Sunday, November 28, 2010

Congratulations new Bhikkhus!

Ven. Hae Doh (along with Ven. Hae Moon, Ven. Hae Kwang) received their full Bhikkhu ordination in Korea this past week and are on their way back home now. Congratulations to them as well as the other 100+ monks that have committed to the next level!

Friday, November 26, 2010

DVD Spotlight - Un Buda

Un Buda is the story of two brothers who have responded to a childhood tragedy in two completely different ways: one growing into a solitary loner who seeks truth through aesthetic practices, the other a college professor who only finds truth in fact. Now as adults, they have to face each other again in order to find peace. An extremely personal journey into the lifetime practice of Zen Buddhism, this film educates on the Zen philosophy while bringing a human face to faith, love and healing. The film elaborates on the dilemma between the earthly and the divine, the point of convergence between East and West.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

In The Shadow of Buddha Trailer

In the Shadow of Buddha trailer from Heather Kessinger on Vimeo.

In the Shadow of Buddha takes us to the seldom seen world of Tibetan Buddhist Nuns in northernmost India. This is a film about beauty, poverty, hope, and faith. About old women and young girls and the worlds they share. A film told through universal stories, set to a shockingly exotic culture and landscape. A film that rings with the truth of the kitchen and the classroom, and the hardships and triumphs of everyday lives.

Through their own voice, without narration, we explore the paradox that being a woman within Tibetan Buddhism represents. For these women the notion that a woman can be educated and that being born a female is not a punishment of past deeds is currently challenging thousands of years of history.

This is not a Buddhist film. This is not the expected film. This is a
film that confronts our platitudes, our narration, and our tender
stereotypes. This is a film about us.


China Sentences Two Buddhist Monks in Eastern Tibet

The local Chinese Intermediate People's Court on 25 October 2010 sentenced two Buddhist monks from Chamdho region, eastern Tibet to nine and half years' imprisonment for their activities and involvements in the March 2008 peaceful uprising to against China's rule over Tibet, according to a latest information received by The Tibet Post International.
A report sent by Ven. Monlam Tharchin on Monday said that Karma Palsang, 26 and Mipham Gelek, 22 from Zigar Monastery, Dege Jodha county, eastern Tibet were arrested in 2008, were sentenced to nine and half years respectively. Until their appearance in the court, their whereabouts have remained unknown since their arrest.

After the crackdowns that took place in all parts of Tibet, Tibetans from many areas in Dege Jodha district, eastern Tibet have continued to refuse to farm, to show solidarity for Tibetans from all over of Tibet. They resist Chinese pressure to plant, sow and toil in order to remember those who have lost their lives under the Chinese, those who have been brutally beaten and arrested, and those who are missing.

Read more at Buddhist Channel

Psychological Changes from Meditation Training Linked to Cellular Health

Positive psychological changes that occur during meditation training are associated with greater telomerase activity, according to researchers at the University of California, Davis, and the University of California, San Francisco. The study is the first to link positive well-being to higher telomerase, an enzyme important for the long-term health of cells in the body.
The effect appears to be attributable to psychological changes that increase a person's ability to cope with stress and maintain feelings of well-being.

"We have found that meditation promotes positive psychological changes, and that meditators showing the greatest improvement on various psychological measures had the highest levels of telomerase," said Clifford Saron, associate research scientist at the UC Davis Center for Mind and Brain.

Read more at Buddhist Channel

Dalai Lama hints at full retirement within a year

Tibetan Spiritual leader the Dalai Lama The Dalai Lama speaking in New Delhi last weekend. He has hinted strongly at full retirement after first discussing the issue with Tibetan parliament in exile.

The Dalai Lama has given the clearest sign yet that he is preparing for a full retirement from political life, possibly within a year.

Speaking during an Indian television interview, the exiled Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader said that he was contemplating raising the issue with the elected political leadership of the Tibetan community in exile within six months and that a final decision could be made "a few months" later.

"In order to utilise fully democracy I felt [it is] better I am not involved [and that] I am devoted to other fields, promotion of human values and peace and harmony," the 75-year-old said. "[But] firstly I have to discuss, to inform members of Tibetan parliament."

The most likely date for discussions to start would be after the elections for the Tibetan parliament in exile to be held in March next year.

Traditionally the office of the Dalai Lama combines spiritual and temporal roles. The current 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, has progressively distanced himself from a direct political role and expressed a desire to live as a simple monk. He remains however official head of the central Tibetan administration in exile.

Read more from the source, Buddhist Channel

New Meditation Research: Putting the 'Om' in 'Chromosome'

The Shambhala Mountain Center sits nestled among the remote lakes and pastures of Colorado's Rocky Mountains, where for four decades it has offered instruction and retreat to serious students of meditation and yoga. Starting in February 2007, it became a scientific laboratory as well. The center began hosting the Shamatha Project, one of the most rigorous scientific examinations of meditation's effects ever undertaken. The Project is now beginning to yield its insights, and from early reports it appears that this ancient practice delivers benefits that go all the way down to the chromosomal level.

Many claims have been made over many years about the effects of meditation on health and well-being, but rarely have these claims been put to the test. Under the direction of Clifford Saron, a neuroscientist at the University of California at Davis, the Shamatha Project enrolled 60 experienced meditators in a three-month study. Half were randomly selected to receive intensive training and practice in meditation over the spring months of 2007, including two group training sessions and five or more hours of individual practice every day. Those who were wait-listed for the actual retreat served as controls -- an essential part of the rigorous experimental design that distinguishes the Project from previous meditation studies.

At three points in the three-month study -- before, halfway through, and at the end -- Saron and his many colleagues took a battery of behavioral and physiological measurements of both the meditators and the controls, who ranged from 21 to 70 years old. They have been crunching the data and analyzing the results, which are now emerging in peer-reviewed journals.

Read the full article from the Huffington Post

Monday, November 22, 2010

In Pursuit of Silence

Going along with the theme of this week's Dharma Talk by Bup Chon Sunim, here is a book about noise and silence which those of you who enjoyed yesterday's talk may also enjoy this book. You can find the Amazon link below as well as a feature story on the book and author at NPR.

Amazon Link.

NPR Story

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Dharma Talk - Learning to Unplug

Bup Chon Sunim.
Sunday, November 21, 2010.
Duration - 14:36

Subscribe in iTunes!

Book explores 30 wonders of Korean Buddhism

Understanding a religious faith is difficult — spanning the scope from the history and culture to philosophy and practices, it would be nearly impossible to completely learn a given tradition in a short period of time, although people benefit greatly by using various sources, including books.

The Korea Buddhism Promotion Foundation has been working hard to make Buddhism and its unique culture and teachings accessible to both the local and foreign crowds, and it hopes to facilitate the process with a new book, “The Colors of Korean Buddhism: 30 Icons and Their Stories.”

The book introduces distinctive icons that represent Korean Buddhism, which also have been published in The Korea Times from February to September this year. The series was called “Icons of Korean Buddhism” and introduced 30 of the representative or most typical Korean Buddhist cultural items, personas and symbols.

Read the rest of the article from the Korea Times here.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

50 years of work brings age-old wisdom to West

Kazuaki Tanahashi was still in his 20s, a self-described "arrogant kid," when he showed up at the Soto Temple in Japantown where a Japanese Buddhist priest was offering meditation lessons to a small but intense band of beatniks.

Tanahashi, a Japanese artist on his first visit to the States, asked the priest why he wasn't telling his Western novices about Dogen Zenji, a 13th century monk and the founder of the Soto School of Zen Buddhism.

"Dogen is too difficult for Americans to understand," the Rev. Shunryu Suzuki replied.

"Really?" Tanahashi replied. "If you are teaching foreign students, don't you think you should present your best? It doesn't matter if people don't understand it."

Tanahashi, now 77, sat down one day last week in a small meeting room in the San Francisco Zen Center at Page and Laguna streets. He stroked his long, wispy beard and laughed as he recalled his 1964 encounter with Suzuki, who would go on to become a key figure in bringing Buddhist meditation to a Western audience.

Read more:

Translating the Dalai Lama

A special story from American Public Media's program Being.

Thupten Jinpa, a Buddhist scholar and former monk, is the Dalai Lama's chief English translator. He shares the intricacies of Tibetan Buddhism that can't be conveyed in public teachings, and what happens when this ancient tradition meets modern science and modern lives.

Visit the website to listen to the full story and find several more links and extras.

Junta Putting Pressure on Buddhist Clergy: Clinton

he Burmese military junta continues its tight control over the activities of Buddhist monks and discriminates against religious minorities, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Wednesday.
“In Burma, the government continues its tight control of the activities of Buddhist clergy and discriminates against minority religious communities,” Clinton said in remarks on the release of the annual State Department report on religious freedom.

“The release last Sunday of Aung San Suu Kyi is a positive step. However, there are more than 2,100 political prisoners in Burma, including many monks and other religious figures,” Clinton said.

The report identifies Burma as one of the eight countries that have been designated as countries of particular concern.

Read the rest of the story on Buddhist Channel

Big names in religion talk 'compassion' at UN

United Nations Webcast, Special Event: Charter for Compassion.

The 2010 International Religious Freedom Report

Danny Fisher has a good summary highlighting the Buddhist issues in the report and has also linked the video press conference which you can watch on his site here.

State Department Website.

DVD Spotlight - Burma VJ: Reporting from a Closed Country

In appreciation of Aung San Suu Kyi's compassion and non-violent attitude, this week's spotlight is Burma VJ. It follows the September 2007 uprisings against the military regime in Burma.[2] Some of it was filmed on hand-held cameras, and the footage was smuggled out of the country.

For more information on the Burmese monks an the situation in Burma see the links below:

Saffron Uprising

U.S. Campaign for Burma

The Fighting Monks of Burma

Thursday, November 18, 2010

History of Religion in 90 seconds

A pretty cool very brief and general visual history of religious world expansion and development. Well it is interesting to watch you'll notice it isn't 100% and doesn't account for all areas of expansion (no Buddhism in the West).

Produced by Maps of War

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A Fusion Of Buddhism And Punk Rock

Led by Josh Korda, a tattoo-covered Buddhist Brooklynite with gauged ears, the 25-minute sessions at Lila Yoga, Dharma, and Wellness, 302 Bowery attracted a variety of practitioners. On that particular Tuesday night, a young beret-clad woman sat in front of me, and a grey-haired man in a yellow polo to my right, along with many tattooed 20 and 30-somethings. Mr. Korda opened wide the front windows, surrounded by tiny portraits of Buddhist gods, and in floated sidewalk sounds, cabbie screeches, and ambient New York noise.

During the guided session, Mr. Korda encouraged us to close our eyes, mindfully clear our minds, and become “present” by focusing on one sound. He often quoted the Buddha. Following the sessions, Mr. Korda regularly gives 30-minute talks on cultivating inner peace and dealing with stress. Above all, on my visit, he emphasized monks as role models. “Monks don’t cultivate happiness in other people,” he said. “We’re all too over entangled in each other’s lives. Unless you have your own inner peace, you’ll try to get happiness from other people."

Read the full story on The Local East Village (NYTimes)

Three Souls Trailer

The apple seemingly falls far from the tree when you compare Shohaku Okumura, a Japanese Zen Buddhist priest and his 19 year old son Masaki, a 21st century boy who loves sci-fi shows, Gundam anime series, video games and is not yet sure what to do with his life. In a small midwest town of Bloomington, Indiana they run a small temple with the mother; Yuko, supporting its administration. Though each lead separate paths, the film displays the similarities within all of their pursuits for the meaning of life, in their own unique ways. (synopsis borrowed from Sweeping Zen)


PBS Frontline - Facing Death

What is a good death? Increasingly sophisticated gadgets and therapies can keep people alive for weeks and months, even when their underlying illness is beyond repair. I wonder: will I be capable of saying, “I want to die, let me go”? or will I cling to the hope that an experimental procedure or drug trial will come to my rescue? And who will decide if I’m unable to do so for myself: my friends, my proxy, my brother, technology? And what of quality of life: when does prolonging life turn into prolonged suffering for myself and those at my bedside?

Frontline's premiering a new episode focused on facing end of life and dying, to be broadcast on PBS on Tuesday, November 23.
The full episode is available now for online viewing along with additional supplemental material and links.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Burmese Dissident Is Freed After Long Detention

Myanmar’s pro-democracy leader, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, was freed from seven and a half years of house arrest on Saturday and was greeted at the gate of her compound by thousands of jubilant supporters.

Read the rest of the story on NYTimes

Read her story and bio on Wikipedia.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Theologian who pushed for inter-religious dialogue

WILLIAM JOHNSTON, who has died in Tokyo aged 85, was a Jesuit theologian who wrote extensively on Zen and Christian contemplation. Domiciled in Japan for most of his adult life, he became actively involved in inter-religious dialogue, especially with Buddhists.

After 9/11 he wrote in the Tablet : “We used to say that dialogue between the religions is necessary for world peace. Now we can say that dialogue between the religions is necessary for world survival.” Only prayerful dialogue between Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism could save the planet from destruction, he continued. “What a responsibility we have!”

Read the rest of his biography and bibliography at Irish Times

Religion & Ethics Newsweekly: “Zen Buddhist Chaplains”

Watch the full episode. See more Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly.

DVD Spotlight - Amongst White Clouds

An unforgettable journey into the hidden tradition of China's Buddhist hermit monks Amongst White Clouds is an intimate insider's look at students and masters living in scattered retreats dotting China's Zhongnan Mountain range. These peaks have reputedly been home to recluses since the time of the Yellow Emperor, some five thousand years ago. It was widely thought that the tradition was all but wiped out, but this film emphatically and beautifully shows us otherwise. One of only a few foreigners to have lived and studied with these elusive practitioners, American director Edward Burger is able, with humor and compassion, to present their tradition, their wisdom, and the hardship and joy of their everyday lives among the clouds. Filmed on location in China.

Quantifying Happiness

Harvard researchers have developed a Web tool for volunteers to record what they're doing and how they feel while doing it. The goal? To measure happiness. Doctoral student Matt Killingsworth describes some early results suggesting many people aren't "living in the moment."

Listen to the story from NPR

The Evolving Minds Of Humans

Why do humans have consciousness? In his new book, Self Comes To Mind, neurologist Antonio Damasio argues that consciousness gave humans an evolutionary advantage. Damasio describes the differences between self and mind, and traces the evolutionary path of the human brain.

Listen to the story from NPR

Get the book from Amazon

Your future happiness depends less on the present than you might think

Faulty memory makes it hard to predict your future happiness.

You make a lot of decisions based on how you think they will make you feel in the future. Car dealers ask you to think about how happy you'll be driving a beautiful new car. Ads for seafaring cruises ask you to think about how great you'll feel after a relaxing vacation. On the flip side, people work hard for a new promotion believing that if they don't advance in their career, they will be devastated.

Read the full article by Art Markman, Ph.D., on Psychology Today

30 Year Anniversary of October 27 Incident

October 27 marks the 30-year anniversary of the government’s illegal actions against the Buddhist community. Now, the Buddhist community demands the truth to be revealed, the restoration of honor for the victims, and compensation for victims. To commemorate the 30-year anniversary, there was a dharma service and a meeting of the victims at Jogyesa Temple on October 27.

What is the October 27 Incident?
New Military Government Search Temples and Takes Away Monks and Nuns

On October 27, 1980, the Korean Government illegally searched Buddhist temples and forcibly hauled away monks and nuns. This is the first time the Buddhist community was singly sought out and oppressed in modern Korean history. The government, which has newly seized power, as a “purification movement” searched 5731 temples and took away 1929 Buddhists to be interrogated. After the incident, there were distorted and exaggerated reports, and various false rumors circulated to cause immense damage to the Buddhist community. By these severe actions of the government, the human rights of numerous monks and nuns were violated, which led to a dramatic decrease in the number of Buddhist faithful as well as the Buddhist community losing social authority. Accordingly, the October 27 Incident is an abuse of government authority, which was a violation of religious freedom and human rights.

Read the full story on Korean

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Dalai Lama Blesses Award Winning Movie “Buddha Wild”

San Francisco, CA, October 28, 2010 — Buddha Wild Monk in a Hut, the award winning feature documentary that has played in selected cinemas to critical acclaim in the USA has been officially blessed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The film’s director, producer and actress Anna Wilding met His Holiness the Dalai Lama in 2009. The Dali Lama also approved images of himself to be used in the bonus features.

Buddha Wild releases on DVD nationwide, in stores and online, through Reality Entertainment on October, 25th, 2010.Pre Order discounts are available through Amazon.The film examines the lives of missionary Theravadin monks from Thailand and Sri Lanka in an “upbeat, engaging” way that departs from traditional linear documentary story telling.

Read the rest of the Press Release on Buddhist Art News

A Life After Death Double-Feature: Eastwood’s Hereafter and Noe’s Enter the Void

Two very different films about what happens after we die are in the theaters right now: Clint Eastwood’s gentle Hereafter and Gaspar Noe’s raw, hallucinatory Enter the Void. While covering the same cosmological territory, the films couldn’t be more different, stylistically, thematically, and religiously.

Read the reviews on Religion Dispatches

Veterans Day: Can Meditation Help Veterans Overcome PTSD?

Inspired by one of the last surviving, decorated World War II fighter pilots, filmmaker David Lynch is teaming up with friends to launch "Operation Warrior Wellness," a meditation-based program to help veterans overcome stress-related disorders.

At the upcoming benefit Change Begins Within, Lynch will be joined by Clint Eastwood, Russell Simmons, Mehmet Oz, Russell Brand, Katy Perry, Donna Karan and others in support of a project to provide Transcendental Meditation instruction to 10,000 veterans and their families. The event will be December 13 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Thirty-five percent of U.S. soldiers deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq since 2001 are said to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). David Lynch Foundation spokesman Robert Roth: "We believe Operation Warrior Wellness has great potential for treating PTSD by affecting the neurophysiology that underlies the disorder, eliminating rather than masking its symptoms."

Continue reading on Huffington Post

Monday, November 8, 2010

Talking Buddhism, film, and literature with John Whalen-Bridge

The National University of Singapore’s John Whalen-Bridge is without question one of the hardest working and most prolific scholars involved in the study of Buddhism in the West these days. Best of all, he’s working on important areas that have really been unexplored in a serious way until now. These qualities combined with his warmth, wisdom, and sense of humor made him irresistible to us for an interview. I caught up with him via email for a discussion about his four (!) new books, and thoughts for future projects.

Interview by Danny Fisher, read the full interview at Shambhala SunSpae

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Dharma Talk - The Noble Eightfold Path

Bup Chon Sunim
November 7, 2010

ABC News - Beliefs: Meditation

Dan Harris explores how to meditate with Insight guru Joseph Goldstein. They also discuss Dan Harris' first experience with an extended silent retreat at Spirit Rock Meditation Center and some basic Buddhist principles.

Watch the video interview here.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Podcast October Stats

MWZ launched a Dharma Talk podcast early September and it has been doing extraordinarily well for the past 2 months. As of today it has been downloaded in North America, South America (Colombia), Europe, Asia, and Australia. New listeners are coming from Hawaii, United Arab Emirates, China, Japan, Taiwan, Malaysia, and New Zealand. October saw over 1,000 episode hits and total hits since September are up to 1,277!

Dharma Talks will continue to be posted on a weekly basis and is a great way to catch a Dharma Talk if you miss attending, live too far to attend or just want to hear a talk again that you found inspiring!

Remember to subscribe through iTunes for automatic delivery each week and if you enjoy the podcast, please rate it and leave some feed back in the iTunes Music Store.

iTunes Link

in Hapjang,


China trade: The 'Dalai Lama Effect'

Countries whose top leadership meet with the Dalai Lama, Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, lose on average 8.1 percent in exports to China in the two years following the meeting, according to a recent study.
Called the "Dalai Lama Effect," the study by the University of Gottingen in Germany found the negative impact on exports began when President Hu Jintao took office in 2002.

Continue reading on CNN

DVD Spotlight - Zen

The film follows the life of Zen Buddhist monk Dogen Zenji (played by kabuki performer Kantaro Nakamura) during the turbulent Kamakura period. Dogen's parents died when he was very young, and his devout mother's final wish was that he go on to become a monk and work for the welfare of all beings. The experience of having his parents die gave Dogen a special insight into the fleeting nature of life and sparked his search for enlightenment. With this insight, he eventually succeeded in spreading his method of seated meditation throughout Japan, and managed to bring salvation to the hearts and minds of many people along the way.

Photo Essay: Pilgrims at Bodhgaya

Alex Blauhorn travels to the world’s most famous place of enlightenment to capture an average day of a pilgrim monk.
There is a remote place in India where Hinduism and Buddhism live together in harmony – it is called Bodhgaya. This is the most sacred place for Buddhist pilgrims, because here is where you can find the Bodhi Tree where Prince Siddhartha Gautama attained enlightenment over 2500 years ago.

Thousands of pilgrims gather from all over the world every year to pray at the Mahabodhi Temple and relax under the famous Bodhi Tree. Here are photos that capture a day around the grounds.

View the full gallery on Matador Network

The Money was Nothing

A retired Canadian couple who won $11.3 million in the lottery in July have already given it (almost) all away.

"What you've never had, you never miss," 78-year-old Violet Large explained to a local reporter.

She was undergoing chemotherapy treatment for cancer when the couple realized they'd won the jackpot in July.

"That money that we won was nothing," her tearful husband, Allen, told Patricia Brooks Arenburg of the Nova Scotia Chronicle Herald. "We have each other."

The money was a "headache," they told the paper--mainly, it brought anxiety over the prospect that "crooked people" might take advantage of them. Several people called them out of the blue to ask for money when the news first broke that they'd won the jackpot. So they began an $11 million donation spree to get rid of it and help others...

Read the rest of the story on Dangerous Harvests

Friday, November 5, 2010

Won Buddhism to bring ethics to G20 politics

Won Buddhism of Manhattan, a U.N.-accredited NGO, opens the second annual G20 Universal Ethics Summit in Seoul, Sunday.

The seven-day, multi-faceted event looks to bring a return of global focus to ethics and leadership principles. The religion and culture summit seeks to recalibrate the fundamental goals of influential figures in order to avoid further economic crises.

Comprising of lectures, panels and an inter-religious retreat, more than 60 participants are expected to attend the events of the G20 Universal Ethics Summit. The international meeting’s highlights are divided into three days of focused discussion, while the retreat lasts for longer than the duration of the activities.

Read the rest of the story on The Korea Times

For Buddhism, Science is Not a Killer of Religion

Buddhists, says HH the Dalai Lama, aren’t asked to believe anything that’s not in accord with reason and experience.

Read the story on Religion Dispatches

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Rich, Detailed Fullness Found in Empty

The Buddhist influence on art of the past 50 years is, like much else in the Buddhist worldview, immeasurable. “Grain of Emptiness: Buddhism-Inspired Contemporary Art,” at the Rubin Museum of Art, wisely doesn’t attempt such a survey. Instead it offers up an eclectic, not-the-usual-suspects group of five artists: Sanford Biggers, Theaster Gates, Atta Kim, Wolfgang Laib and Charmion von Wiegand.

Continue reading on the NYTimes

25 Ways to Make a Difference in the World Everyday

Re-posted from Tiny Buddha:

1. Wake up. ~Karen Maezen Miller

2. Make a difference in yourself, for the better. Such an inward difference always has rippling outward benefits. ~Hansoul Kim

3. Remember there are three poisons: greed, anger and ignorance. Do not deny their existence but turn them around and you have generosity, compassion and wisdom. ~Clifton Bradley

4. Make it a habit to respect everyone. ~Margarita Medina

5. Consider the people you see each day. Sometimes I get wrapped up in things I am working on— fundraisers etc. But the coworker, family member, pet right next to you are the people you can truly reach and touch. ~Amy E. Moore

6. Operate from a place of love. ~ Erika Gonzalez

7. Be kind to others. In this busy world people become self consumed and forget that kindness goes a long way. ~ Ana Stuckart

8. Acknowledge the light within myself and in others. Not always easy to do but feels so powerful when I am able to do so. ~Maria Thieme

9. Talk to someone that you think might be in distress. You may make the difference of a lifetime. ~Alexander De Raadt St.James

10. Simply show up. Just by put your soul into it. If you show up physically with the soles of your feet, the heart, mind, and soul will have a chance to follow or catch up. You may not want to be there in the beginning but showing up allows a committed chance at making a difference everyday for the people you love, the people you will meet, and the eventual person you will become. Show up. ~Holli Grant

11. Smile. ~ Seret Rafferty

Read the rest here.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

2 New Articles/Review in Journal of Religion & Film

2 Buddhist related entries in the latest issue of the Journal of Religion & Film.

The Emotional Lives of Buddhist Monks
in Modern Thai Film

As Phra Tham, a forest monk from Southern Thailand, traveled by train from his monastery to his home town for his younger sister’s cremation, he is tormented by visions of Muslim passengers wanting to kill him and the site of his sister being blown apart by a terrorist bomb. He is on the verge of tears the entire trip. This early scene in Nonzee Nimibutr’s film, OK Baytong, is one of many in recent Thai films which depict Southeast Asian Buddhist monks exhibiting extreme emotional joy, anger, or distress. Other films depict monks laughing hysterically, lashing out violently, sobbing uncontrollably, or fearfully trembling. These films, a small selection described below, offer a revealing lens into the myriad ways in which monks are displayed in Thailand. They also demonstrate the value of narrative ethics in the study and teaching of Southeast Asian Buddhism.

Oblivion beyond Forgetting: A Buddhist Reflection
on Suffering in Ashes of Time

This paper reads Wong Kar-wai’s Ashes of Time (1994) through the lens of Buddhism, specifically focusing on the issue of suffering and of mind. Buddhism attributes suffering to mental attachment, expressed as craving and clinging. In this sense, Ashes of Time, which also reflects on the problems of anguish and suffering with respect to its characters’ unfulfilled desires and their attachment to memory, shares several fundamental ideas with Buddhist thought. More importantly, the film proposes ways to break free from suffering that are similar to those espoused by Buddhism. In doing so, the film reflects the Buddhist dialectic idea that insists on absolute negation as the way to be released from suffering, which eventually progresses to an absolute affirmation; that is, embracing suffering in a paradoxical sense.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Election Day Reading

Mindful Politics: A Buddhist Guide to Making the World a Better Place.

"This is not your typical political book. It's not written at a fever pitch, it doesn't use a good/bad binary, and it doesn't tout partisan policies. Instead, this timely collection addresses the less-discussed but more important questions about politics: What insight does religion have to offer politics? How can we as concerned citizens move beyond the particulars of legislation and party affiliation, and take direct action? How, amid divisive and challenging times, can personal growth and effective advocacy take place together?

In short, Mindful Politics offers the persectives of 34 important authors and thinkers on how each of us, right now, can make the world a better place.

McLeod includes essays and insights from some of the brightest, and most controversial, lights of Buddhism - and beyond.

Included are: Thich Nhat Hanh | Sam Harris (author of The End of Faith) | The Dalai Lama | Jerry Brown | Pema Chodron | Trungpa Rinpoche | bell hooks | Ezra Bayda | Meg Wheatley ...and many more"

Amazon Link

Sacred Spaces: inside a Buddhist fire rite ceremony

For the last several years Shinnyo-en Buddhists have conducted the Saisho Homa fire rite ceremony in Taiwan, Paris and Berlin. This year, for the first time, the rite was brought to Shinnyo-en’s head temple in Redwood City, California.

A homa ceremony is Buddhist prayer ceremony. Saisho is a reference to the wisdom and compassion of the Buddha.

“The Saisho Homa ceremony is really a prayer for world peace,” said Nichelle Blanco, an ordained Shinnyo-en priest. “It is a rite that includes various elements such as fire and water.”

CNN Belief Blog

Monday, November 1, 2010


I know it's pretty safe to say that I'm excited for this one... good sign also that the trailer is already subbed.

From Twitch Film

From the erstwhile Wise Kwai comes word of the trailer for Tom Waller's Mindfulness And Murder. A noir infused crime thriller set within the walls of a Buddhist monastery it's the sort of film only likely to be made by an ex-pat in Thailand thanks to the extremely sensitive nature of the material.

Driving the story is a monk who was previously a police detective. When police refuse to investigate the death of a young homeless man near to the monastery the monk steps in only to uncover a web of corruption within his own walls. Check the trailer below.

Dharma Talk - Beyond Infatuation

Given by Hae Doh Sunim. Sunday, October 31, 2010.
Duration: 15:08

Subscribe in iTunes!

Taego and IBS retreat of Western region (Los Angeles, CA).