Monday, August 29, 2011

Walk to Feed the Hungry with BHIKKHU BODHI

Michigan Walk Flyer for POSTING

Friday, August 26, 2011

After the War

A documentary feature film in production.

Part social commentary, part spiritual odyssey, AFTER THE WAR is a portrait of a decorated soldier, traumatized veteran, self-described street junkie, author and ordained Zen Buddhist monk named Claude AnShin Thomas.

Get more info from Kickstarter

Buy At Hell's Gate: A Soldier's Journey from War to Peace from Amazon


Angry Asian Buddhist has posted essay by Alan Senauke on Race & Buddhism, the author of The Bodhisattva's Embrace:Dispatches from Engaged Buddhism's Front Lines.

Copied below is the first paragraph of the essay, click the link below to redirect to Angry Asian Buddhist to read the full essay:

Zen Master Dogen wrote “Gourd with its tendrils is entwined with gourd.” This means we are all intimately bound up, wound up with each other. Truly inseparable. At Buddhist Peace Fellowship, San Francisco Zen Center, and at Berkeley Zen Center, we have been talking about the complexities of diversity, race, zen practice, and our communities in the United States. This is not just about “political correctness;” it is about practice and awareness. My own thoughts are not entirely clear. If I sound critical, it includes self-criticism. My own efforts have fallen short and I think we need to work on this together.

Read the full essay at Angry Asian Buddhist

Buy The Bodhisattva's Embrace:Dispatches from Engaged Buddhism's Front Lines from Amazon

China Trying 3 Monks in Self-Immolation Case

China plans to try three Tibetan Buddhist monks for the death of a 16-year-old from their monastery who set himself on fire.
Tibetan rights groups say 16-year-old Rigzin Phuntsog set himself on fire in March to protest Chinese policies. China's state run news agency Xinhua said Friday the court in Aba in Sichuan province is charging two of his fellow monks for plotting and assisting in the self-immolation.

A third monk is being charged with moving or hiding the injured Phuntsog, preventing him from getting medical care, which lead to his death.

Xinhua says the trial for Tsering Tenzin, Tenchum and Drongdru will take place early next week.
All the monks were members of Kirti Monastery.

In April, China said it had started conducting “legal education” on monks at the monastery because the monks there had disobeyed Tibetan Buddhism rules and disrupted local order....

Continue reading at Voice of America.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

“Non-Violent” Superheroes

The new film — or “feature documentary film and 3D animated comic book” — Walking With Alfred Hassler, Thich Nhat Hanh and Sister Chan Khong is part of a series entitled “Peace is the Way,” made to highlight the life and contribution of real life super heroes to the peace movement. Watch the (great-looking!) trailer here.

Walking with Alfred Hassler, Thich Nhat Hanh and Sister Chan Khong Official Film Trailer from FairSoul-LIVE...ACT..BE on Vimeo.

Does Your Work Constitute ‘Right Livelihood?'

Does our work enhance the quality of life in the world, or cause harm? Are we practicing what Buddhists call "right livelihood?" These may seem like impractical questions to pose at a time when so many are desperately seeking any kind of work.

But maybe it’s the best time to engage in self-questioning, before we leap into the next job that may not be in keeping with our own principles or may even be counter-productive to what is good for society at large.

One of the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama–most commonly known as Buddha–is the principle of “right livelihood” offered as guidance for those who seek to earn one’s living in a righteous way....

Continue reading at Morristown Patch


Buddhism: The Most Accurate World Religion?

Buddhism is in vogue in the West, and has been for a long time. Partly, it's that Buddhism seems "spiritual" without being too religious; perhaps more importantly, Buddhist practices, especially meditation, are widely associated with happiness, contentment, and well-being. To distracted, dissatisfied, and overworked Americans, being Buddhist is a sensible and practical lifestyle choice: Exercise, eat well, get enough sleep, and meditate.

In The Bodhisattva's Brain: Buddhism Naturalized , Owen Flanagan, a distinguished philosopher at Duke, argues that this practical approach to Buddhism misses the point. Buddhism matters not just for practical reasons, but for philosophical ones. Subtract the "hocus-pocus" about reincarnation, karma, and "bodhisattvas flying on lotus leaves," and you'll find a rigorous, clear-eyed account of the universe and our place in it -- an account, in fact, designed to satisfy even the most ardent modern-day materialist. Buddhism matters, in other words, because it's actually right....

Continue reading at

Buy The Bodhisattva's Brain: Buddhism Naturalized at Amazon

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

How Capcom Turned Buddhist Mythology Into A Game About Planet-Splitting Battles

Asura's Wrath is an angry game based on an angry group of Buddhist demigods.

In the game you play as Asura, a god stripped of all of his powers out to save his daughter from the seven gods that betrayed him. As Asura grows angrier in the game he also grows more arms. That multitude of arms is an expression of the demigods anger, not his health or capabilities, Hiroshi Matsuyama, CEO and President of developer CyberConnect2, tells me.

Matsuyama says that the initial concept for Asura and his rage-powered abilities were based on Buddhist deities, ones that were known for their wrath and their anger.

"They had an affinity for their anger," he said.

In Buddhism there are legends of the Assura, a group of gods cast out from a Buddhist heaven because of their wrath, pride and bellicosity.

The Assura of legend are an entire group of low-ranking Hindu and Buddhist gods or demigods. These demigods, known to be obsessed with violence and anger, got drunk one day on a forbidden wine and were kicked off the mountain where the other gods lived. When they woke up they discovered their new home and have been fighting with the other gods since to return, according to legend.

Read more at Kotaku.

Museum exhibit highlights Pakistan's Buddhist roots

A statue resembling the goddess Athena and jewelry bearing images from Greco-Roman mythology may not be objects you'd expect to see in a museum exhibit of Buddhist art from Pakistan.

Their presence among carvings of Buddha and Indian deities is meant to serve as a reminder of Pakistan's oft-forgotten multicultural roots, which form the basis of a new exhibit, "The Buddhist Heritage of Pakistan: Art of Gandhara."
The show, which runs until October 30 at New York's Asia Society, is the first to bring works of Gandharan art to the United States since 1960.

The pieces, on loan from museums in Karachi and Lahore, highlight Pakistan's history as a crossroads of cultural influences, despite present-day associations of the country as an incubator of religious extremism, museum director Melissa Chiu said.
"When we think of Pakistan, Americans might associate it with the place where Osama bin Laden was captured, with terrorism and natural disasters," she said. "But actually, it has a much longer history that dates back to an ancient culture that gives us a sense of a pluralistic tradition that was all about tolerance."....

Continue reading from CNN.

The Buddhist Heritage of Pakistan: Art of Gandhara

The exhibit, The Buddhist Heritage of Pakistan: Art of Gandhara, (the border between ancient Pakistan and Afghanistan), has just opened at the Asia Society, and will be up through October 30, 2011.

Many consider the exhibit a place of wonder. The statuettes and friezes of Buddha and other figures inside and outside of the Buddhist canon are on loan to the Asia Society from the National Museum in Karachi, the Central Museum in Lahore, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Asia Society Museum, and private collections. Most of these pieces have never been exhibited before in the United States.

The traditional images of the Buddha are accompanied by many figures and styles and influences, not all religious, which may be new to Western viewers.

Expect to see an unexpected artistic synthesis of East and West, Indian and Pakistani, Greek and Roman, of Buddhism and of Greco Roman religious syncretism....

Continue reading at Journal of Foreign Relations.

Isan monks helping their communities

by Sanitsuda Ekachai, Bangkok Post, Aug 18, 2011

Development monks help their poor communities with economic and educational needs, living examples of why monks still matter.

Bangkok, Thailand -- Fed up with rogue monks? Losing hope in ability of the lax and closed clergy to lead the way? Meet Luang Por Ang, Luang Por Chair, and Phra Kru Somsri. All Isan monks. All dedicated to lift the livelihood and spirituality of their villagers. All are living examples of why monks still matter. Probably more so now than ever.

The three so-called "development monks" were in Bangkok earlier this week to talk about their past work and present challenges at a time when the rural folks' way of life and political awakening have dramatically changed from four decades ago...

Continue reading at Buddhist Channel.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A Christian and a Buddhist Walk Into a Cartoon

Also, check out, What is a Buddhist?

Japan tsunami survivors pray in summer Buddhist rite

By Yoko Kubota, Reuters, Aug 13, 2011
In a little room of a small hillside temple that barely survived Japan's tsunami five months ago, Yuko Kikuchi knelt down, quietly sobbing and gently caressing the boxes that hold the bones and ashes of her perished mother and sister-in-law.

"It's harder now," 57-year-old Kikuchi, who came back to her devastated hometown Otsuchicho, about 500 km (300 miles) northeast of Tokyo, on Sunday to observe "obon," a series of annual Buddhist ceremonies in mid-August to honor the spirits of the dead.

"In the beginning, there were so many things I had to do and my feelings were high. But now that things are gradually settling, it's hard and I remember many things that we used to do without thinking deeply ... It was just so sudden."

Many survivors of the magnitude 9 quake and tsunami that struck northeast Japan on March 11 are trying to take a step forward in their shattered lives with obon ceremonies, which involve gatherings of extended family members, welcoming back the spirits of ancestors to homes, and praying....

Continue reading from The Buddhist Channel.

Thailand Ritual of Renewal: Practice Death

Many things in life require rehearsals but for most of us, death isn’t among them. The idea of renewal and starting again is experienced every year in nature with the change of seasons, but for the human mind it is a more difficult phenomenon.

The Pram Manee Temple in Nakorn Nayok province, which is located 107 km northeast of Bangkok, Thailand, has developed a rather bizarre but nevertheless workable solution for the human mind to cleanse itself of the past and begin again.

The concept involves rehearsing death with a mock funeral, which includes lying down in a coffin....

Read the whole story from Weird Asia News.

Buddhism and Religious Diversity

Instead of desperately desiring answers to unanswerable questions, Buddhist practitioners should learn how to be helpful in a religiously diverse world.

By Rita M. Gross for Tricycle;

It is a fact that we live in a religiously diverse world. Religious diversity can and often does result in grave misunderstanding, hostility, and, as we know all too well, conflict, with unacceptable costs to human life and well-being. For this reason, among others, it is incumbent on responsible people to know how to think clearly and compassionately about religious diversity. For Buddhists, it is important in thinking about such issues to use Buddhist tools and views, lest our attitudes and actions simply reflect the biases and reactions we have absorbed from the surrounding culture.

Perhaps the single most discomfiting thing about religious diversity is that, at the level of concepts, religious people simply do not agree, or even come close to agreeing, about how to think about the nature of reality. Yet it generally goes without saying that one’s views about reality are crucially important. This is something about which Buddhism has much to say....

Read the whole article at Tricycle.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Buddhist Geeks

Buddhist wonks? No, Buddhist Geeks
Vincent Horn, 28, is representative of a new kind of American Buddhist: young, U.S.-born converts who have intertwined their religious practice with a certain 21st century techie sensibility.

August 08, 2011|By Mitchell Landsberg, Los Angeles Times

Vincent Horn opened his eyes after a moment of meditation, scanned the room and smiled. About 150 other people were emerging from their own states of dead-silent, self-induced tranquillity. They shuffled a bit in their seats.

"Hello, Buddhist geeks!" Horn said from his perch onstage. "This is the most geeks I've seen in one place, I think, ever."

Horn, a 28-year-old podcaster, blogger and meditation teacher, is a new kind of American Buddhist, young and U.S.-born, a convert to Buddhism as a teenager who has intertwined his religious practice with a certain 21st century techie sensibility. There are plenty more like him, as a spin through the Buddhist blogosphere will confirm — and as the first Buddhist Geeks Conference last weekend demonstrated....

Continue reading from the LA TImes here.

Over 30 Korean American Students Visit South Korea to Learn Buddhist Culture

‘I can’t understand my mind because my mind is running so wild.’
‘Do not force it. If you simply watch your mind you will eventually see the gap in between thoughts’
‘Is it possible to attain Enlightenment just by finding that gap?’
‘Just let go of that thought too. Just put it aside in your secret hiding place and you can open it 20 years after.’

This is a wholehearted conversation regarding the law of Seon meditation practice, which took place
between Lee Jaewon (10 yrs, youth participant) and Ven. Sangin(Chief Secretary, Korean International
Buddhist Network). Ms. Jaewon was very excited about her first Seon experience and poured out various
questions to Ven. Sangin. The Ven. was able to teach the students in fluent English as he studied in
Australia and have experience in teaching the students.
Other student participants also asked various questions without hesitation, such as “Is there a way
become a monk in the U.S.?’ or ‘Why do we have to eat vegetarian meals?’ The Ven. moved the minds of
the participants with simple answers such as, ‘What is important here is not about avoiding the meat, but to
appreciate the food offered to us with a humble attitude.’...

Continue reading here.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Templestay guide in Daegu

When the templestay program was first conceived, it was around the time when Korea co-hosted the 2002 FIFA World Cup with Japan as a way of providing affordable accommodation to foreign visitors.

But more importantly, Korea wanted to improve its cultural image in the international community through providing a close experience into the world of Korean Buddhism.

Heading into its 10th year, the program has emerged as one of the nation’s most successful tourism activities.

At the time of the program’s inception, only 33 temples participated. Now, there are 118 temples around the nation that host templestay visitors, according to the Cultural Corps of Korean Buddhism, an affiliate of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism.

Last year, 20,000 foreign visitors were registered in the program. Since 2002, a total of 500,000 people have completed a templestay.
Now, Korea is about to host another major global sporting event that is expected to generate numerous templestay visitors...

Read more from the Korea Times here.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Ameriyana: The Western Vehicle of the Buddha Dharma

Good academic article from the religious studies academic journal, "Intermountain West Journal of Religious Studies."

America is firmly steeped in the Christian and European–centered tradi- tions of the past, leaving little room for any outside traditions that do not fit into that mold. However with the 19th century introduction of Buddhist culture, America began to welcome different traditions and saw its European–centric culture change. The changes were not one sided, however, as Buddhism also be- gan to adapt to a Christian society with ideals different than those of its nativity. With the insertion of Buddhist tradition into American culture, there has been a vast change both in the host culture, as well as among the Buddhist immigrant community.

Download the free PDF and read the full article here.

Visit the Journal's homepage here.

How a ‘mad monk’ captured Zen

If he were not a monk, one might have easily mistaken him for a madman. Or perhaps it was because he was a monk that his behavior was considered even more idiosyncratic.

The late Jung Kwang, better remembered as the “mad monk,” was definitely not a typical monk. Instead of finding peace in remote temples, he spent his time creating art containing vulgar themes, as though to challenge the precepts of the ascetic religion...

Continue reading at Korea Herald.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Visuddhimagga — The Path of Purification

ATI (Access to Insight) has posted a new free PDF of the Visuddhimagga — The Path of Purification. Find out more information and download it here.


Dharma Talk - Great is the Problem of Birth and Death

Talk Given By: Dae Gak - IBS USA Seminary/MWZ Dharma Student
Sunday August 7, 2011.
Duration - 32:48

Subscribe in iTunes!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Buddhism and borders in South Korea

From The Irish Times;

A stay in a remote temple where monks perform both martial arts and meditation was a good way to get your head around the dividing line between communism and capitalism, writes TADHG PEAVOY

SUCH IS THE diversity of South Korea that in the space of five days I found myself bear-walking backwards up a mountain with a monk for company and 73 metres underground on the border of the Cold War.

After a few days in Seoul, the capital of South Korea, I needed to get out of the urban jungle. A Korean friend booked me a temple stay at one of the country’s Buddhist centres and I was sent packing.....

Read the full story here.

Buddhists liberate lobsters, at least for a short time

Instead of plunging headfirst to their death in a pot of boiling water, 534 live lobsters escaped the dinner plate and belly flopped to freedom into the dark waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

A group of Tibetan Buddhists flanked the sides of a whale-watching boat at dusk on Wednesday, sprayed the lobsters with blessed water, clipped the bands binding their dangerous claws and gently released them one by one into the deep water below.

The 30 Buddhists of all ages trekked to the North Shore beach community known for its massive lobster hauls to purchase 600 pounds of lobster from a seafood wholesaler and save the critters from imminent death.

The lobster liberation was scheduled specifically for Aug. 3, which is Wheel Turning Day on this year's Tibetan lunar calendar, the anniversary of the first sermon Buddha taught. On this holiday, the merit for positive actions is multiplied many times....

Read more from MSNBC's "Weird News"

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Mysterious Mirror of Writing: Kūkai’s Poetry and Literary Theory

Kūkai (空海), also known posthumously as Kōbō-Daishi (弘法大師 great teacher of Buddhism?), 774–835, was a Japanese monk, scholar, poet, and artist, founder of the Shingon or "True Word" school of Buddhism. Shingon followers usually refer to him by the honorific titles of Odaishisama (お大師様?) and Henjō-Kongō (遍照金剛?).
Kūkai is famous as a calligrapher (see Japanese calligraphy) and engineer, and is said to have invented kana, the syllabary in which, in combination with Chinese characters (kanji) the Japanese language is written (although this claim has not been proven). His religious writings, some fifty works, expound the esoteric Shingon doctrine.

Literature was more than a hobby for Kūkai then. According to the Mahāvairocana-sūtra, ultimate reality is found in all speech and the root of speech is the soul of the universe, which Shingon calls Dharmakāya Mahāvairocana (Watanabe 204). Today this is know as the linguistic philosophy of what Kūkai called Sound, Word and Reality (声字実相の言語哲学) (Watanabe 204). [4] Kūkai writes, “The Tathāgata reveals his teachings by means of expressive symbols” (Hadeda 1972:234). Accordingly, all literature expresses the universe of the Buddha. Kūkai likely hoped that the development if this idea would provide no less than a Buddhist alternative to the dominate literary theories of Confucianism of his time (Abé 1999:310).

Read Kukai's writing and poetry here.

A Short Biography of Kobo Daishi

Karma—It’s About What We Can Do Now

Karma—It’s About What We Can Do Now

An excerpt about karma from “Noble Strategy”

by Thanissaro Bhikkhu:

Karma is one of those words we don’t translate. Its basic meaning is simple enough—action—but because of the weight the Buddha’s teachings give to the role of action, the Sanskrit word karma packs in so many implications that the English word action can’t carry all its luggage. This is why we’ve simply airlifted the original word into our vocabulary.

But when we try unpacking the connotations the word carries now that it has arrived in everyday usage, we find that most of its luggage has gotten mixed up in transit. For most people, karma functions like fate—and bad fate, at that: an inexplicable, unchangeable force coming out of our past, for which we are somehow vaguely responsible and powerless to fight.....

Continue reading on Metta Refuge.

A Visit to Jogye Order’s Buddhist Training Institute for Foreign Trainees

The Jogye Order’s Buddhist Training Institute for Foreign Trainees is designed for foreign postulants (Buddhist Monastic Trainees) who wish to become a monk in Korea. These trainees learn Korean language, Buddhist doctrine, and Buddhist ceremonies at the institute. The foreign trainees (without Korean nationality) must enter this institute within a month of registering as a postulant.

The trainees would live approximately six months at the institute to learn how to chant and perform ceremonies, as well as to study Korean language well enough to communicate with other Koreans. The trainees spend a lot of time in learning the Korean language. However, the institute is not a place where the foreign trainees simply ‘stop by’ to learn the language. This institute is designed for the trainees to receive a consistent and unified Buddhist training, and also to become familiarized with the Jogye Order’s lineage and its formal practices....

Continue reading here.

Monday, August 1, 2011