Tuesday, December 27, 2011

2011 Blog Statistics

As I'll be leaving for Japan tomorrow to celebrate New Year's, here are the statistics for the MWZ Blog for 2011. Blog posting in 2012 will resume on 1/4/12 with highlights and reviews of the top stories of 2011 plus, a preview of upcoming books to be published in 2012. Until then, everyone have a safe and enjoyable holiday season.


Bup Mee Sunim

2011 Blog Statistics:

Total Posts: 375
Average Posts/Month: 31.25
60% increase over 2010!

Total Visits: 25,468
81% increase over 2010!
Total Visits to Date: 31,362

Visits By Country:

USA - 20,060
Canada - 1,290
India - 718
UK - 638
South Korea - 154

Top Referring Sites:

1. Google - 3,954
2. MWZ - 1,065
3. Google India - 530
6. Facebook - 384

Top Search Terms:

1. Starving Buddha - 840
2. Gandhara (Art) - 253
3. Bodhidharma - 45

Top Posts:

1. Gandhara Art Exhibition in Seoul - 2,629

2. Bodhidharma Portrayal Wrong in Film - 269

3. Buddhism: The Most Accurate World Religion - 102

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Dharma

When we see each other again on Christmas Eve for the celebration of Holy Jesus' birth, let us do so in peace and with a good vibration and a happy mind. I think it would be wonderful. To attend the celebration with an angry disposition would be so sad. Come instead with a beautiful motivation and much love. Have no discrimination, but see everything as a golden flower, even your worst enemy. Then Christmas, which so often produces an agitated mind, will become so beautiful.

When you change your mental attitude, the external vision also changes. This is a true turning of the mind. There is no doubt about this. I am not special, but I have had experience of doing this, and it works. You people are so intelligent, so you can understand how the mind has this ability to change itself and its environment. There is no reason why this change cannot be for the better.

Some of you might think, "Oh, I want to have nothing to do with Jesus, nothing to do with the Bible." This is a very angry, emotional attitude to have towards Christianity. If you really understood, you would recognize that what Jesus taught was, "Love!" It is as simple and as profound as that. If you had true love within you, I am sure you would feel much more peaceful than you do now....

Continue reading from Christmas Dharma
by Lama Thubten Yeshe
in Silent Mind, Holy Mind

Monday, December 19, 2011

Dharma Talk - Impermanence and the Existential Crisis

Talk Given By: Hae Doh Sunim
Sunday, December 18, 2011
Duration - 18:28

Subscribe in iTunes!

Listen to other previous Dharma Talks here.


Kim Jong-il, the leader of North Korea, has died at the age of 69 after suffering a heart attack, North Korean state media has announced.

Kim, known in the communist country as the "Dear Leader", died on Saturday aboard a train during a trip out of Pyongyang, a tearful presenter for the official KCNA news agency said on Monday.

May we all keep the people of the Korean Peninsula (North and South) in our hearts and thoughts as they face uncertainty in this time of change and hope that this transition does not bring any more suffering.

BBC Coverage here.

ABC Video here.

Wikipedia Entry on Death of Kim Jong-Il

CNN Coverage here.

USA Today Coverage

NYTimes Coverage here.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Dharma Talk - Words and Language

Talk Given By: Bup Mee Sunim
Sunday, December 11, 2011
Duration - 16:11

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Listen to other previous Dharma Talks here.

Self-Immolation in Tibet

From PRI's The World (12/9):

A former Buddhist monk in Tibet has reportedly died from his burns after setting himself on fire earlier this month.

The announcement came Friday from a Tibetan rights group based in India.

The Chinese government hasn’t confirmed the news.

Activists say the man who died last week was the latest of at least 12 Tibetans who have set themselves on fire this year to protest China’s treatment of Tibet.

Anchor Marco Werman talks to Charlene Makley, a professor of anthropology specializing on Tibet at Reed College in Portland, Oregon.

Restored scroll painting exhibited at Yeongsanjae Buddhist Ceremony in LA

Korean monks of Kuyangsa Temple in Incheon, South Korea, performed a ceremony combining chants, dance, and music. Also included was an exhibition of a recently restored important Korean Buddhist painting, Buddha Seokamoni (Shakyamuni) Preaching to the Assembly on Vulture Peak.

Watch a fascinating video about the painting and its restoration, and read more about this weekend’s ceremony, below.

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

According to Unesco, the ceremony is largely maintained today by the Korean Buddhist Taego Order. Unesco also reports that “Yeongsanjae is held in temples throughout the Republic of Korea to help all beings enter the world of truth by worshiping and admiring the Buddha and his laws and monks. The ceremony serves as an important space for transmission of values and art forms and for meditation, training and enlightenment.”

Source: Shambhala Sun News

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Beyond Religion: Ethics for a Whole World - Free Audiobook

"Download His Holiness the Dalai Lama's new book (read by Martin Sheen) ABSOLUTELY FREE!! Limited time offer from Amazon/Audible. Even if you don't have the Audible player, you can download that for free too!" -Rev. Danny Fisher

Emmy Award-winning actor Martin Sheen (The West Wing) lends his distinguished voice to this stirring call to move beyond religion for the guidance to improve human life on individual, community, and global levels, including a guided meditation practice for cultivating key human values.
Ten years ago, in his best-selling Ethics for a New Millennium, His Holiness the Dalai Lama first proposed an approach to ethics based on universal rather than religious principles. Now, in Beyond Religion, the Dalai Lama, at his most compassionate and outspoken, elaborates and deepens his vision for the nonreligious way.
Transcending the mere "religion wars", he outlines a system of secular ethics that gives tolerant respect to religion, but, with the highest level of spiritual and intellectual authority, makes a claim for what the Dalai Lama calls a third way. This is a universal code of ethics that transcends religion boundaries, that recognizes our common humanity and advocates for a global human community based on understanding and mutual respect.
Beyond Religion is an essential statement from the Dalai Lama, a blueprint for all those who yearn for a life fulfilled and a better world.
Audible’s production of Beyond Religion is available free through December 20.

Download for free from Audible here.

Friday, December 9, 2011

“Religious Hate Crime” Suspect Arrested

“Religious Hate Crime” Suspect Arrested
Suspect states, “Buddha chases me in my dream”

The suspect that vandalized four temples near Haeundae (Busan city) was arrested near Haeundae Bansong region. Haeundae Police Department made a statement on November 26 that Mr. Lee (44 yrs) has been caught as a suspect of vandalism/religious hate crime in Haeundae. On 27th, he was charged for spraying paints and damaging Buddha statues and pagodas.

The Suspected stated that he committed the crime because “The Buddha was chasing him in his dream.
Police suspects that Mr. Lee suffers from severe psychological disturbance according to Mr. Lee’s past psychological assessment. Police mentioned, “Mr. Lee stated that Buddha appeared in his dream and stabbed him repeatedly. Thus he suffered from insomnia, and ended up committing such crime.” Mr. Lee received treatment for the past 1 month, and ‘S’ symbols sprayed on temples are from the shape drawn from a book he saw at the hospital.
The police will investigate further the possibility of deliberate religious hate crime and need to confirm specific facts.

Mr. Lee sprayed red paints on Buddha statues in Gaeun-sa Temple, and broke in to the main Buddha Hall in Jirim-sa Temple by breaking a large window glass. He also sprayed ‘s’ and ‘x’ mark on Buddha statues, Buddhist paintings, and Stupas in November. Approximate amount of damage done through his crime is ~$180,000 US.

From Korean

Muppet Meditation

Right click on the video to watch on Youtube to see the full size video.

Linked from The Worst Horse

Thursday, December 8, 2011

TIME'S Top 10 Underreported Stories of 2011: #1 - The Self-Immolation of Tibetan Monks

It usually takes a U.S. President tweaking Beijing by meeting with the Dalai Lama, or a celebrity-studded Richard Gere fundraiser, to get Tibet into the news these days. Even then, the attention is fleeting. Not so the despair of many Tibetans at their plight under Chinese rule, now in its seventh decade. TIME's Hannah Beech sneaked into Twu in eastern Tibet earlier this year to report one of the most gripping stories out of the region in years: At least eight Tibetan monks, two of them teenagers, have torched themselves this year to protest Chinese rule. Self-immolation is an old and horrifying form of protest that Americans first saw on television during the Vietnam War, and which touched off Tunisia's democratic uprising and the wider 'Arab Spring' earlier this year. Its emergence among Buddhist monks in Tibet illustrates what Beech called a "new, nihilistic desperation [that] has descended on the Tibetan plateau." Despite the efforts of the Chinese authorities to quickly dispose of the bodies in the hope of heading off further protest, Beech wrote, "Monks on fire grab headlines." Hopefully, more attention will be paid.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Dharma Talk - The Speed of Change

Talk Given By: Bup Chon Sunim
Sunday, December 4, 2011
Duration - 15:55

Subscribe in iTunes!

Listen to other previous Dharma Talks here.

Nahan Jesus

From our friend Dale over at Dale's Korean Temple Adventures Blog:

Seonjisa Temple - 선지사 (Gimhae, Gyeongsangnam-do)

...the real reason Seonjisa Temple has earned such notoriety throughout Korea is for what resides inside the main hall. Uniquely, there are 500 statues of the Nahan seated and standing on the altar inside the hall. Some of the Nahan are Jangyugwansang, Wonhyo-daesa, Dharma-daesa, and Uisang-daesa. This temple is one of the few temples in all of Korea where they worship the 500 Nahan disciples that attained Nirvana (The only other one, at least that I know of, being Geojoam Hermitage in Daegu). What makes these statues so unique is that one of them is a statue of Jesus (Hyansang-jonja). According to the head-monk, Woncheon Sunim, Jesus is the 109th Nahan. This statue of Jesus is to the left of the four Buddhas and Bodhisattvas on the main altar...

Read Dale's whole review here and see all the pictures.

How to be a *good* Buddhist during Christmas

via John Pappas on Dec 19, 2010 for Elephant Journal:

There is a complex love/hate relationship with Buddhists during the Christmas season. On one hand many of us grew up in Christian families and attach many emotions and memories to the Holiday season (both positive and negative). On the other hand, some practitioners just want to fit in culturally during the holiday season so they either meld traditions or superficially celebrate.

Many, as children, waited anxiously to open presents under the tree or traveled to visit rarely seen relatives that lived a distance away. Some loved (and still do) the opportunity to find gifts for others that helped express their joy and thankfulness for those in their lives, sometimes but all too briefly. Others just see the time as a moment to celebrate and reflect or to celebrate and reflect the following morning.

Then, of course, there is the rampant consumerism, the thinly-veiled capitalism and blaring commercialism of the holidays. There is a deep and crusty strata of greed, envy and ignorance that builds a fairly strong wall against the usual Buddhist foci of metta (good will), karuna (compassion), mudita (joy for others) and upekkha (equanimity). The Buddha expressed the importance of these elements (the four immeasurables) in the Kalama Sutta....

Continue reading at Elephant Journal here.

Bodhi Day (Thursday, Dec. 8, 2011)

Bodhi Day is a Buddhist holiday that commemorates the day that the Buddha achieved enlightenment, translated as bodhi in Sanskrit or Pali. Bodhi Day is celebrated on the eighth day of the 12th lunar month. In 2011, Bodhi day is observed on Thursday, Dec. 8.

The Buddha was born as Siddhartha Gautama into a noble, privileged Hindu household. When he was close to 30 years old, he abandoned his material lifestyle and retreated to the forest seeking answers to the problem of suffering, specifically old age, sickness and death. According to tradition, he initially sought bodhi (enlightenment) through meditation, self-mortification and practicing other austerities.

After several years of intense practice, he realized that bodhi was to be found through meditation, but through a Middle Way, away from the extremes of self-mortification and self-indulgence. The story goes that he meditated in Bodh Gaya under a peepal tree (a species of Banyan fig), now famously known as the Bodhi tree, and resolved to continue meditating until he achieved bodhi (enlightenment). It is believed that after 49 days of continuous meditation, Gautama achieved bodhi (enlightenment) at the age of 35. Since then he was known as the Buddha ('enlightened one').

Bodhi Day is celebrated in many mainstream Mahayana traditions including Zen and in Pureland Buddhist schools in China, Japan and Korea. Buddhists commemorate this day by meditation, studying the Dharma, chanting sutras (Buddhist texts) and performing kind acts towards other beings. Some celebrate by a traditional meal of tea, cakes and readings.

84000 “Reading Room” presents words of the Buddha via interactive technology

“84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha,” the Tibetan canonical translation project headed up by Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche, has announced the 84000 Reading Room — a project of the organization, in collaboration with the Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center (TBRC).

As 84000 explains on its website, “Based on state of the art interactive web technologies, the Reading Room will present translations of the Words of the Buddha in a clear, beautiful, and easy to read format. Users who want to read offline can download the translation in PDF format, or share the translation with friends, colleagues or others. Whatever the format, the translation will maintain the beauty it has in the Reading Room, thereby preserving the intent and meaning of the translation.” The Reading Room will also feature Tibetan, Sanskrit, and English glossaries and a subject classification system for the convenience of readers.

You can find out more at

Buddhist temple destroyed in early-morning fire

- A raging fire destroyed a Buddhist temple in a Denver suburb on Monday, CNN affiliate KCNC reports.

One monk was injured in the blaze.

KCNC reported that firefighters tore down walls at the Lao Buddhist Temple of Colorado in an effort to save statues of the Buddha and other religious artifacts.

“I’m glad that everybody was still alive and got out in time. That was my main concern this morning,” Temple secretary Fy Khanthathixay told KCNC. “I don’t care — the rest of it. We can rebuild later.”

The temple released a statement on their website saying, "The Lao Buddhist Temple of Colorado exists on the generosity of the small Lao community, who will now have to rally together to show that a fire will not put a strain on the community's bond and likewise, will not impact their beliefs - if anything, their bond and beliefs will be stronger."

The fire is under investigation by local and national officials since the blaze took place at a religious institution KCNC reported.

Read the story from Denver Post.

Monday, December 5, 2011

2011 Bhikkhu Ordination

Taego order's Bhikkhu ordination that conducted by supreme patriarch of Taego order. Ven. Hae In (Virginia) and Ven. Myong Ahn (New Jersey) from overseas parish were participated 2011 Bhikkhu ordination

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Lady (2011) Trailer

The story of pro-democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi and the academic and writer Michael Aris; a true story of love set against political turmoil.

Still Burning: Thirteenth Tibetan Self-Immolates in Eastern Tibet

Thirteen Tibetans since 2009, most of them monks or former monks, and most recently (Thursday, 1st December, 2011) a former Buddhist monk, have self-immolated as a form of protest against Chinese rule. Several have died as a result of injuries sustained by the flames, or by subsequent beatings by Chinese police trying to stop these protests.

A former monk from the Karma monastery has set himself on fire in Chamdho in eastern Tibet on Thursday, 1st December and his condition is unknown, reports coming out of Tibet say. Tenzin Phuntsok, who is in his 40s, set himself on fire in Chamdo. He was taken away by the Chinese police and his whereabouts is not known. He and his wife Dolma have two sons and a daughter.

12 Tibetans who self immolated earlier this year have called for religious freedom, Human Rights and the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibet to his people.

Reports say that monks from Karma monastery in Chamdho were not allowed to leave the monastery at the time.

The Chinese government has enforced intense security restrictions in Chamdho since the widespread peaceful protests shook Tibet in 2008, a US-based human rights organization said.

In response, Tibetans and supporters around the world have created a series of events to increase awareness and pressure international governments to take action....

Read more from The Tibet Post.

Part 2: Buddhism and Modern Life in Bhutan

The guys in the band are in black, with shaggy hair, and attitudes. They do a sound check in their rehearsal room, and then let it rip.

Guitars shriek through a familiar opening, and then move into a hyper-paced riff on the Pachelbel Canon. This might not be the usual punk rock fare – but then, not all self-proclaimed punk rockers are polite, well-spoken Bhutanese college students.

“Most of our audience is not into hard music, like what we like to play,” says 19-year-old guitarist Ughyen Phuntso, a communications major. “So mostly, we end up playing in my garage.”

Or they play here, at the Youth Development Fund’s youth center in Thimpu, where rehearsal space and instruments are offered free, as an attempt to keep young people off the streets and out of trouble.

“We had noticed there were very few places where the youths could engage productively,” says Dorji Ohm, the center’s program director. “They’d go to the movies or to the bars. In fact, we did a survey and found 500 bars and one library, which was shocking.”

Perhaps it wouldn’t be so shocking in many places, but Bhutan is experiencing growing pains. It has long been a mostly rural, deeply Buddhist, largely isolated mountain kingdom. But in the dozen years since it decided to modernize, and opened up to television, internet and other outside influences, cities have grown and, some Bhutanese fear, mores have changed...

Read the full story from PRI

Do Plants Have Minds?

The guiding idea of this literature seems to be, first, that plants do in fact act, and they act in ways which, when animals act that way, we are disposed to think of as signs of intelligence. Some examples: plants orient and react appropriately not only in response to light, but also wind, water, predators, quality of soil and the volume of available soil, among many other factors.

Granted, by human and animal measures, plants are very slow. But surely it is prejudice to think that only movements and responsiveness that occurs on time scales that seem natural to us count as legitimately expressive of intelligence and mind.

Wittgenstein once remarked that it is only of what looks and acts like a human being that we say that it thinks, it sees, it wants. Wittgenstein was not advocating chauvinism; he was calling attention to the ways in which our conception of intelligence — of mind — is bound up with ways of acting, coping and responding. Indeed, we see this idea at work in discussions of plant intelligence. Scientists are assembling cases that bring out clearly the ways in which plants do look and act like human beings. You just need to look carefully....

Read the full article from NPR blog 13.7

Mumbai attacks survivors preach forgiveness

On the third anniversary of the start of the deadly attacks in the Indian city of Mumbai that left 165 people dead, the BBC's Rajini Vaidyanathan reports on some of the survivors who are preaching forgiveness in a newly published book.

The Mumbai 25 - as they were known - were in Mumbai on 26 November 2008 as part of a meditation retreat.

Two members of the group were killed in the attacks, but the survivors hope that showing compassion will bring something good from a terrible tragedy.

It was a last-minute cancellation that led Linda Ragsdale to travel from the US to Mumbai in November 2008.

She was part of the meditation retreat with 24 others from the US, Canada and Australia - on a programme organised by the Virginia-based Synchronicity Foundation for modern spirituality....

Continue reading from the BBC

Forgiving The Unforgivable: The True Story of How Survivor s of the Mumbai Terrorist Attack Answered Hatred with Compassion [Amazon]

Fears for ancient Thai temples as floods recede

The ruined temples of Ayutthaya have survived centuries of tropical heat and rain, but experts fear some have been weakened by Thailand's devastating floods and may be at risk of collapse.

Unusually heavy monsoon rains caused a deluge that swept across much of central and northern Thailand from July, leaving more than 600 people dead and damaging millions of homes and livelihoods.

Ayutthaya, around 80 kilometres (50 miles) north of Bangkok, was in one of the worst-hit parts of the country and dramatic aerial images last month showed its temples as islands in a vast lake of floodwater.

The structures spent weeks swamped by the murky waters and now fresh cracks have appeared in some of the pagodas that dominate the historic capital, a major tourist attraction and UNESCO World Heritage site.

As the waters retreat, visitors have been warned not to climb onto the structures in case they collapse.
Chaiyanand Busayarat, director of Ayutthaya Historical Park, estimated at least 650 million baht ($20 million) worth of damage had been done, but said the full consequences of the floods were not yet known....

Continue reading here.

Finding Balance: Buddhism And Modern Life In China

Wutaishan, in the mountains of China’s northern Shanxi province, has long been a sacred site for Buddhists. They hike mountain paths, and visit temples dating back to the 8th century.
On one mountain path, a group of middle-aged guys hang a rainbow of prayer flags between two trees, and watch, satisfied, as they flutter in the breeze.

One declines to be interviewed. He’s a government official, and wants to keep his practice of Buddhism private. The other, former pharmaceuticals salesman Zhang Jiankun, 42, is downright loquacious.

“I used to smoke, drink, gamble, fight and chase women. I used to like to do all this all day,” he says. “And then, by the time I was 30, I had money – but I also had hypertension, and liver damage from all the drinking. I’d take clients out, so I’d drink every day. And I was fat.”....

Continue reading from PRI

A Victim Treats His Mugger Right

A old story from 2008 that recently appeared on my Facebook news feed:

Julio Diaz has a daily routine. Every night, the 31-year-old social worker ends his hour-long subway commute to the Bronx one stop early, just so he can eat at his favorite diner.

But one night last month, as Diaz stepped off the No. 6 train and onto a nearly empty platform, his evening took an unexpected turn.

He was walking toward the stairs when a teenage boy approached and pulled out a knife.

"He wants my money, so I just gave him my wallet and told him, 'Here you go,'" Diaz says....

Read the whole story here.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Art as a Weapon

An upcoming documentary, ‘Art as a Weapon,’ will allow viewers access into the closed country of Burma, and illuminate the intersection of street art, Buddhism and democracy. The project, spearheaded by director Jeff Durkin, began when he witnessed Shepard Fairey painting a 30 ft. mural of a Buddhist monk in his hometown of San Diego. The mural intimately enmeshed three distinct notions: religion, human rights and art. From there, Durkin embarked on his journey to explore the overlap of these three staples of human existence, using Burma as a case study.

More info here at Kickstarter.