Sunday, September 25, 2011

Dharma Talk (Replay) - Learning to Unplug

The MWZ Dharma Talk Podcast is on a 4 week hiatus. Enjoy these popular previously given Dharma Talks one more time! New Talks resume on October 23!

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

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Blog on Hiatus (9/22 - 10/24)

The MWZ Blog will be on hiatus for the next month (9/22 - 10/24) while I travel to South Korea to participate in novice monk training at Seonam-sa.

In the meantime, check out some of Bup Chon Sunim's photos from his trip last fall.

In Hapjang,

Bup Mee

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Dharma Talk - Dharma Rock

Talk Given By: Rev. Hye Kyong Bup Sanim
Sunday, September 18, 2011 (10 AM)
Duration - 16:03

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Saturday, September 17, 2011

A Buddhist Example of Interfaith Dialogue

DR. PAUL F. KNITTER @ Huffington Post:

Earlier this year, my wife Cathy and I spent eight days being gently rushed around the South Korean peninsula as part of a project aimed at promoting a more fruitful dialogue between Buddhists and Christians. The seed of this idea was planted by my Korean doctoral student, Kyeongil Jung. But because of unexpected political and religious tensions, the seed blossomed into unexpected lessons of compassion in the wake of this unrest: earlier this year, fundamentalist Korean Christians over the course of several months, invaded and desecrated Buddhist temples in Seoul and Daegu, in an effort to exorcize the "demonic powers" there and proclaim the eventual triumph of Christianity...
Read the full column here.  


Two Wheels of Awakening and Liberation: A Reflection on Paul Knitter’s Dialogue with Korean Buddhists

Bodhisattvas in the Trenches: A Zen Priest at the Tar Sands Action

Excerpt from Jizo Chronicles:

Leaving Washington after ten days in front of the White House, I ride the train through hills and mountains – Maryland, West Virginia? I look out on trees, rocks, river as: wide river, shallow with rocks, winding, here and there a small island;  now an old stone building, a wide field, a farm; now trees again, roads, farms. “Beautiful,” I think. There’s a bit of mist, now turned to rain streaming down the windows. Across the aisle a baby is entertained by his mother.

This is what it is about: that life should continue.

Perhaps I should say, life as we now know it. The teaching says, “Accept what is offered,” but I am not yet able to accept the end of human life, the end of trees, of rain, of deer. I am worried at the loss of insects. Suddenly I remembered that ten, twenty years ago, driving a car in the summer meant a windshield splattered with insects, frequent scrubbing and cleaning of their dead bodies – and this is no longer true; the insects are nearly gone. What else is lost, will be lost every day in this great extinction? How can I come to terms with it?...

Read the full piece here.  

Master Jinje, Revered Korean Buddhist Teacher, Travels To U.S. For First Time

NEW YORK -- On the rare occasions that Master Jinje travels outside his monastery in the rural mountains of South Korea, he is greeted by crowds of Koreans who have taken to practicing Ganhwa Seon, the unique form of Zen meditation that he has spent decades imparting on the nation's largely non-monastic, non-Buddhist population.
But when Jinje, a high-level monk of Jogye, South Korea's largest Buddhist order, wandered past the hot dog stands and bodegas of New York City's Morningside Heights neighborhood in his grey monastic robes earlier this week, few people turned their heads.
Outside South Korea, where Buddhism has roughly 11 million followers and Jinje is revered as one of the nation's pre-eminent meditation teachers, he is little-known by those other than Buddhism scholars and a small number of Korean Buddhist immigrants. In fact, until last week, the 78-year-old had rarely stepped foot outside East Asia and had never come to the United States...

Friday, September 16, 2011

Blast near Buddhist temple in Thailand injures 13

A self-made explosive device went off on Tuesday morning near a Buddhist temple in the southern Thai province of Pattani injuring a monk, nine soldiers and three civilians, the country's news website Nation reported.
The explosive was hidden in a cooking gas cylinder and was later put in a catering wheel-cart that was left unattended at the roadside. The bomb was detonated from a remote control as monks were returning from alms collection escorted by a unit of troops.
Police say the bomb weighed approximately 5 kg (around 11 lbs) and went off at 7:15 in the morning local time.
Insurgents are active in three Muslim-dominated provinces in the south of Thailand, which are Narathiwat, Yala and Pattani. The insurgents are mainly targeting Buddhist monks and teachers and for this reason armed units of troops escort monks during alms collections and teachers on their way to work.

Dalai Lama MasterChef Appearance: Australian Show Gets Special Guest

The Dalai Lama just wrapped up a brief American tour, which included stops at several major media outlets. He gave interviews to the Today Show and Rolling Stone, and met with President Obama. It was, in short, a distinguished trip, befitting a Nobel Prize Laureate and the leader of a major world religion.
Apparently, when His Holiness visits Australia, he does things differently. While there, he appeared as a guest judge on on the down-under version of MasterChef. The Dalai Lama was characteristically kind to the aspiring MasterChefs, refusing to judge anything harshly. He even says, after tasting all the food, "As a buddhist monk, I have no right to prefer this food to that food. Anything I am offered, I must accept." When one presents him with a dish she'd botched in the kitchen, tears in her eyes, he takes her hand and bowed to her as a mark of forgiveness and grace.

How a Buddhist Monk Commemorates 9/11

Two weeks after the terrorist attacks, Rudy Giuliani staged a prayer gathering at Yankee Stadium, with Oprah Winfrey as the ecumenical m.c. All the major faiths of New York City (and, therefore, of the world) were represented, except one. Nobody invited a Buddhist.

The president of the city’s Buddhist Council at the time was a Japanese monk named T. K. Nakagaki. He was also the abbot at the New York Buddhist Church, a seventy-three-year-old temple on Riverside Drive. Noting the oversight, Nakagaki persuaded the other members of the council, typically an acquiescent bunch, to raise a ruckus. They sent the Mayor a letter of grievance and began organizing ceremonies of their own—interfaith undertakings that included, but did not rely on the hospitality of, their Abrahamic counterparts. If the Buddhist point of view was to be heard, the Buddhists, against their nature, were going to have to assert it more loudly. This was New York.

Read more

North-South Korea Reconciliation and Exchange: “Buddhism Will Lead the Way”

The joint prayer meeting in support of reunification between the North & South Korea was held in celebration for “Thousand Years Anniversary of Koreana Tripitaka”.

 On September 3, the North Korea visiting group from the Jogye Order, including the Most Ven. Jaseung (President, Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism) and 37 members departed for North Korea.

On September 5, around 11:00 a.m. “1000 Years Anniversary Celebration for Koreana Tropitaka and Joint Prayer Meetings for North-South Korea Reconciliation” were held in Bohyeon-sa Temple in Mt. Myohyang, The Ceremony began with the 5 strikes of bell and concluded with the Aspiration Prayer to improve communication between North and South Korea.

Although the Jogye Order's visit was meant as a pure hearted exchange at a private level, this relation is attracting attention as it is seen as “a light at the end of the tunnel”, which could improve the communication between North and South Korea. Koreana Tripitaka was created during the times of national crisis in Korea, and the whole nation, including the people of Korea and all of Buddhist Traditions cooperated in unison to overcome many difficulties.

 Therefore, they are a very precious Cultural Heritage of Korea. Through remembering the ancestral spirit of how Koreana Tripitaka was produced, we must live to improve the relationship between North and South Korea....

 Continue reading at Korean Buddhism

South Korean Buddha visits Riverside Church

A Buddhist monk from the mountains of South Korea asked a crowd of 2,000 to self-reflect and answer the question, “What is your true self before your parents gave birth to you?” at Riverside Church on Thursday evening.
In his first trip to the United States, Zen Master Jinje delivered a Dharma talk on the philosophy of Ganhwa Seon to a packed congregation in the church’s nave.
Ganhwa Seon is the practice of constantly asking oneself a “hwadu,” or topic of inquiry, throughout the tedium of daily life. Jinje contemplated a hwadu for 13 years before achieving enlightenment.
Sitting cross-legged atop an ornate platform in gray monastic robes and a golden sash, Jinje emphasized “the spiritual culture of Asia as one step in fostering world peace.”
The first step to enlightenment is sitting correctly, Jinje said to the crowd assembled at the interdenominational church on 120th Street and Claremont Ave. Then, sitting still, one needs to “focus on questioning your hwadu without ever forgetting it.” After a long period of contemplation, the hwadu will “unexpectedly shatter” and a “dazzling wisdom” will appear before one’s eyes.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

English signs at temples lack precision

The nation’s Buddhist temples are major tourist attractions for foreigners, who often rely on English versions of Korean signs to learn about the temples they are visiting.

The need to enhance the accuracy of these sign translations is becoming more apparent as the templestay program heads into its 10th year in 2012. The program has emerged as one of the most successful tourism campaigns since its inception in 2002.
An expert in the missionary work of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism says that to improve the English translations of temple signs the Korean versions need fixing first.

“In many temples, the problem starts with the inadequate original texts in Korean. In the process of translating such flawed works into English, we end up with many errors and misinterpretations,” Bae Kwang-shik, president of the International Dharma Instructors’ Association (IDIA), said during a recent interview with The Korea Times.

One of the key initiatives of the affiliate organization of the Missionary Division of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism is to publish a definitive Korean-English Buddhism dictionary....

Read the full article at The Korea Times here.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Happy Birthday Podcast!

Our Dharma Talk Podcast turns 1 this month! Here are a few statistics from the past year:

48 Total Dharma Talks
12 Different Speakers
14.5 Recorded Hours

7755 Episode Hits via website
13,426 Feed Hits (iTunes/Other)
1839 Site Visitors

Accessed and Downloaded in 45 countries!

View the full archive of Dharma Talks here
and don't forget to subscribe through iTunes if you still haven't done so yet!

For commemorating our successful 1st year of Podcasting I will be putting together all of the 1st year Dharma Talks together in a single volume compilation. Copies will be available at the temple by the end of the year and CDs will be available to order online for those not able to pick them up locally.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Dharma Talk - Just Violence

Talk Given By: Hae Doh Sunim
Sunday, September 11, 2011 (10 AM)
Duration - 19:43

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Saturday, September 10, 2011

Buddhism and Terrorism

In deference to the ambiguity of the term “terrorist,” (Nelson Mandela, for example, was condemned as a terrorist), this post entry attempts to look at terrorism as a tactic with some moral basis. Though logic and common sense mitigated against any thought that the waves of gratuitous violence visited upon Europe and the Middle East was likely to pass us by, North Americans have only recently become terrorist conscious. Despite several examples of domestic violence, it is the 9/11 events that have forced a direct confrontation with militant Islamic fundamentalists.

What causes terrorism? President Bush (43) explained this very simply, “they hate us for our freedom”; it’s “good versus evil.” Although George W. is correct in identifying religion as having a causative relationship with the problem of terrorism, the limited, triumphal moral sensibility which he exemplifies is not up to the task of guiding us to a solution. What if President Bush were a fundamentalist Buddhist instead of a born-again Christian? How might he approach the problem of terrorism from the pratityasamutpada point of view? Pratityasamutpada is the Buddhist vocabulary of causation. It means “co-dependent arising” or “interdependent co-arising” and represents how Buddhist thinkers, not having recourse to a Creator God, discuss the limit or end-point of cause and effect....

Read the full column by Wayne Codling @ Times Colonist

A Place for Doubt

By Robert Buswell:

The 9/11 terrorist attacks were fostered in no small measure by the certitude of a handful of religious zealots that their religious beliefs alone were right and all others wrong. In early Buddhist texts like the Atthakavagga (The Octets), the Buddha bemoaned the pernicious hold that extremist views, and especially religious blind faith, have on people. By presuming that only my beliefs, practices, and perceptions are correct and unassailable implies that all others ipso facto are incorrect and controvertible.

As the tenth anniversary of this heinous act of religious terror approaches, it is perhaps refreshing that an eminent figure in a tradition that places doubt at the very core of religious teaching and practice will be visiting New York City. He is Ven. Jinje Seonsa, the leading Korean Zen (Seon) master of his generation.

In Buddhism, by abandoning the personal point of view that is the self (atman), the Buddhist experiences a state that transcends dichotomies such as enemy and friend, orthodox and heretical, and thus clings to nothing from this conditioned world. Even attachment to "Buddhism" itself, the Buddha says, must ultimately be abandoned to truly understand Buddhism. Attachment to views is considered to be the root source of the disputes that separate one group from another and lead to conflict, a position certainly taken to the extreme by the 9/11 attackers....

Read the full column here at The Huffington Post

Sept. 11, 2001: A Zen teaching moment

By Lama Surya Das

A wise Zen master once gave his meditation students the almost unanswerable koan, or existential riddle: “What is the most important thing?”

September 11, 2001 was such a Zen teaching moment, a fit koan for our time. As Americans sought answers and spiritual solace, church attendance across the country rose notably in the months following this national tragedy. That was a good thing, as questioning is the gateway to wisdom. But, ten years later, have we been asking the right questions? How many of those seekers actually became finders?

On that terrible day, when the buildings and airplanes - and our hearts -- sheared open, we were offered an unprecedented moment of intimacy, of a new, shared vulnerability. Our mutual confusion and grief during those intensely felt days of shock created powerful solidarity and empathy....

Read the full column from the Washington Post's On Faith blog here.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

iTunes Podcast Feed RESTORED!

The iTunes Feed for the Dharma Talk Podcast has been restored as issues with the host provider have been resolved. Automatic downloading through iTunes is now functional again and the Dharma Talks have been updated. Again, apologies for any inconveniences the downtime may have caused.

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The latest episodes recorded during the downtime are still listed below for your convenience.
9/4/11 - Anxiety - Dae Sahn

8/28/11 - Carrying The Boat - Bup Chon Sunim

In Hapjang,

-Bup Mee

Thailand's female monks lobby for legal recognition

From CSM:

By Amy Lieberman, Contributor / September 8, 2011
Bangkok, Thailand

Dhammananda Bhikkhuni grips a wobbly stack of feminine hygiene products and sorts them on a long table. Her followers watch before mimicking her quick movements.

“We will bring these donations to women who are in the local prison,” explained Ms. Dhammananda. “If we don’t, then who?”

Bhikkhunis, ordained female monks, in Thailand consider their gender to be an essential bridge to the women they help through charity work and spiritual guidance, since women are forbidden to be alone with male monks, known as Bhikkhu.

But Thai Bhikkhunis have their own limitations, not just because they number only 25 compared with the approximate 200,000 male monks here. They lack legal recognition – a denial that accompanies various withholdings of public benefits, and it highlights a persistent issue of discrimination for women across the country.

A revived campaign to grant Bhikkhunis legal recognition launched quietly at the end of July, with advocates hoping that minimal fanfare would help them evade the conservative religious opposition that has prevented the movement from strengthening for more than 80 years.

“This is a basic human rights issue,” says prominent former senator and lawyer Paiboon Nititawan, an organizer of the Bhikkhunis’ rights movement...

Continue reading from Christian Science Monitor here.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Buddhist Monks Cross N. Korea Border

From the BBC

Buddhist monks from South Korea have crossed into North Korea for a ceremony to honour an ancient Buddhist relic.

Thirty seven monks made the journey to mark the 1000th anniversary of scriptural carving.

The monks are the first civilians to make the trip to North Korea since two attacks on the South last year.

Lucy Williamson reports

'Sacred Ink' by Cedric Arnold

Linked from Full Contact Enlightenment:

Cedric Arnold documents Thailand's Yantra Tattooing ('Sak Yant'), sacred ink applied as body tattoos which form a protective spiritual and mystical shield for the wearer. The Thai government has recently banned Sak Yant tattoos for foreigners.

View Cedric's website and digital gallery here.

From NPR: Thai Tattoo Tradition Draws Worldwide Devotees

Monday, September 5, 2011

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Joan Halifax: Compassion and the true meaning of empathy

(Sorry about the formatting, click to watch on youtube, it should display properly and resize there.)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Julia Bacha: Pay attention to nonviolence

In 2003, the Palestinian village of Budrus mounted a 10-month-long nonviolent protest to stop a barrier being built across their olive groves. Did you hear about it? Didn't think so. Brazilian filmmaker Julia Bacha asks why we only pay attention to violence in the Israel-Palestine conflict -- and not to the nonviolent leaders who may one day bring peace.

An American Buddhist Life: Memoirs of a Modern Dharma Pioneer

From Full Contact Enlightenment:

This summer, Sumeru Books released “An American Buddhist Life- Memoirs of a Modern Dharma Pioneer” by notable Buddhist Studies professor Charles Prebish, which recounts his personal journey in undertaking a lengthy and remarkable half-century career helping the dharma take hold and flourish in the West.

Prebish was one of the first to undertake a program of Buddhist Studies in the 1960′s, having found an appreciation for a class he had taken somewhat on a whim. His memoir delves into the transformation from a Buddhist student to a scholar as having spent time at Naropa and jetting throughout the United States to teach as well as to deliver presentations, he was fortunate to have encountered many of the leading thinkers and teachers in Buddhism during the heyday of Buddhism arriving in North American soil, on through to the present day.

This book is a valuable work that gives in intimate peek into the path of a student-teacher-practitioner and speaks to the unique challenges faced in this career choice.....

Continue reading here and buy the book from Amazon.

Rare Joseon court music forms harmonies at dawn

It is 7 a.m. on a Saturday morning, and Changgyeonggung, one of the five grand palaces of the Joseon Dynasty, is enveloped in haze and dewy air.

In spite of the early hour, the gallery behind Myeongjeongjeon hall of the palace is completely packed with people. Some skipped breakfast, and some left their homes in the countryside at 4 a.m. just to be here.

A one-of-a-kind traditional music experience is about to reward those who managed to wake up early. Organized by National Gugak Center, the concert, named “Day Break at Changgyeong Palace” is bringing traditional court music of the Joseon Dynasty (1932-1987) back to the very place the piece was performed and enjoyed in the old days.

The piece, “Yeongsanhoesang,” is believed to have been written as a Buddhist piece during Korea’s Goryeo period (918-1392), or even before, according to Song. “The term ‘Yeongsan’ in the title refers to the mountain in India where Buddha used to stay and hold meetings with his followers,” Song tells The Korea Herald.

“The music depicted the spiritual interactions between Buddha and those who followed him at the special mountain.”

“Yeongsanhoesang” was initially written as a vocal piece with spiritual lyrics, but instrumental variations were developed by Joseon musicians.

“Unlike Goryeo, Joseon embraced Confucianism while rejecting Buddhism,” Song says. “They wanted to keep playing the piece, as it was a superb one, but wanted to get rid of its religious qualities. So they removed the lyrics and created many sets of variations. One of them is chamber ensemble for court music. And many different traditional instruments, both string and wind, can be played either alone or as a duet for this piece.”....

Continue reading from the Korea Herald here.