Thursday, July 28, 2011

U.S. Economy Grinds To Halt As Nation Realizes Money Just A Symbolic, Mutually Shared Illusion

From The Onion (but notice how it's actually true, and quite Buddhist....)

The U.S. economy ceased to function this week after unexpected existential remarks by Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke shocked Americans into realizing that money is, in fact, just a meaningless and intangible social construct.

What began as a routine report before the Senate Finance Committee Tuesday ended with Bernanke passionately disavowing the entire concept of currency, and negating in an instant the very foundation of the world's largest economy.

"Though raising interest rates is unlikely at the moment, the Fed will of course act appropriately if we…if we…" said Bernanke, who then paused for a moment, looked down at his prepared statement, and shook his head in utter disbelief. "You know what? It doesn't matter. None of this—this so-called 'money'—really matters at all."

"It's just an illusion," a wide-eyed Bernanke added as he removed bills from his wallet and slowly spread them out before him. "Just look at it: Meaningless pieces of paper with numbers printed on them. Worthless."....

Continue reading here.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

12 Buddhists On Twitter You Should Be Following

List from The Huffington Post:

If you are a Buddhist or somebody who is just curious about the tradition and the issues facing it today, Twitter is a great starting point for getting in on the conversation. Here we've compiled several of the prominent teachers, writers and organizations that we follow to help us stay clued in on the world of Buddhism.

We invite you to follow them, and also join our conversation @HuffPostRelig! Be sure to add your suggestions below if we left your favorite Buddhist on Twitter off the list....

View the list here.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Dharma Talk - Keeping It Real

Talk Given By: IBS USA Seminary/MWZ Dharma Student Dae Bup (Brian Miessner)
Sunday, July 24, 2011
Duration - 19:02

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Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Land of the Disappearing Buddha

Buddhism: The Buddhism: The Land of the Disappearing Buddha-Japan (Vol. 9)
If the Buddha of India met the Buddha of Japan, would they recognize each other? To find out, this program talks to the staff in a Tokyo restaurant who keep regular Zen meditation schedules as part of their job, then on to the classical Zen calligraphy, swordfighting, archery and tea ceremony.

Robert Thurman on Buddhism

From The Washington Post

Robert Thurman, Professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies at Columbia University, explains some of his experiences and beliefs in Buddhism. (Cristina M. Fletes)

Foundation, UN to transform Buddha site

As part of a plan to raise $3 billion to turn Buddha’s birthplace in Nepal into a Mecca for Buddhists, a Hong Kong-based transnational foundation signed a memorandum last Friday with a United Nations agency that promotes industrialization in developing countries.

Buddha, or Prince Gautama Siddhartha, was born under this Sala tree around 623 BC in Lumbini, 171 km southwest of Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu, according to local legend.

The United Nations Industrial Development Organization will rely on its Beijing-based investment and technology promotion office for China to offer technical support for the project in Lumbini, Nepal....

Continue reading BuddhistArtNews

Charges Against Buddhist Nun Dismissed

Buddhist nun arrested while handing out prayer beads for donations to rebuild her burned down temple can finally get back to completing her mission.
Prosecutors on Monday moved to dismiss charges against Baojing Li, 48, a spiritual leader whose Atlanta-area home and place of worship was badly damaged in a March fire.

Li came to Manhattan to solicit help from the city's large Chinese community and has been staying at an East Broadway house of worship since the fire. She was handing out 50-cent beads from China at Canal and Mott Streets when she was arrested on June 2.

Police from a Midtown task force assigned to crack down on unlicensed vendors spotted her and accused her of selling "costume jewelry." She was charged with a misdemeanor, a conviction which could have caused her immigration problems....

Continue reading from Buddhist Channel TV

Former Buddhist Novice Burns To Death

A former Buddhist novice has burned herself to death in an apparent act of devotion to a monk who committed self-immolation last year to protest the government’s controversial Four Rivers Project.

The body of the woman, who was in her 40s and only identified by her surname ‘Lee,’ was found in front of a stupa (monument to house Buddhist relics) for the dead monk, the Venerable Munsu, at Jibosa temple, 200 kilometers southeast of Seoul, yesterday.

Police presume the death was suicide but are investigating the exact circumstances surrounding the incident.

According to an official from the Jogye Order, the country’s largest Buddhist denomination, Lee left a suicide note at the spot saying she was following Venerable Munsu’s will.

Venerable Munsu, 47, set himself on fire on a river bank near the Jibosa temple in May 2010, after demanding President Lee Myung-bak’s government “stop the river project immediately and try its best to serve poor people, not the rich.”....

Continue reading at Buddhist Channel TV

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Street name change irks Buddhists

Jogye Order files complaint against removal of temple-related street names

The nation’s largest Buddhist sect is strongly protesting the government’s new address system in which some streets named after temples have been given new names unrelated to Buddhism.

Ven. Jeongman, a spokesman of the Jogye Order, expressed Buddhists’ opposition to the name changes to officials at the Public Administration and Security Ministry who visited Jogye Temple in central Seoul, Thursday.

The protest may re-ignite the dispute between the Lee Myung-bak administration and the nation’s Buddhist sector, which has claimed Lee, a Christian, discriminates against Buddhism.

“Replacing the original temple-related names with new ones is depriving people of identities which have ‘stories.’ We fear the new names may take away from the Korean tradition,” Ven. Jeongman said....

Continue reading from The Korea Times

Monday, July 18, 2011

Dharma Talk - Manifesting Liberation

Talk Given By: Hae Doh Sunim
Sunday, July 17, 2011
Duration - 16:30

Temples of change

No longer cloistered, Buddhist monasteries now house thriving communities that develop in tandem with the rest of secular China. Cang Wei visits two leading temples and talks to the abbots.
It's not easy becoming a Buddhist monk. To gain admission into the Lingyin Monastery at Hangzhou's scenic West Lake, a would-be monk needs to complete four years of seminary studies. Graduation still does not guarantee him a place. He would have to go through a rigorous selection process that includes having a glowing testimonial from the seminary, which will then qualify him for a preliminary interview with senior monks.

Master Guangquan, abbot of Hangzhou's Lingyin Temple, thinks the best way to spread Buddhism is through a softer, cultural approach.

But if he does gain admission, he would be part of a slowly growing community facing daily challenges and changes.
According to Master Shuguang, who heads the Qixia Temple in East China's Jiangsu province, there are more than 2,100 temples in the country and about 250,000 monks, including 70,000 who are ethnic Han and 130,000 Tibetan Buddhist monks.....

Continue reading at China Daily.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Buddha: The Story in Manga and Art, Tokyo National Museum

From the Financial Times, excerpt from BuddhistArtNews;

Mounting an exhibition that matches some of Japan’s most precious Buddhist sculpture with the work of a comic book artist might sound like an exercise in going from the sublime to the ridiculous.

Not so. Though Buddha: The Story in Manga and Art, which runs until Sunday at the Tokyo National Museum, is certainly an unusual cross-genre exercise, it offers some intriguing parallels between the work of late artist and author Osamu Tezuka and more classical Buddhist iconographers.

Nor would many Japanese see anything silly or sacrilegious in this unprecedented exercise in putting manga, as comics are known here, on a level with sacred art. Thanks in no small part to the work of Tezuka – who died in 1989 but is still revered as the “god of manga” – comics and animation are now almost universally seen as part of mainstream Japanese culture....

Continue reading here.

Note: I personally visited this exhibit while I was in Japan last month. Contact me if interested in viewing limited exhibition book.

Obama meets with Dalai Lama

President Barack Obama met with Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, Saturday at the White House despite protests from China.

During the closed-door visit, Obama was expected to "highlight his enduring support for dialogue between the Dalai Lama's representatives and the Chinese government to resolve differences," the White House said.

The president last met with his fellow Nobel Peace laureate in February 2010.

"This meeting underscores the President's strong support for the preservation of Tibet's unique religious, cultural and linguistic identity and the protection of human rights for Tibetans," the White House said in a statement....

Continue reading on CNN.

Dharma Talk - Murder By Asking: Right Speech

Talk Given By: Hae Doh Sunim
Sunday, July 10, 2011
Duration - 16:18

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At a crossroads: Buddhism in America is facing a generation shift

Crosses still adorn one wall of this former Roman Catholic monastery, but a 6-foot golden Buddha now anchors the main room. The meditation hall, also used as a meeting space, is where the luminaries of Buddhism in the West recently gathered to debate.

The issue they were facing had been percolating for years on blogs, in Buddhist magazines and on the sidelines of spiritual retreats. It often played out as a clash of elders versus young people, the preservers of spiritual depth versus the alleged purveyors of “Buddhism-lite.” Organizers of the gathering wanted the finger-pointing to end. The future of American Buddhism was at stake, they said.

So on a sweltering day at the Garrison Institute, a Buddhist retreat overlooking the Hudson River, the baby boomers who had popularized the tradition in the West met with younger leaders to tackle their differences...

Read the entire story from Tuscaloosa News.

Monday, July 11, 2011

35 < 35: A Book for and By Dharma Practitioners

An ongoing open submission project by Shambhala Publications with a chance at publication! All entires due by November 1, 2011.

This is a call for writings from Buddhist practitioners under the age of 35 on what it’s like to live the dharma every day. Shambhala Publications, one of the world’s pre-eminent publishers of dharma books, is putting a call out for personal essays (or poems, screenplays, short stories) of up to 1250 words (approximately 5 double-spaced pages).

The vast majority of current dharma books are written by people over the age of 50, which is not a problem–people of experience have important things to say. But so do those of us who are at the beginning of our path, who are face to face with Beginner’s Mind.

It is time for new voices to arise. A new generation is trying to bring its wisdom and practices to bear in a changing world with the aspiration to live a life of creativity, compassion, and service. We want to hear the voice of that new generation—your voice.

Submit your work to Shambhala Publications, home to Pema Chödrön, Shunryu Suzuki Roshi, Chögyam Trungpa, Ken Wilber, and many more. All accepted entries will be posted to a special section of our website dedicated to this project and promoted to Shambhala’s 50,000+ mailing list. Thirty-five essays will be chosen to be published in a digital and/or print book.

Get more information here.

Casey Anthony: Making a Case for Compassion

I live in Central Florida, where the Casey Anthony case has been in the forefront of the community consciousness for several years, and where the outcome of her trial was received with very strong emotions. Like the O.J. Simpson trial, the Anthony case fueled a controversy rife with feelings of animosity, distrust and betrayal. However, rather than participate in the controversy over her guilt or innocence, perhaps we can use our feelings about this particular tragedy as an opportunity for spiritual growth.

For a Buddhist, there are good religious reasons to abandon anger and cultivate kindness. However, there are also ample mental health-related incentives for transcending ill will and cultivating compassion - or at least what Albert Ellis termed unconditional other-acceptance - for the Casey Anthonys of the world....

Continue reading at Psychology Today
From Sensei Morris Sekiyo Sullivan

Buddhist Street Art and Graffiti

See more at BuddhistArtNews

Gandhara Art Exhibition in Seoul

Writer and poet, Esther Park, is leaving for South Korea on Friday with a bag full of photographs about Gandhara civilization that will be exhibited in art gallery at Seoul, South Korea, later this month. This Exhibition is fully sponsored by tourism and culture ministry of Khyber pakhtunkawa.

Esther Park settled down in Pakistan in 1999 and has never looked back she is pursuing her PHD. She has many a feathers in her cap in boosting the soft image of Pakistan all over the world.

She has written poems and co-authored books about Gandhara culture home of world oldest civilization. The selected photographs taken by Gulraiz Ghouri and German professor Dr Hauptman will be displayed during the month at an art exhibition at Na Mu gallery inside Jo Gye temple and will continue for 10 days.

The most interesting thing about the photographs is that it depicts the peace and tranquillity in Swat region in Khyber Pukhtunkhwa province which has been disturbed since long owing to militancy....

Continue reading at The Buddhist Channel.

New Book - PURIFYING ZEN: Watsuji Tetsuro's Shamon Dogen

Zen is baffling: You find yourself wrestling with thoughts such as "It is easy to grasp body-mind. The world is like rice or flax or bamboo or bulrushes."

Zen in translation is doubly baffling. Do words like body-mind, Buddha, the Way, love, compassion, truth, impermanence — even rice and flax — mean to us in English what they mean to the Japanese in their language, or the Chinese in theirs, or the Indians, who started it all, in theirs?

The monk Dogen (1200-1253) is known as the founder of the Soto sect of Zen, which in contrast to Rinzai Zen stresses meditation above all other practices, dismissing as irrelevant such Rinzai teaching devices as the "koan," the logic-defeating puzzles ("What is the sound of one hand clapping?") that fret and frustrate the mind until finally it ceases its self-defeating quest for comprehensible truth and accepts that truth is incomprehensible and all the more marvelous for that.

Watsuji Tetsuro (1889-1960), historian and philosopher, is considered one of modern Japan's deepest thinkers — benighted by liberals because he revered the Emperor, damned by conservatives for being, all the same, a democrat. He wrote the biography "Shamon Dogen" ("Dogen the Monk") in 1926 because, he explains, "The essence of our own culture cannot be properly understood without taking such religious figures into consideration."

Continue reading at The Japan Times.

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Koan Introspection: A Quick and Dirty Introduction

A friend in a recent blog posting referred to a deep question he was pondering as an "honest koan." As later today Jan & I are going to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art to see an exhibition of the work of the great koan master Hakuin Ekaku, it set me to thinking, once again, about how the word has been transformed within American English. He, and a host of others, including Zen teachers, although Zen teachers who've not engaged in the discipline of koan introspection, have come to use the word koan to stand for "a particularly thorny question." Actually I've even seen koan downgraded to simply be a synonym for "a question."

In several senses this use is not wrong.

First, language is mutable. It shifts and changes and is put to uses other than originally meant. And so what? Well, one does need to be a bit careful. The word "prevent" as used in the King James version of the Bible means "to lead forth." But, with koan we're nowhere near shifting the meaning to its opposite. So, again, so what?....

Continue reading from Monkey Mind.

R&E NewsWeekly - Tibetan Buddhist Mandalas

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

7 Meditations on Faith, From Buddhism to Atheism

Belief lies behind the best and worst of human history. Faith in something larger than the self—or lack thereof—has shaped our societies for millennia, so we thought it about time to take a survey of the topic. Given the rich and faceted nature of the subject, it's practically impossible to produce a list that is exhaustive, conclusive, and universal, but we've narrowed it down to six absorbing and provocative books, plus one documentary, about the human quest for existential meaning...

See the full list on The Atlantic.

The Heart Sutra Commentary by Zen Master Seung Sahn

The Heart Sutra has only two hundred seventy Chinese characters, yet it contains all of Mahayana Buddhism’s teaching. Inside this sutra is the essence of the Diamond Sutra, the Avatamsaka-sutra, and the Lotus Sutra. It contains the meaning of all the eighty-four thousand sutras. It is chanted in every Mahayana and Zen temple in the world. In Korean temples and in our Zen centers in the West, the Heart Sutra is chanted at least twice every day, in the morning and at night, and during retreats it is chanted more. Sometimes if you find that your mind is not clear, and meditation does not help so much, you must read this sutra. Then your mind will become clear.

Maha means big, great. Prajna means wisdom, and paramita means “going beyond,” or perfecting. Hridya means heart. And the Chinese characters for Heart
Sutra are shim gyong, or “mind road.” So this sutra is the “great path for the perfection of wisdom.”.....

Continue reading at Open Buddha

Friday, July 8, 2011

The dance of Buddha

From BuddhistArtNews

Korean monks, dancers and musicians give audience a glimpse of Nirvana.

Nirvana, a hypnotizing dance show from Korea, will tour Israel next month for the first time, after being presented in nearly 50 countries. The show, which is based on ancient ritual Buddhist dances, will be presented in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Herzliya and at Karmiel’s open-air theater as a part of the traditional dance festival. About 90 artists – dancers, Kodo drummers and musicians performing on other traditional instruments – will appear on stage.

The art of dance is very popular in Korea. Children are taught dancing in school from an early age, and about 50 of the country’s universities have dance departments, where classical, modern and traditional dance are taught and developed. Every city has a dance company of its own, in addition to the Korea National Ballet Company.

Buddhist dance is deeply rooted in Korea’s rich past, in its culture and history....

Continue reading on BuddhistArtNews

American Buddhism Keeps Asian Influence, Adapts to West

Boys aged five to 14 have their heads shaved as they start a five-day retreat. A rite of passage in many parts of the Buddhist world, it gives them an introduction to Buddhist teaching and offers a brief taste of the life of a monk. Here at the Hsi Lai Temple in Los Angeles, the congregation is predominantly Chinese American, but these children get their instruction in English.

A class of 31 boys receives instruction at the Hsi Lai Temple in Los Angeles, California, with their heads temporarily shaved as monks, in a retreat to introduce them more deeply to Buddhist life before they return to their regular lives, July 2011.

The Hong Kong-born director of outreach, Miao Hsi, explains that American Buddhism is largely divided on ethnic lines.

Continue reading at Zen Mirror...

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

4 Qualities of Mind that Alleviate Suffering

From Toni Bernhard on Psychology Today;

The four sublime emotions (also called the four heavenly abodes) are qualities of mind that we cultivate in order to alleviate our suffering and the suffering of others. In the language of the Buddha (Pali), they are called the brahma viharas, which means "the dwelling place of awakened beings."

The good news for us unawakened beings is that it's easy to begin cultivating the brahma viharas. Indeed, they are an integral part of other religious, spiritual, and humanistic traditions. I present them here with a distinctly Buddhist "flavor."....

Continue reading on the Turning Straw to Gold blog.

Related - Bup Mee's Dharma Talk - The Brahmaviharas May 22, 2011.

Lotus Lantern 2011 Summer Vol 46

Lotus Lantern 2011 Summer Vol 46


The Muddy Water Zen Dharma Podcast has just exceeded 10,000 Feed Hits since its inception!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Dharma Talk - Who Ya Callin' a Fool!?

Talk Given By: Hae Doh Sunim
Sunday, July 3, 2011.
Duration - 17:39

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Saint Young Men

Saint Young Men (聖☆おにいさん Seinto Oniisan) is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Hikaru Nakamura. It has been serialized by Kodansha in the monthly seinen manga magazine Morning 2 since 2007, with chapters collected in five tankōbon volumes as of June 2010.

The series is about Jesus Christ and Gautama Buddha living together in a Tokyo apartment while taking a vacation on Earth. The comedy often involves jokes about Christianity, Buddhism, and all things related, as well as the main characters attempts to understand modern society.

Saint Young Men received the 2009 Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize for Short Work Manga.
Saint Young Men was the tenth best-selling manga series in Japan for 2009 according to Oricon, with the four volumes selling over 2.6 million copies.Volumes three and four were among the top 25 best-selling manga for 2009. As the result of its popularity, issues of Morning 2 started selling out on newsstands; because of this, in May 2009 Kodansha began making the magazine available online the day it is published.

Read the English version online here, at MangaFox.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

June Podcast Stats

Below are the June Podcast Statistics plus YTD numbers (in parentheses):

Feed Hits: 1268 (9792)
Average Feed Hits Per Day: 43

Episode Hits: 643 (5907)

June Dharma Talks

Essence 6/19 - 69 Hits
Be A Light Unto Yourself 6/26 - 54 Hits
Wake Up! 6/12 - 52 Hits

Site Visitors: 138
Total Site Visitors: 1371

Position in iTunes Music Store Buddhist Podcast Category - #131