host of its performing which will take place
in Los Angles in the summer of next year (2011). Young-San-Je is world treasure that protect by UNESCO
(United Nations) and it is over thousand years of traditional ritual which is held by Korean Buddhist Taego order.
Venerable Il-Woon (who is a national living treasure of Young-Sa-Je ritual) will leads all performers from
Korea and mostly stay in greater Los Angeles area during the event.

Taego novice monk trainees at Sonamsa in Korea

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

MWZ/IBS Fall Retreat

A (very) short slideshow of the Muddy Water Zen/IBS Fall Retreat in Saugatuck, MI this past weekend.

Guide to Buddhist fiction

"In my search for “Buddhist fiction,” I asked a wide sampling of American Buddhists—friends, teachers, UU ministers, writers, bloggers, even publishers—what they’d recommend, what they’d been reading. Each, somewhat apologetically, came up with only a few titles.
Nowhere did I find a bibliography, or a bookshelf labeled “Buddhist fiction” at a library or bookstore. That may well be because fiction with Buddhist authors, characters, and themes crosses so many already established genres. Clearly, such a list was needed. Here is my start."

Read the list

Sunday, October 17, 2010

America's True History of Religious Tolerance

The idea that the United States has always been a bastion of religious freedom is reassuring—and utterly at odds with the historical record
By Kenneth C. Davis
Smithsonian magazine, October 2010

Read more:

DVD Spotlight - Nine Wat (Secret Sunday)

According to his mother's request, Nat, a young architect, unwillingly takes a journey to visit 9 different temples in order to clean up his bad karma. He is accompanied by Poon, his beautiful columnist girlfriend, and Sujitto, a young novice monk. All three characters have different purposes for taking this trip. But later they discover that they were put together for an unforeseeable reason. The karma of one person can effect the karma of others as well. Horrifying acts done in their previous lives reveal themselves as the journey goes by. The more they try to clean up Nat’s bad karma by making merit, the closer they get to them. This journey is going to change their faith forever. How is Nat going to clean up his own mess? Would Nat be forgiven? How can an act of making merit overcome relentless vengeance?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Opinion=Opression: Risking Death to Make a Movie

On a regular basis, I do something that most people in the free world do -- I ask my friends their opinion on something: politics, religion, sports, a concert...and I take for granted the fact that this is OK.

I don't expect my government to come charging down on me because I ask my friends about the Olympics.

On other days, I may interview people, and post these on YouTube: I've done this countless times as I talk with young people about social change and activism.

As I flip through Facebook, there are tons of companies that want to solicit my opinion, on virtually EVERYTHING, in the name of marketing data.

But what if asking people their opinion was considered "subversion of state power" -- and you were denied an attorney, and sentenced to six years in a labor camp?

Sorry, I guess Blogger didn't want to resize or format the video correctly. Click the video to view full frame on Youtube.,b=facebook

Korean Culture Celebration and Exhibit

You are invited to a look at diversity through Korean culture and customs presented by MiDong and traditional Korean music by YoonHee Choi and Group. The celebration and exhibit will take place in the Educational Resources Lab (350 Pawley Hall) 11:30am - 1pm on October 26th. A light Korean lunch will be provided.

Oakland University
350 Pawley Hall (Educational Resources Lab)
11:30 AM - 1 PM, Tuesday, October 26

For more information contact:

Adelaide Phelps

This is a free event.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Not in God’s Name: In Search of Tolerance with the Dalai Lama

Trapped in religious riots in Delhi, filmmaker Paula Fouce follows the Dalai Lama on a journey to understand religious intolerance. NOT IN GOD'S NAME shows how the world is ravaged by extreme divisions between religions. We examine the similar values of all faiths, and their potential for drawing us together to share a common ground. Featuring Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, Robert Thurman Ph. D., Joseph Prabhu Ph. D., Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, Dr. Karan Singh, Ph. D., Georg Feuerstein, Ph. D., Michael Bernard Beckwith, and leaders of many faiths.

The Buddha Imagines The Unimaginable

Today’s edition of Krulwich Wonders, an NPR science blog run by Robert Krulwich, reveals how the Buddha guessed the size of an atom–and got it right. Krulwich and his friend Ezra Block discuss George Ifrah’s book The Universal History of Numbers which recounts a story from the Lalitavistara Sutra (completed around the third century) in which the Buddha estimates the size of an atom during a competition for the hand of Gopa, a woman that the Buddha (then Prince Siddhartha) hoped to marry.

Read the story on NPR

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Enlightened Panda Imparts Wisdom In 'Zen Ghosts'

Several years ago, children's author and illustrator Jon J. Muth drew a picture of a big panda in a very large pair of pants. It made him laugh, but he didn't think much of it, and he put the sketch away in a drawer.

It was while he was on a book tour that Muth dreamed up a crazy idea: what if, as a child, you grew up a few doors down from a kindhearted spiritual teacher? And what if that teacher was a panda wearing a very large pair of pants?

Continue reading at NPR and listen to the interview.

Dharma Talk - Shaped by the Mind

Given by Rev. Hye Kyong. Sunday October 10, 2010.

Subscribe in iTunes!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Books on Buddhist Art Reviewed

2 new book reviews ver at the excellent Buddhist Art News blog worth checking out.

The Art of Buddhism: an Introduction to its History and Meaning by Denise Patry Leidy Shambhala, 2008

Only three volumes exist in print in English which cover Buddhist art as a whole, both historically and iconographically. I presume that this scarcity is due to the breadth of the subject, to the still shifting opinions on broad trends, and to the inclusion of Buddhist art within wider surveys on Asian art. Until recently, the UK press Thames & Hudson’s Buddhist Art (by Robert E. Fisher) was the sole volume to which individuals could turn. In 2009, River Books released Buddhist Art by Giles Beguin. One year prior to this appeared The Art of Buddhism: an Introduction to its History and Meaning, by Denise Patry Leidy, which is specifically for “general readers and undergraduate students” (p. 5).

Faith and Power in Japanese Buddhist Art: 1600-2005 by Patricia J. Graham University of Hawaii Press, 2007

Visual art is deeply tied to Buddhist practice, and certain sites and structures possess special significance to this practice. In Faith and Power in Japanese Buddhist Art: 1600-2005 Patricia J. Graham tracks “the thread of change over time to the practice of Buddhism” through a thorough examination of works of Japanese Buddhist art and architecture from the 17th into the 21st century. This superb survey includes non-traditional works — that is, those not connected with institutional Buddhism in Japan — including those intended for museums. It also aims to overturn the fallacy of the ‘declining’ Buddhist arts of Japan in recent centuries.

DVD Spotlight - Hoichi the Earless

DVD Spotlight will now be posted on Fridays, allowing people time to check out films over the weekend. For the month of October, the focus will be on Buddhist Horror films and those dealing with the lower realms of existence.

"Hoichi is a blind musician, living in a monastery who sings so well that a ghostly imperial court commands him to perform the epic ballad of their death battle for them. But the ghosts are draining away his life, and the monks set out to protect him by writing a holy mantra over his body to make him invisible to the ghosts. But they've forgotten something."

Chinese Dissident Liu Xiaobo Wins Nobel Peace Prize

Imprisoned Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo won the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for “his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China” – a prize likely to enrage the Chinese government, which warned the Nobel committee not to honor him.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee chairman Thorbjoern Jagland said Liu Xiaobo was a symbol for the fight for human rights in China.

It was the first Nobel for the Chinese dissident community since it resurfaced after the country’s communist leadership launched economic, but not political reforms three decades ago. The win could jolt a current debate among the leadership and the elite over whether China should begin democratic reforms and if so how quickly.

Unlike some in China’s highly fractured and persecuted dissident community, the 54-year-old Liu has been an ardent advocate for peaceful, gradual political change, rather than a violent confrontation with the government.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Hungry Ghosts

Five New Yorkers — of different ages, races, backgrounds — hunger for sensual, emotional and spiritual fulfillment. Their intersecting and colliding paths reflect the zeitgeist of our times, in which the desperation of the West smacks up against the religious teachings of the East.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Teachings of Ajahn Chah

Ajahn has a huge collection of Ajahn Chah's teachings, most of which are available in a PDF downloadable format for free. Another great resource so check it out!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Buddhists at War

Another review of the book receiving a lot of attention in the media and STILL on my reading list, Buddhist Warfare.

"The dark side of what is often thought to be the most peaceful of religions"

"Have you heard about Vakkali, the Buddhist sage who attained Nirvana while slicing his own throat? Of all the major faith traditions, Buddhism is often seen as the most peaceful, but Buddhist Warfare exposes its darker side. The eight essays in the collection describe twisted teachings on phenomena such as “Soldier-Zen”, and atrocities carried out by groups such as the Buddhist cult army of Faqing. In 515 AD, Faqing declared the arrival of the new Buddha and led more than 50,000 men to war. “When a soldier killed a man he earned the title of first-stage Bodhisattva (Buddha-to-be). The more he killed the more he went up the echelon towards sainthood . . . the insurgents were given an alcoholic drug that made them crazy to the extent that fathers and sons no longer recognized each other and didn’t think twice before killing each other; the only thing that mattered was killing.” Buddhist Warfare forms an accurate history of violence in the name of religion. Its most shocking material is the studies of various sutras that justify killing with detailed reference to the Buddha’s central philosophical tenants. The book therefore presents a uniquely Buddhist “heart of darkness”.

Street Dogs: American Musicians Stand Up For Tibet's Imprisoned Artists

All About Nirvana

A good article on Nirvana from Wisdom Quarterly.

"The Buddha says that he teaches only dukkha and the cessation ofdukkha. Dukkha, or "suffering," is an ancient term that includes all unpleasant experience from slight agitation to intense agony. In other words, the Buddha only explains suffering and the end of suffering.

The First Noble Truth deals with the problem of suffering (dukkha). However, the truth of suffering is the first word, not the final word of the Buddha's teaching. The Buddha starts there because his teaching is designed for a particular end: It is designed to lead to liberation from all further suffering."