Sunday, January 30, 2011

Dharma Talk - Creating Your Own Horoscope

Talk Given By Bup Chon Sunim
Sunday, January 30, 2011.
Duration - 17:54

DVD Spotlight - Groundhog Day

Groundhog Day is fast approaching so what better movie to watch this week?

Teamed with a relentlessly cheerful producer (Andie MacDowell) and a smart-aleck cameraman (Chris Elliott), TV weatherman Phil Connors (Bill Murray) is sent to Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania to cover the annual Groundhog Day festivities. After a surprise blizzard traps him in small-town hell, things get even worse; Phil wakes the next morning to find it's GROUNDHOG DAY all over again...and again...and again.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Mobile apps, a new way to meet Buddha in S. Korea

When smartphones hit South Korea, they not only reshaped the local mobile landscape but also changed the way the country's 7 million smartphone users live, work and network. The smartphone wave also rode into an area that seems far-off from technology: religion.

A search at a local app market fishes up about 30 Buddhist apps; more than half of them have never been downloaded. South Korean Buddhists, however, are paving the way to expand their reach on the mobile sphere in a bid to further spread Buddhism.
"Modern-day people are too busy. They don't have the time to visit temples since most temples are located in mountains," said Ven. Jung Ho, director of Missionary Research at the Jogye Order, the biggest Buddhist sect in South Korea. "With the development of mobile apps, people can easily keep in touch with Buddhism. Smartphones can serve as mobile temples."

Buddhist apps range from a mobile version of Buddhist prayer beads to a location search program that tracks the nearest temple via a global positioning system (GPS).

"The old ways of spreading Buddhist culture, through brick-and-mortar contents, can no longer weather the changing trends. The conventional means of communication can now convey only 1 percent of what is there," said Kim Sung-chul, a professor of Buddhist Studies at Dongguk University in Gyeongju.

"Without new channels such as mobile apps, Buddhist missionary efforts cannot continue," he said.

Read the rest of the story here.

A Buddhist Chinese New Year

CNN's Eileen Hsieh reveals how a Buddhist temple in London is celebrating the Chinese New Year.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Silence is golden at Ann Arbor Zen Buddhist Temple

If asked about the Zen Buddhist Temple on Packard Street in Ann Arbor, most people would probably think of the wall that separates the temple from the street.
“The wall is there not to separate us from the rest of the town,” said senior member Catherine Brown of Ann Arbor.
It serves, instead, as noise barrier. Silence plays a key role in a Zen Buddhist service.

Upon entering the temple, those in attendance sit in quiet meditation for about 20 minutes. This is repeated at the end of service.
Meditation is integral to the Zen Buddhist belief system. Meditation is how Siddharta Gautama reached enlightenment to become the first Buddha, according to tradition.

Read the rest of the article and interview at

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Zen and the Art of the Sex Scandal

From Religion Dispatches

The American-based Zen Studies Society comes to terms, compassionately, with a revered teacher's transgressions By GARY GACH

It will take decades before anyone can truly see how Buddhism will take hold in the West. Meanwhile, the evolution is interesting. October of last year saw women ordained as Theravada nuns (bhikkhunis) in Perth, Australia, for the first time in that lineage since the 13th century. (What took them so long?) Ramifications of the ensuing controversy will continue to ripple; that is, the ultimate significance resonates beyond themes of gender alone—embracing social, cultural, and political issues, as well. In a nutshell, it’s a reflection of how adoption by contemporary society is continuing and renewing the message of the Buddha.

2011 began with a news item of similar impact. Twenty Zen teachers in the West sent open letters to The Zen Studies Society in New York. With compassion and understanding, their general thrust is to ask that the Society’s former head, Eido Tai Shimano, not be allowed access to students—a strong penalty for a teacher.

Once you mention sex, everything becomes sex

Continue reading here.

Close Encounters of the Buddhist Kind

An exclusive look inside a booming multibillion-dollar, evangelical, global Thai sect.

Picture this: millions of followers gathering around a central shrine that looks like a giant UFO in elaborately choreographed Nuremberg-style rallies; missionary outposts in 31 countries from Germany to the Democratic Republic of the Congo; an evangelist vision that seeks to promote a "world morality restoration project"; and a V-Star program that encourages hundreds of thousands of children to improve "positive moral behavior." Although the Bangkok-based Dhammakaya movement dons saffron robes, not brown shirts, its flamboyant ceremonies have become increasingly bold displays of power for this cult-like Buddhist group that was founded in the 1970s, ironically, as a reform movement opposed to the excesses of organized religion in Thailand.

Yet, despite the pageantry, the inner workings of this fast-growing movement are little known to Thailand's general public, and certainly to the rest of the world, though its teachings loom large among the legions of devotees. The veil of secrecy parted briefly in late 1999, when two top Dhammakaya leaders were charged with embezzlement in what many considered a political ploy to suppress the temple's growing power. The charges were dismissed in 2006 after the former abbot and a colleague returned some land and nearly 1 billion baht ($32 million) to temple control.

Continue reading and see the rest of the photo gallery from Foreign Policy

Chogyam Trungpa Documentary Film: "Touch and Go", premieres; Watch It Online Now

Chogyam Trungpa’s first book, Born in Tibet, originally published in 1966, is a classic story of a great escape. It is an autobiographical account of Rinpoche’s upbringing in Tibet and his forced departure from the country in 1959, leading a group of 300 refugees trying to reach India. Now, more than fifty years later, Grant MacLean has created a movie for the internet that brings the reality of the escape to life. Using technology from Google Earth and Flight Simulator, Touch and Go makes you feel that you are — if not on the journey — then certainly witnessing it close at hand.

Watch it online, links provided by Shambhala Sun

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Dharma Talk - Conditioning

Hae Doh Sunim
January 23, 2011.
Duration - 18:16

South Korean Buddhists pray for animals killed during foot-and-mouth disease epidemic

Hundreds of South Korean Buddhist monks and believers offered prayers Wednesday for more than 1.93 million cows, pigs and other animals that have been put to death in the country's worst outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease.

The Buddhists endured subfreezing temperatures to hold the rite at Jogye Temple, the headquarters of the Jogye Order, South Korea's largest Buddhist sect.

Some monks clad in gray-and-saffron robes offered white chrysanthemums -- a traditional Korean symbol of grief -- and bowed in front of photos of animals inside the temple in central Seoul.

They also bowed toward two big golden statues of Buddha and chanted sutras before circling around a pagoda and burning mortuary tablets and incense.

Read more at Buddhist Channel

Jogye Order Monastics and Laity Offer 1080 Bows for the Welfare of Korea

Jogye Order monastics and laity offered 1080 bows for the welfare of the Korean society and the preservation of Korean culture at the Cheonggyecheon Plaza on January 10 starting at 10 a.m. This event was sponsored by the Jogye Order Committee for the Preservation of Korean Culture. Jogye Order administration’s monastics and lay employees (over 300 total) met at the Cheonggyecheon Plaza on a cold Monday morning. They began by chanting the refuge prayer and heart sutra. Thereafter, an aspiration speech was read. This was written for the citizens of Seoul. Then, everyone bowed together 1080 times.

They began with three rounds of 108 bows. After resting for about five minutes they began another three rounds of 108 bows. Then, after another 108 X 3, they rested for another five minutes. Finally, they did 108 bows to conclude the 1080 bows. At the end of the bowing, Ven. Jaseung head of the Jogye Order came by to offer words of encouragement.

This event was to repent of the way that Korean Buddhism has not been able to contribute more to Korea’s development and pray for the happiness of the Korean people. In addition, these bows were offered for the welfare of the Korean society and the restoration of democracy, and the preservation of Korean culture and for religious harmony. The preservation Korean culture is in the hands of the Korean people was also conveyed in the event.

Over 50 monastics and 250 lay people participated.

See more photos and captions from Korean Buddhism [dot]net.

INTERVIEW: Russell Simmons Expounds on the Transition from Materialism to Meditation

Nationwide (January 18, 2011) -- Russell Wendell Simmons was born in Queens, New York on October 4, 1957, the middle of three sons to bless the marriage of Daniel and Evelyn Simmons, a public school administrator and NYC parks administrator, respectively. Russell and Rick Rubin co-founded Def Jam Records, the legendary hip-hop label, in 1984.

A devoted yogi, Russell also leads the non-profit division of his empire, Rush Community Affairs, and its ongoing commitment to empowering at-risk youth through education, the arts, and social engagement. Furthermore, he serves as UN Goodwill Ambassador for The Permanent Memorial to Honor the Victims of Slavery and the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade.

Here, he talks about his new book, Super Rich: A Guide to Having It All, a how-to tome which champions meditation over materialism as the path to true wealth.

Read the interview at Black News[dot]com

Permanent Mark (Thailand)

Permanent Mark is a Spike TV television show following its host around the globe as he seeks out tattoo masters in different cultures. In the Thailand episode he receives a special tattoo from a master Buddhist monk tattoo artist...

Watch the full episode online from Spike TV.

Thanks to The Worst Horse for the link.

Bringing a Monastery Back to Life

Erdene Zuu, Mongolia’s oldest surviving Buddhist monastery, is a sprawling, windswept complex nestled in the Orkhon Valley, the ancient cultural crossroads where Genghis Khan chose to locate the capital of his empire, Karakorum, back in 1220. The monastery — which dates to 1586 and was built with stones from the ruined capital — once had 60 temples and 1,000 monks who lived in hundreds of gers dotted throughout the swaying grass. Now it has just 54 monks, none of whom live on the site, and 13 temples, only one of which — the Lama Temple — can be used for worship.

Read the full story from the NYTimes.

An act of faith, desperation or protest: Self-immolations through time

Night had fallen when the men heard the sounds on the mountain. First it was a chime, then a recitation of verses, followed by the crackle of wood burning. They scrambled to the summit to see what was happening.

There, seated with his palms together and facing west, was their friend. Flames leapt around the peaceful man, engulfing him. It was just as he'd intended.

The year was 527.

This story of Daodu, a Buddhist monk, is told in James Benn's "Burning for the Buddha: Self-Immolation in Chinese Buddhism." Benn, an associate professor of religion at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, writes that the act of setting one's self on fire dates back in Chinese Buddhist tradition to the late fourth century.

But no matter how old, self-immolation still leaves people horrified, riveted and moved.

Read the rest of the story on CNN

Buddhist Without Money

Not having a job for the past three and half months, I have had a lot of time to think about money, and my relationship with it. If I were to characterize the dominant theme of my adulthood, it would be fears of lack and actions based on stinginess. Both of these views have loosened over the past couple of years, but they still tend to dominate.

Given the society I live in, that's exactly what is desired. It's the most "beneficial" outcome for a human being in the United States (and many other countries). A belief in lack and scarcity, and deeply seated fears of having nothing, going bankrupt, and being abandoned to starve or die of some untreated illness are hallmarks of a good consumer. Trying to fill the empty pit in your gut is the way the economy runs, the way fat cats get their millions, the way the government has enough money to conduct extravegant wars in far off nations to procure more power and resources to keep the whole thing going. Not only does having material wants and being able to satisfy them make me "a good citizen" in the eyes of others, but it also is one of the very "skills" that supposedly defines me as a person at all....

Read the full article from Dangerous Harvests

Life Is More Meaningful Than Mere Facts Can Convey

What exactly are we looking for? What fuels so much of the passion and intensity behind the debates over religion, the debates between religions and the debates surrounding science and religion? At the heart of these debates you will often find the issue of "knowing."

Knowing if God exists, or not. Knowing how the Universe began and if a creator was necessary, or not. Knowing how human beings "became" and what constitutes appropriate moral codes in light of that becoming. Always and again, the emphasis is on knowledge, on the certainty of understanding something, of knowing some fact and its meaning. What a tragic mistake....

Read the full story from 13.7 Cosmos and Culture blog at NPR

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

David Zuniga (Dae-il Sunim) Interview at Sweeping Zen

Curtosey of our friends over at Sweeping Zen, we are able to repost this link to their interview with Dae-il Sunim.

David Zuniga (Dae-il Sunim) is the first Westerner to be ordained as a priest in the Taego Order, the oldest lineage of Son (Korean Zen) Buddhism. He was ordained at Sonamsa Temple of Chogye Mountain, located in the South Cholla province in Sunchun. Sonamsa temple was built in 529 C.E. and is the main temple of the Taego lineage. When he was ordained, he was given the monastic name Dae-il Sunim. Dae-il in Korean means Vairochana Buddha (Sanskrit “He Who is Like the Sun”) and Sunim is the Korean word for “Bikkshu” or “ordained monk.” His has completed two practice periods in South Korea.

David’s website:

Read the interview at Sweeping Zen

“Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal.”

While it's a day late the message still holds...

“True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it is not haphazard and superficial. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.” -Rev. Martin Luther King (from his “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence” speech delivered April 4th, 1967)

Read: Dr. King, An American Bodhisattva from Sweeping Zen

More coverage here.

MLK Free Audio Lecture from The Teaching Company - Stride Towards Freedom

100 Trillion Connections: New Efforts Probe and Map the Brain's Detailed Architecture

The noise of billions of brain cells trying to communicate with one another may hold a crucial clue to understanding consciousness.

A single neuron sits in a petri dish, crackling in lonely contentment. From time to time, it spontaneously unleashes a wave of electric current that travels down its length. If you deliver pulses of electricity to one end of the cell, the neuron may respond with extra spikes of voltage. Bathe the neuron in various neurotransmitters, and you can alter the strength and timing of its electrical waves. On its own, in its dish, the neuron can’t do much. But join together 302 neurons, and they become a nervous system that can keep the worm Caenorhabditis elegans alive—sensing the animal’s surroundings, making decisions and issuing commands to the worm’s body. Join together 100 billion neurons—with 100 trillion connections—and you have yourself a human brain, capable of much, much more....

Read more at Scientific American

In search of the G spot

Is faith hard-wired in the the brain? Raymond Tallis scans some new claims

Atheism has recently had some eloquent advocates. Indeed, they have been so effective that they have provoked their religious opponents not only to criticise – often quite savagely – their grasp of theology but also to accuse them of being “fundamentalists”. Unfortunately, some of these brilliant deicides do indeed have their own fundamentalism, and this can lead to even more dangerous simplifications.
The ultimate meaning of religious belief, they assert, is biological; it is a property of the evolved brain. Theism is good for social animals, as it promotes solidarity and cooperation, thereby increasing the probability of the genome replicating...

Read the full article from New Humanist

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Dharma Talk - Radiating Loving-kindness

IBS USA Seminary Student Deokwun Russell Pitts
Duration - 10:29
Sunday, January 16, 2011

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Buddhism In The Soviet Union

Karl Marx declared religion ‘the opiate of the masses’. This single statement has served as the foundational thought regarding the Communist attitude to religion in general ever since. But exactly what this means for non-European religions has never been made clear. Both Marx and Engels thought deeply about the influence of religion upon the working classes in Western Europe, and as a result, analysed the effects of the established Judeo-Christian religions upon the masses. The other religions of the world were virtually unknown in 19th century Europe at that time, beyond vague, obscure, and often misunderstood, fragmentary references.

Read the full article from Dissident Voice

A Buddhist Perspective on Access to Guns

By James Baraz - "How can we make sense out of the senseless? When a deranged young man opens fire killing innocent people, what lessons can we take away that can give meaning to the lost lives? Learning something new or deepening our understanding seems to be the best way to honor those who've suffered the most. I'd like to offer some thoughts from a Buddhist perspective."

Read the full article from the Huffington Post

Zen Music – An Interview with Ronnie Nyogetsu Seldin


Interviewed by Holley McCoy Eller

Ronnie Nyogetsu Seldin is an American Grand Master of the shakuhachi flute. He has performed in numerous concerts, lectures and demonstrations in the US and Japan. Here he is interviewed by Holley McCoy-Eller.


Holley: Where were you born and raised? How did you end up studying the shakuhachi – what inspired you to go off to Japan?

Ronnie: I was born in 1947 in Brooklyn, NY. I always had two passions and interests – one was music and the other was some sort of social activism. I was a theology major in college at the New School for Social Research. A few years after leaving college I went to Japan, where I got active in a religion called Ten Ri-Kyo, one of the so-called New Religions in Japan. But I’ve always been interested in religion and spirituality – and of course Buddhism, since shakuhachi is the only melodic instrument used in Zen Buddhism. My wife is an active Chan Buddhist.

Continue reading the rest of the interview here.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

An American Buddhist Soldier in Afghanistan

Buddhist Soldier and two-time Bronze Star Medal recipient, 1st Lt. Stephen J. Hunnewell is currently serving with the U.S. Army in Afghanistan. As a Civil Affairs Team Leader, Hunnewell is responsible for overseeing a three Soldier team whose primary objective is to advise local Afghan officials on the implementation of productive governance processes and assist them in forming meaningful connections with the local population and ensuring they are properly serving the citizens which they represent.

Read the interview from The Big Old Oak Tree blog here.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Twelve Concrete Ways To Live A 'Compassionate Life'

From Confucius to Oprah, people have preached compassion for centuries. But how often is it put into practice? Karen Armstrong believes religion, which should advocate for compassionate living, is often part of the problem. In Twelve Steps To A Compassionate Life, she describes ways to add kindness to daily routines.

Read the transcript or listen to the full story from NPR

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Saturday, January 8, 2011


Yongungsa Temple in Busan, South Korea is one of the most famous and most visited Buddhist temples in the country. It sits on the oceanfront and has an amazing view. I visited here in the summer of 2008 and was awestruck at its beauty. Below is a short video by EatYourKimchi giving a virtual tour. Enjoy!

Eat Your Kimchi

Visit Korea Tourism Page

Friday, January 7, 2011

DVD Spotlight - Secret Sunshine

The fragile mind beset by a mercilessly harsh reality is represented by Shin-ae, a piano teacher who is already struggling to stand on her own feet emotionally after the death of her husband. To escape from her predicament, she moves to Milyang,her late husband's hometown. In Milyang ("Secret Sunshine"), Shin-ae has a brief chance to brighten up her depressing life when she meets Jong-chan, a local car repair shop owner. Jong-chan falls in love with her and helps her settle down smoothly in Milyang.

But their romance does not get a chance to develop further when Shin-ae's son is kidnapped and she has no one to turn to. She tries everything she can to get her son back, but life is cruelly indifferent to her wishes again.

In utter despair, she seeks Solace at a local church and finds her troubled soul beginning to heal when she devotes herself to Christianity.

At this seemingly religious moment, director Lee questions the purpose of religion. The answer seems perplexingly mixed. For a kidnapper now behind bars, religion is indeed a reason to keep living. For Shin-ae, God should know when to intervene. For when Shin-ae visits the kidnapper in prison, he calmly tells her that he sought and received forgiveness from God and is now perfectly at peace. Shin-ae is not, and her religious conviction turns into a sense of betrayal and hopelessness.

From the Mouths of Babes: The Solution to Suffering

My seven month old daughter has it all figured out. She quickly smiles if something happens that makes her happy. It is so easy to get her going with laughing or giggling. All I have to do is tickle her under her arms, or make a sudden, dramatically goofy face (usually accompanied with a weird, loud noise that startles her) and she erupts with pure joy.

It's so clear for her. I find myself more than mildly jealous. Very young children are on to something that seems to evaporate once they get a bit older - often after only a handful of years. They may be more open to happiness because of one core reason: they don't have the ability to suffer....

Read the full blog post from Psychology Today

American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us

A Conversation With David Campbell

EVENT TRANSCRIPT December 16, 2010

The Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life held a press luncheon with political science professors David Campbell and John Green on the topic of how religion both divides and unites Americans.

Campbell has written a book with Harvard professor Robert Putnam, entitled American Grace, which examines the changing role of religion in America since the 1960s. In addition to teaching at Notre Dame, Campbell is a research fellow with the Institute for Educational Initiatives and the founding director of the Rooney Center for the Study of American Democracy at the university. He is the author of Why We Vote: How Schools and Communities Shape Our Civic Life and the editor of A Matter of Faith: Religion in the 2004 Presidential Election.

Buy American Grace from Amazon

Read the full event transcript here and view all graphs

The indispensable incarnation

Talk of the Dalai Lama’s “retirement” shows how much Tibet still needs him. Yet so does China

Read the article from The Economist.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

You don't need the 'right' kind of zafu to be a Buddhist

Western Buddhists need to forge a fresh embodiment of wisdom for their culture and age – through the meditative method

Read the full article from Comment is Free Belief blog at

Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard talks meditation and more with ABC News

Is Matthieu Ricard actually “the happiest man alive,” as he’s famously called? It’s an unanswerable question. What’s for sure, though, is that Ricard’s path of Buddhist meditation has led to a life that is, in fact, truly positive and happy. He talks about this — and gives an introduction to meditation — in a new ABCNews “Beliefs” interview, conducted by Dan Harris. Video below.

Abraxsas no Matsuri, a film by Director Naoki Kato

Abraxas no Mitsuri (or, Abraxas Festival) is the story of a Zen monk who finds himself torn between the spiritual and secular life. The monk Jonen, played by comedian Suneo Hair, is a one-time punk rock musician turned Buddhist monk with a wife and five-year old son. Based on the novel by Akutagawa award-winning zen monk Genyu Sokyu, the character of Jonen becomes a monk following in the footsteps of his father—a tradition not unfamiliar to Japanese Zen, where temples are often passed down in families from generation to generation. During a career day speech given at a local high school, Jonen suffers a breakdown as he realizes that music is his passion; the episode sends him in to a deep depression. Sympathetic to his crisis, the chief monk encourages Jonen to do a live show. As the show nears, Jonen is faced with several obstacles (including potential alienation from his family).

This film explores themes of familial and cultural expectations and how they fit in with one’s own personal calling. It is currently playing in Japanese theaters and will be a contender in the 2011 Sundance Film Festival.

Synopsis written by Sweeping Zen. Watch the trailer (Japanese language only) at Sweeping Zen as well.

Mindfulness and Psychotherapy: What's the Big Deal?

Today in the Wall Street Journal, there is an article on mindfulness and its incorporation into psychotherapy. So, what's the big deal about mindfulness anyway? Why is it being embraced by mainstream psychology, the Wall Street Journal, and Oprah, while touted as "being all that and a bag of chips"?
Previously, I've written about the "Top 10 Reasons Why Mindfulness is Cool", but today I'd like to write about its importance relative to psychotherapy and our own growth (both in and out of the city). As a psychologist, I often help my patients learn and practice mindfulness. By learning to observe their thoughts, emotions, and sensory experiences, they become less wrapped up their negative stories about themselves, other people, the world, the future, and correspondingly develop the ability to pause before acting. This pause allows them to practice new ways of being and acting in the world. So, given these experiences, you can imagine that many people are quite interested in becoming more mindful!

Read the rest of the article and find the embedded links to other referenced stories at Psychology Today

The Buddha’s ‘Silence’ on the Questions of the Inexpressible

The Blessed One, the Buddha, declared that certain questions based on abstract general reasoning (metaphysical) are unanswerable, they are termed the Inexpressible.
The Buddha likened those who asked such questions as not wise, as it is like a man who when struck by an arrow and before treatment, would like to know what sort of arrow struck him, where it come from, who aimed it etc. It is likely that he would be dead before he can get any satisfactory answers to his questions. The moral drawn is that such enquiries are unnecessary and can prove detrimental to a spiritual life.

There are four sets of questions with its accompanying alternatives that are usually stated, they are:

(1) Whether the world is eternal, or not, or both, or neither. (Its origin and duration)
(2) Whether the world is finite (in space), or infinite, or both, or neither. (Its end)
(3) Whether the soul is identical with the body or different from it.
(4) Whether the Lord Buddha exists after death, or does not, or both, or neither.

To hold that the world is eternal, or not, or to agree to any of the other propositions is to theorized, it does not conduces to detachment, tranquility, peace or knowledge and wisdom of Nirvana. ‘This is the danger I perceive in these views which make me discard them all,’ The Blessed One said.

Read the rest from The Buddhist Channel

A Look at Rinzai Zen Monastic Life

To sum up, Rinzai Zen monasticism is highly regulated and intensive. As Rev. Fujiwara explains:

There are rules regulating every action in the sōdō [monks' hall 僧堂], from the way you pick up and put down your chopsticks to the way you take off sandals. When people who are accustomed to the freedom of ordinary life face this situation, they feel terribly restricted. It’s difficult to get used to the regimen, and they often break the rules and are scolded by senior novices. But gradually they adapt and are able to carry out their duties as a novice efficiently and correctly. Strangely, in spite of all the tension, one feels a refreshing vigor. (pg. 53)

Read the full article from the blog "Japan Life and Religion"

Ushering Wellness: The Convergence of Buddhism and Psychoanalysis

Once considered esoteric by most Westerners, Buddhism and psychoanalysis have come to infiltrate much of contemporary culture. His Holiness the Dalai Lama has become a universal symbol of peace and good will. Buddhist meditation centers abound in most urban centers, and increasingly the scientific community has given credence to the ameliorative impact of meditation on many psychological struggles, including depression and anxiety.

The same is true for psychoanalysis. What was once a stigmatized option for the mentally ill and affluent, therapy -- at least in most urban settings -- is today almost a rite of passage. It's the rare New Yorker who has made it through the various travails of contemporary life -- finishing one's formal education, finding a partner, making a living -- without seeking some form of psychoanalytic support. Add to these pervasive struggles the distressing issue of terrorism, the rise of childhood diseases including autism and leukemia and the onslaught of stimulation from advances in technology, and you have a population increasingly eager for help in finding psychological and spiritual wellness.

Read the rest of the article from The Huffington Post

A Meditation on Shopping and Desire

Theology comes to terms with consumer culture

(Originally posted and written from a Christian perspective for the recent holiday season this is still a good article and worth reading)

Free Buddhist eBook Library

The Numata Center, publishers of Gudo Nishijima's translation of Dogen's masterpiece, Shobogenzo is host to a large free collection of Buddhist ebooks and sutras including the Vimalakirti and Lotus Sutras, Sutra of Perfect Enlightenment, and the Hui Neng's Platform Sutra, to name a few.

The Dude Abides

Jeff Bridges riffs on meditation, laziness, and his “groovy” Buddhist beliefs

Jeff Bridges enters the living room of his hotel suite carrying a dark blue Shambhala paperback by Chögyam Trungpa titled Training the Mind and Cultivating Loving-Kindness. “One reason I’m anxious—because I have some anxiety about this interview, like you do,” he says, as he arranges his long body on the couch, “is that I wish I could be more facile with these things that I find so interesting and care about and want to express to people.” He opens the book. “This will be a challenge for me,” he says. “But I’ll attempt it.”

Read more:

Monday, January 3, 2011