Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Friday, April 22, 2011

The role of females in Japanese Buddhism

Merrick speaker describes "androcentric" society

In the 122nd annual Merrick Lecture on April 13, Lori Meeks said the role of women in Buddhism is both complex and multi-dimensional.

Meeks is a professor of religion at the University of Southern California.

When talking about women in Buddhism, Meeks said she chooses her words carefully.

"I use the word androcentric [male centered] instead of misogynistic because Buddhism doesn't necessarily show a hatred of women; it is just centered on men," Meeks said.

Read the full article from Buddhist Channel

The Silence of Sounds

One day Buddha's disciple Subhuti, in a mood of sublime emptiness, was sitting under a tree. Flowers began to fall on him.

"We are praising you for your discourse upon emptiness", the gods whispered to him.
"But I have not spoken of emptiness," said Subhuti.
"You have not spoken of emptiness and we have not heard emptiness," responded the gods. This is true emptiness.
And blossoms showered upon Subhuti as rain.

Sozan, a Chinese Zen master, was asked by a student: "What is the most valuable thing in the world?"
The master replied: "The head of a dead cat."
"Why is the head of a dead cat the most valuable thing in the world?" inquired the student.
Sozan replied: "Because no one can name its price."

Such enigmatic parables, from the 13th-century Zen Buddhist text Shaseki-shu (Collection of Stone and Sand) and later writings, have long fascinated the non-Buddhist world....

Read the full article from Mail & Guardian Online

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The 2011 TIME 100: Dharma Master Cheng Yen

Buddhism teaches that suffering is inescapable but that everyone has the potential to overcome it. Taiwan's Dharma Master Cheng Yen is the embodiment of such a soul. As a spiritual guru, Cheng Yen, 73, has an ethereal quality. Yet the Buddhist nun is also the well-grounded, no-nonsense head of a non-profit humanitarian machine with divisions in 50 countries and nearly 10 million supporters and volunteers. The Tzu Chi Foundation (tzu chi means compassionate relief) is known for the astonishing speed and efficiency with which it brings aid to victims of natural disasters. Wherever calamities occur, Tzu Chi volunteers and experts arrive promptly, dispensing food, medicine, blankets and warm clothing (as they did recently in Japan) and, in the long term, rebuilding homes, clinics and schools. Countless numbers have drawn succor from Tzu Chi's beneficence.

Read more:,28804,2066367_2066369_2066393,00.html #ixzz1KB5TI4qF

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Compassion Meditation: Mapping Current Research and Charting Future Directions

This conference brings leading scientists and educators into dialogue with His Holiness the Dalai Lama to discuss the state of current research on empathy and compassion, the scientific study of meditation practices for cultivating compassion, and the implementation of such meditation programs in various clinical and educational settings.

Moving past distraction to inner peace

‘Rid yourself of distracting thoughts by concentrating on the five senses and you will feel happiness return.’

Our lives are filled with distractions, yet it is difficult to rid ourselves of distracting thoughts when they enter our minds. We think about yesterday’s failures or our worries about the future and then exaggerate these ideas, which bring us unhappiness. That, in turn, increases our regret and worry and the cycle begins again.

But for thousands of Koreans, a young Japanese monk is providing some sage wisdom about how to free themselves from the cycle. His name is Koike Ryunosuke, 33, and his book, “Practice Not Being Angry,” sold 70,000 copies in Korea just 10 days after it was released in March.....

Continue reading the article and interview from the JoongAng Daily

On the Road with Thich Nhat Hanh

A feature-length documentary about monks and nuns on tour with their Teacher, Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh

On the road with Thich Nhat Hanh (working title) from Max Pugh on Vimeo.

This unique feature-length documentary will share the real life of the monastics in the Plum Village Tradition: their life as young people with aspirations, hopes and dreams, their trials and challenges along with their joys and happiness in the practice and their daily coming and goings whilst touring with their teacher. It will depict the true life of a monk or a nun, sharing their moments of peace and calm as well as their disappointments and tensions while traveling as a community of 50 or 60 monastic brother and sisters. In doing so, it will reveal a unique form of monastic training that has developed and evolved from an ancient tradition of sharing the Dharma, using many modern means. The film will also reveal the human side of these monks and nuns--real people who can and do practice with every aspect of their human existence and not just as solemn recluses.

Learn more about the film here, donate to its production and stay up to date on its progress!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Korean ruling party and Buddhist order reconciles

In a possible breakthrough to the ruling Grand National Party’s (GNP) efforts to end a standoff with Buddhist circles, the Jogye Order, the largest Buddhist sect in Korea, has allowed a group of party officials to hold a Mass at one of its temples, a GNP official said yesterday.

Several GNP lawmakers who are Buddhists plan to hold the ceremony at Jogye Temple in downtown Seoul on Tuesday, according to the official at the office of GNP Representative Cho Yoon-sun. The official requested anonymity.

It would be the first time that lawmakers participate in a Mass at the temple since the summer of 2008.

In January this year, the Jogye Order sent a directive to its member temples banning government officials and GNP lawmakers from attending any Buddhist events. The action came after the GNP passed a budget bill in December slashing state aid for temple stay tourism programs from 18.5 billion won ($17 million) in 2010 to 12.2 billion won.

Government officials later explained that there was miscommunication in earmarking the budget and gave assurances that the funding would be reinstated to the former level. But that wasn’t enough to assuage suspicions of religious partiality after President Lee Myung-bak, a Presbyterian, took office in 2008. The Jogye Order also declared it would reject state funding until Lee’s term ends in February 2013.

Continue reading at The Buddhist Channel

Don't Forget to Breathe (Thank you, Thich Nhat Hanh)

Blog by fellow IBS USA seminary student Lawrence Grecco;

My default position is feeling overextended and like I just don’t have enough time. It’s a state that I easily gravitate to despite many years of practicing and supposedly “knowing better.”

Many people operate this way, and I’m really good at pointing it out in others when I see it happening. But until very recently I hadn’t been fully able to acknowledge this tendency within myself.

Secretly I had this idea that slowing down, pausing, and leaving some gaps open instead of filling every minute of the day with some kind of activity is for those other practitioners, not this one. I’m the exception; I’m just too busy after all. Seminary studies and practice, work, socializing, television. Blame it on the rain, or even the dharma for that matter. Gaps are for saps....

Continue reading the article at his blog, Open Sky Zen here.

Noah Levine: Heart of the Revolution

Following the trend of many self-destructive youths in the United States, Dharma Punk Noah Levine's search for meaning in life first led him to punk rock, drinking, drugs, violence, jail, and dissatisfaction.
Fortunately, his search did not end there. Having clearly seen the uselessness of drugs and violence, Levine looked for positive ways to channel his rebellion against what he saw as the lies society tells us. Author of Dharma Punx, Against the Stream, and Heart of the Revolution, Levine (son of famous Buddhist parents Stephen and Ondrea Levine) is now a Buddhist teacher, author, and counselor.

Buy Noah Levine's new book, Heart of the Revolution, here.

At USC on Oct. 29, 2009, Levine talked about how he fueled his anger and energy into the practice of Buddhism to awaken his natural wisdom and compassion. The program is sponsored by the USC Office of Religious Life, in association with USC Spectrum.

China police blockading Tibetan monastery, say exiles

2,500 monks under house arrest at Kirti Buddhist monastery in Sichuan province, according to reports relayed from scene

Chinese state media have confirmed reports of clashes between monks and police at a Tibetan monastery in Sichuan province, but deny it has been blockaded.

The Global Times said "Chinese police intervened to control lamas that had stirred up trouble" at Kirti monastery in Aba county, western China.

Tibetan exiles said armed police surrounded the complex last Tuesday and refused to allow monks to enter or leave. The Dalai Lama warned late last week that the situation could turn "explosive".

The International Campaign for Tibet said hundreds of residents gathered outside Kirti last Tuesday fearing authorities would forcibly remove monks for a "patriotic education" campaign after the self-immolation of a young lama. Citing exile sources, it alleged that security forces beat protesters and unleashed dogs on the crowd as they forced their way through to the monastery, surrounding it and preventing up to 2,500 monks from leaving.....

Continue reading here.

Hell as a temporary measure

Christian evangelicals – especially American ones – are known for their rigid adherence to the literal truth of the scriptures, but now we have one of them, Rob Bell, questioning the existence of hell as a place of eternal damnation. His views have stirred controversy, but in the Buddhist community, radical interpretations of hell have been around for some time. Eyebrows are raised at some of the more extreme views, but generally western (rather than ethnic) Buddhists tend to be even-handed in their approach to controversial issues.

The historical Buddha, Gautama Shakyamuni, was born into ancient Indian culture 2,600 years ago. Based on the principle of perpetual reincarnation, hell is a stopping point where souls burn off evil before proceeding to the next life.

In this respect, the Buddha's ideas about hell realms are similar to Bell's, in that they are not regarded as permanent – although time scales are vast, as human consciousness migrates through the after-death experience. They are recorded in lurid detail in the earliest Buddhist scriptures, the Pali Canon....

Continue reading at The

Bhutan: Gross National Happiness

Public policy in Bhutan rejects 'materialistic' development paradigms in favour of a focus on spiritual wellbeing

Bhutan, a tiny nation in the Himalayas with a population of about 700,000 , is the only country that measures its progress by the level of happiness among its citizens. The term gross national happiness (GNH) was coined by Bhutan's King Jigme Singye Wangchuck in 1972. In 2008, Jigmi Y Thinley, the prime minister, launched a GNH index to guide public policy.

Seated on his office sofa in a knee-length robe, the national dress for Bhutanese men, Thinley told me that conventional development paradigms were "unsustainable, purely materialistic and very narrow". He explained:

"In the end, the development must be about furthering human civilisation … to increase and improve the level of human wellbeing and happiness. We are talking of happiness not of a sensory kind. The human being has material as well as emotional, psychological and spiritual needs."
According to the official website of GNH, GDP-based indicators promote rapid material progress at the expense of "environmental preservation, cultures, and community cohesion", the key objectives of GNH.

The website goes on to explain the GNH index with a splatter of religious terms throughout. Spiritual activities like meditation and prayers and "consideration of karmic effects" in one's life are among the indicators of happiness. It calls for training of mental faculties towards happiness. "From a contemplative perspective, extreme reliance on externally derived pleasure distracts the individual from inner sources of happiness, elevating the latter," the website quotes Dasho Karma Ura, the Bhutanese scholar who helped develop the index, as saying....

Continue reading at The

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Dharma Talk - Anger

Talk Given By: Deokwun Sunim
Sunday, April 17, 2011
Duration - 8:56 (Technical Difficulties cut recording short....)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Prisons as Monasteries

Unlocking the Mind: British monk takes Buddha's message of compassion to prison inmates 'gone astray'

It is one singular word of his master that he has been following for over three decades. In 1977 Khemadhammo, a Briton already ordained as a monk, followed Ajahn Chah on what he initially thought would be a two-month trip to revisit his homeland, Britain. One day sitting on a train, the disciple consulted his mentor about how to respond to a request inviting him to serve as a visiting Buddhist minister at three prisons there. "Pai", or "go", was what the late Ajahn Chah uttered.

"That was it. And I have been going to prisons ever since," said Khemadhammo, founder and spiritual director of Angulimala, a chaplaincy organisation that has introduced Buddhism to over a hundred prisons throughout the UK. For his dedicated service to prison inmates, in 2003 Queen Elizabeth II bestowed him with an OBE (Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire), and the following year His Majesty the King of Thailand granted him the ecclesiastical title of Chao Khun Bhavanaviteht, the second foreign-born monk to receive such an honour.

On his recent visit to Thailand the monk, now 66, was invited to be a keynote speaker at an annual talk organised by SEM (Spirit in Education Movement). It was part of the Thai NGO's month-long programme to improve public understanding of people who have supposedly "gone astray", during which the venerable monk got the opportunity to meet and share his experiences, in a closed-door meeting, with Thai people who work with prison inmates and juvenile delinquents.

Luang Por Khemadhammo began his talk with a brief summary of his background. Born into a middle-class Christian family, at 17 he took up professional acting and later became interested in Buddhism. At 27, he decided to travel to Asia, and ended up in Bangkok where he was ordained as a novice. One day, he chanced upon an old friend from London, who said to him: "If you want to be a real monk, there's only one place: Wat Nong Pah Pong". And off he went to Ubon Ratchathani province where he spent the next five and a half years under the tutelage of Ajahn Chah, one of the most famous meditation masters at that time....

Read more from Bangkok Post

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Learning Equanimity from Birthers

From fellow IBS USA seminary student, Lawrence Grecco:

Sometimes I learn how to cultivate a positive quality by witnessing how it’s polar opposite gets played out either by myself or people around me.

Lately I’ve had the opportunity to work with cultivating equanimity, specifically with regard to birthers who continue to spread the lie that President Obama may not have been born in this country. On the surface they present this as an issue of legitimacy (since only a natural born U.S. citizen can be president), but even more disturbing are the not-so-subtle undertones of racism implicit within this kind of talk.

Equanimity isn’t just some mellow state where I can be completely chill and detached from whatever is going on around me, but a state of mind that doesn’t discriminate between “me” and “them.” It asks that we recognize that all beings are essentially interconnected and the lines we draw between ourselves are illusory and only serve to cause more suffering for ourselves and others....

Read the full post at his blog Open Sky Zen

Lanterns for Buddha’s Birthday

The Buddha’s Birthday (April 10, this year) is far and away the most important celebration on the Korean Buddhist calender. The preparations start nearly a year ahead of time at our center, and by January preparations are in full gear. By the time things are finished in April, the lanterns and floats will be gorgeous!

For everyone in the Seoul area, there’s been one important change this year: the main lantern parade will begin at dusk Saturday, May 7th, and will go from Dongguk University to Jogye Temple. Sunday, May 8th, will be the street fair in front of Jogye Temple, with a celebration/party in the evening.

View more pictures at Wake Up and Laugh!

Three Monks Named Mu

From Jack Daw:

This is the story of three little monks. Three little monks named Mu.
Three little monks stuck in a rut. Three little monks with nothing to do.
Backs so sore and feet asleep, robes a-tattered and minds still meek.
Three little monks left the temple. Three little monks who knew no better....

Read the full story at Great Plains Buddha.

Buddhist temples, 'seowon' to go global

Seoul, South Korea -- President Lee Myung-bak called for overseas promotions of traditional Buddhist temples and “seowon,” the most common educational institutions during the Joseon Kingdom (1392-1910), Friday, to help foreigners better understand the country’s culture and customs.

“We must find effective communication tools from our rich cultural heritage. Foreigners can experience the essence of our culture at traditional temples and seowon,” Lee said during a meeting of the Presidential Council on Nation Branding at Cheong Wa Dae.

“Temples demonstrate the country’s Buddhist culture while the seowon show Confucian values. We need to share such cultural assets with foreigners and make more efforts to preserve them.”

The council plans to launch diverse programs to promote the seowon abroad, according to its Chairwoman Lee Bae-yong, a history professor.
Seowon were private institutions that combined the functions of a Confucian shrine and a preparatory school.

Read the full article from The Korea Times

In Pursuit of Understanding

How different cultures confront the fact of death

To a Mountain in Tibet. By Colin Thubron. Harper; 240 pages; $24.99. Chatto & Windus; Buy from

The physical journeys that Colin Thubron makes in his travel writing are also intellectual and emotional quests of particular intensity. His latest book, which tells the story of his journey to one of the great sacred places in the world, Mount Kailas in southern Tibet, is no exception.

The mountain itself is an important site of pilgrimage for Hindus, Buddhists and followers of ancient Tibetan faiths. The goal is to seek purification by trudging round the mountain on a route that is physically demanding but brings spiritual reward. Some die from the effort, others give up, all are possessed by the sense that they are living close to a divine presence.

Like his earlier work, the book reminds us that for Mr Thubron travel is a kind of ascetic discipline. He takes the reader to high places, literally and metaphorically, and to an understanding of how people from other cultures somehow get by in an unpredictable world.

The Way of the Bodhisattva

By: C. Clinton Sidle

Bodhisattva is a term Buddhists use to describe someone who is on the path to enlightenment but postpones the ultimate goal for the sake of helping others arrive there first. Bodhi generally means awakened, and Sattva most often means being, essence or spirit. I have also known Sattva to mean warrior. I like "awakened warrior" best.

What might this mean to us in our daily lives?

In his treatise A Guide to a Bodhisattva's Way of Life, eighth century Buddhist master Shantideva said, "All the suffering in the world comes from seeking pleasure for oneself. All the happiness in the world comes from seeking pleasure for others." That, I believe, captures the essence of how this might matter to you and me.....

Continue reading at The Huffington Post

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Dharma Talk - Name and Form (Dharma Names)

Talk Given By: Hae Doh Sunim
Sunday, April 10, 2011
Duration - 28:08

A brief explanation of each new "Dae" family name is given.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

2011 Spring Taego Protocol Retreat/Precept Ceremony Photo Album

Click the link below to view the photo album online at Google's Picasa Web Album. You can download, print, and share any and all of the photos.

Click here to view the photo album online.


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Dharma Talk - Different Conditions

Given By: Venerable Dr. Jongmae Kenneth Park, Bishop of the Taego Overseas Parish during the 2011 Spring Protocol Retreat/Precept Ceremony

April 3, 2011
Duration - 11:09

Monday, April 4, 2011

Ven. Hae In's Visit to MWZ

An excerpt from Ven. Hae In's (Taegojong Washington Sangha) reflections on his 1st visit to MWZ during the 2011 Spring Taego Protocol Retreat and Precept Ceremony.

I had the pleasure this past weekend of attending the annual Spring Retreat of the Taegojong Overseas Parish, at the Muddy Water Zen Center in Royal Oak Michigan, very near to Detroit. I learned a great deal about the Taego Order in general and the Overseas Parish in particular, and I am so happy to know that the news is uniformly positive.

First, Jongmae Sunim is a wise, learned and humorous teacher. Actually I already knew that from my first meeting with Teacher but it was confirmed and reinforced by seeing him with his other disciples....

Read his full blog at

Why Do Buddhists Bow?

Rabbi Simcha Bunim of Peshicha (1765-1827) used to say that everyone should keep a piece of paper with “for my sake the world was created” in one pocket, and a piece of paper with “I am but dust and ashes” in another. The Rabbi was expressing an existential truth: each individual being is important, but not self-important.

The practice of bowing can sometimes be difficult for Westerners to fully appreciate. They often see it as a violation of the Biblical injunction against bowing down before graven images and idol worship or associate it with “kow-towing:” acceptance of undemocratic status differentials, submission to power, and self-abasement.

These connotations may prevent Westerners from experiencing the beauty of bowing practice. Bowing is an expression of Buddhism through motion. In Zen, for example, one bows upon entering the Zendo, bows to the Buddha, bows to one’s cushion, bows to one’s teachers, and bows to one’s fellow practitioners. Zen is a bona-fide bowing bonanza. What’s the meaning of all these bows?

Continue reading at The Existential Buddhist

The first smart phone application developed by the Jogye Order

The Bureau of Dharma Propagation of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism unveiled its first smart phone applications, which were developed as part of the Jogye Order’s efforts to adapt to and utilize the ever changing digital space for the propagation of Buddhism.
Ven. Jeongho, Head of the Department of Propagation Research, the Bureau of Dharma Propagation held a press conference at the meeting room on the 2nd floor of the Korean Buddhist Culture and History Memorial Hall and introduced new smart phone applications entitled ‘Hello Dharma School’ and ‘Heart
Sutra (chanting).’ Developed by the Department of Propagation Research, these apps will be distributed and made available for free at Apple’s App Store, Android Market, T Store and KT Olleh Market.

Continue reading from Zen Mirror.

Download the app here.

15 Virtues of Korean Buddhism

1. Temples

The temples temples are beautiful. They blend with nature as if Mother Nature herself built them. They are cradled by the mountains and replenished by brooks and rivers. The temple buildings are simple yet ornate. One could hardly find a more serene and beautiful sanctuary anywhere in the world.

2. Temple Food

It is delicious, nutritious, and good for the environment and living beings. The 100% vegetarian food served at Korean temples are prepared from fresh vegetable often grown on temple grounds. The preparation is often simple without many spices. Temple food never uses the five pungent vegetables from the onion family, which are supposed to hinder meditation practice. Artificial flavorings are also never used for a clean and light taste.

3. Seon Meditation
The Seon (meditation tradition) has an unbroken lineage back to the founder of Seon, Bodhidharma. The tradition of the three-month summer and winter retreats are maintained at over 100 temples with over 1000 monastics engaging in retreat.

Read about the other 12 from

Do You Understand Your Job?

From Sweeping Zen:

I’ve been reading a lovely book by Richard Shrobe (Zen Master Wu Kwang) who is the guiding teacher of the Chogye International Zen Center of New York. It’s called “Elegant Failure, a guide to Zen koans.” The book contains a selection of koans, and Mr. Shrobe notes that in his Korean tradition, talks on a koan are opened with a four-line presentation encapsulating the koan. The final lines reveal the essence.

In one of his presentations, he completes the introductory phrases with the following:

A dog understands a dog’s job.

A cat understands a cat’s job.

Do you understand your job?

This struck me as the most basic question we can put to ourselves, greater even than the familiar “Who am I?” Indeed, who I am is deeply entwined with my job in this life, whatever that may be. For we are what we do even more profoundly than what we think or feel. So how am I to understand my job?...

Continue reading at Sweeping Zen.

An Hour of Meditation Training Reduces Pain Response

WASHINGTON, USA -- Meditation can deliver powerful pain-relieving effects to the brain with even just 80 minutes' training for a beginner in an exercise called focused attention, a study released Tuesday found.
"This is the first study to show that only a little over an hour of meditation training can dramatically reduce both the experience of pain and pain-related brain activation," said Fadel Zeidan, lead author of the study and a post-doctoral research fellow at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in North Carolina.

The findings appear in the April 6 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.

"We found a big effect -- about a 40-percent reduction in pain intensity and a 57-percent reduction in pain unpleasantness. Meditation produced a greater reduction in pain than even morphine or other pain-relieving drugs, which typically reduce pain ratings by about 25 percent," he added.

Read more from Buddhist Channel.

Nepal begins restoration of Buddha's birthplace

KATHMANDU, Nepal -- An international conservation team has begun work on restoring three endangered monuments at Buddha's supposed birthplace in southern Nepal, officials said on Tuesday.
The team, led by Italian conservation expert Costantino Meucci, will restore the marker stone, nativity sculpture and Ashoka pillar in Lumbini, 250 kilometres (150 miles) southwest of Nepal's capital Kathmandu.

Lumbini, declared a world heritage site by UNESCO in 1997, is visited by Buddhist pilgrims from around the world, and the month-long restoration campaign is funded by the Japanese government.

The marker stone is believed to be the exact site of Buddha's birth while the nativity sculpture is a carving that shows Buddha's mother holding a tree branch for support during his birth.

The Ashoka pillar was built by an Indian king in the third century BC.

"We will clean the nativity sculpture. Its outer layer is peeling. The Ashoka pillar is deteriorating due to human activities and biological effects," conservation expert Meucci told reporters.

"Offerings such as sugar and oil by devotees have probably caused changes in the colour of the marker stone," Meucci added.

Gautama Siddhartha, who later became known as Buddha or the Enlightened One, is believed to have been born around 500 BC.,10037,0,0,1,0

World's first comprehensive Buddhist museum opens in Kyoto

I plan to visit here in June --

Kyoto, Japan -- Ryukoku Museum, believed to be the world's first comprehensive Buddhist museum, has opened in Kyoto's Shimogyo Ward. The three-story museum with a basement opened yesterday.

It was launched by Ryukoku University, a private university based on the spirit of the Shin Buddhism school, to introduce the origin and history of Buddhism, as well as various cultural assets associated with the world renown religion. In addition to its permanent exhibits, stored items at the university will be on display in featured exhibitions scheduled to be held several times a year.

The articles possessed by the university include artifacts collected during an early 20th century expedition in central Asia led by Japanese Buddhist leader and explorer Kozui Otani. In commemoration of the museum's opening, it is currently holding a special exhibit titled, "Buddha and Shinran," displaying some 660 Buddhist statues and scriptures from Japan and other Asian countries. It will run until March 25, 2012, to coincide with the 750th anniversary next year of the passing of Shinran, the founder of Shin Buddhism.,10041,0,0,1,0

Mindfulness and Murder

Monastic murder mystery
Author Nick Wilgus and director Tom Waller on why 'Mindfulness and Murder' is much more than a straightforward whodunit

It all began, in the words of author Nick Wilgus, "with the image of an old Buddhist monk walking into a bathroom early one morning and finding a dead body. I thought about that image for a long time, thinking there might be a story in it."

There actually is. Wilgus is a former Bangkok Post chief subeditor who took time off from correcting copies of writers to spin that sole image into a novel called Mindfulness and Murder. In the vein of Father Brown, the detective priest, or even Sherlock Holmes in his deducing process, the unlikely sleuth in Wilgus' book is Father Ananda, a ruminative ex-cop who's now a Buddhist monk in a Bangkok temple.

When a dead body turns up in a water jar and the police are reluctant to take action, Ananda begins the investigation himself and soon uncovers a few inconvenient truths about his monastery.

Today, the movie version of Mindfulness and Murder _ or Sop Mai Ngieb _ opens in the cinemas. Adapted for the screen and directed by Tom Waller, an Irish-Thai producer/filmmaker, the film is adding a new shelf in the menagerie of monk characters in Thai movies. Though not exactly a mind-twisting detective flick of the highest order, the film rides on a moody atmosphere, while its portrayal of the cloistered monastic existence _ in good and bad ways _ is honest and far from simply flattering...

Continue reading from the Bangkok Post

TED - Chade-Meng Tan: Everyday compassion at Google

Buddhist Thoughts on Impermanence, Plutonium and Beauty

By Lewis Richmond:

One evening, after my Zen teacher Shunryu Suzuki had finished his talk, a student raised his hand. "You've been talking about Buddhism for nearly an hour," he said with some agitation, "and I haven't been able to understand a thing you said. Could you say one thing about Buddhism I can understand?"

Suzuki waited patiently until the nervous laughter died down and then quietly said, "Everything changes".....

Continue reading at The Huffington Post