Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Maangchi - Authentic Korean Cooking

Learn how to cook authenthic Korean dishes with free recipe books and video instruction! Many delicious vegetarian dishes available as well which can be used for formal meal practice (Baru Gongyang) too!

Maangchi is a great Korean Cooking website that has free recipe books available for download, free video instruction and beautiful photos alongside step-by-step instructions for a ton of delicious and easy to make authentic Korean dishes. There is also a Youtube channel, Podcast, Community section and more!

Check out one video here for Mapa Tofu!
Mapa tofu is also called "mapo tofu" or "mapo doufu." It's one of the most popular Chinese-Korean dishes in Korea along with jjajangmyeon (blackbean noodles) and tangsuyuk (sweet and sour pork/beef). Koreans call this dish "mapadubu." Every family seems to have their own version of mapadubu. I use chicken breast but you could use pork or beef. If you're a vegetarian, you could use mushrooms instead of meat.

Check it out here. 

Samsara - In Theaters August

We covered Samsara here back in January, now, the HD teaser trailer is available through iTunes. Let's all hope this film backs it to Detroit this summer with the IMAX quality it deserves!

Prepare yourself for an unparalleled sensory experience. SAMSARA reunites filmmakers Ron Fricke and Mark Magidson, whose award-winning films BARAKA and CHRONOS brought a new visual and musical artistry to theaters. Dispensing with dialogue and descriptive text, SAMSARA explores the wonders of our world, from the mundane to the miraculous, looking into the unfathomable reaches of man's spirituality and the human experience, and illuminating the links between humanity and the rest of nature.

Watch the Trailer (iTunes Movie Trailers)

Official Site

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Masters of Mercy - Kazunobo's 500 Arhats

Watch Masters of Mercy on PBS. See more from Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly.
Program: Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly
Episode: Masters of Mercy

Between 1854 and 1863, Japanese artist Kano Kazunobu (1816-1863) created a series of 100 paintings of the Buddha's 500 disciples. Watch our interview about Buddhism and Kazunobu's paintings with James Ulak, senior curator of Japanese art at the Smithsonian Institution's Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery. 

Duration: (6:43)
Premiere Date: 04/20/2012
Episode Expires: Never
TV Rating: NR

Personally, this is some of my most favorite Buddhist art from any period or culture. I had the fortunate opportunity to view the collection in its entirety first-hand in Tokyo last summer. As a result, MWZ owns a rare and collectible museum gallery photo book about Kazunobo's collection. Check it out next time you visit the temple!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Book - The Man Who Quit Money- UPDATED!

Many of us have found out in the last few years what it's like to live with a lot less money.
But for most of us living with less is involuntary and, sometimes, painful. For Daniel Suelo, it's the only way he'd have it.

Twelve years ago, he pulled his life savings out of his pocket and left it in a phone booth. Since then, he has lived in America with no money.

He does not touch it, does not deal with it, does not accept it. Suelo's life story is the subject of a new book by Mark Sundeen called The Man Who Quit Money. Daniel Suelo lives happily and free in a cave near Moab, Utah. 

He no longer even carries an I.D. Yet he manages to amply fulfill not only the basic human needs-for shelter, food, and warmth-but, to an enviable degree, the universal desires for companionship, purpose, and spiritual engagement. In retracing the surprising path and guiding philosophy that led Suelo into this way of life, Sundeen raises provocative and riveting questions about the decisions we all make, by default or by design, about how we live-and how we might live better.....

UPDATE (4/19/12) - Added Youtube Book Trailer

They Call It Myanmar - Lifting the Curtain - Limited 1-Night Only Showing!

 A rare glimpse behind the scenes in Burma - or Myanmar, as the ruling military junta renamed it in 1989 - one of the most isolated countries in the world. Writer and filmmaker Robert H. Lieberman secretly filmed the everyday lives of ordinary citizens over a period of two years - lives defined by food shortages, power cuts, and a lack of health care and education. This land of countless golden pagodas that not so long ago was renowned as the "rice bowl of Asia" is now a place of terrible poverty, which has led to widespread child labor and trafficking. In a remarkable interview, opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi talks about the recent history of Burma and her many years under house arrest for her political activities. Anonymous commentators talk about the character of this regime, which has absolutely no communication with its population, but uses physical repression to hold the country in its iron grip. We also see how Buddhism has influenced the way in which the Burmese deal with the difficult living conditions. This film is a portrait of a land where beauty and decay, and fear and courage, closely coexist.

The film screens for one night only, on Wednesday, April 25 at 7:30pm at the Main Art Theatre.

Landmark Theatres

Official Web Site

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Anguttara Nikaya Available for Pre-Order with a big discount!

From Wisdom Publications. This is a great opportunity to pick up this major addition to Bhikkhu Bodhi's excellent Nikaya series. This is a must have for IBS USA students as well as anyone who is interested in having the most authoritative and definitive original Buddhist suttas and texts.

The following information below is from Wisdom Publications Website:

Limited Time Offer! Now Through August 15, order for only$45! (regular price, $75)

Numerical Discourses of the Buddha,TheA Complete Translation of the Anguttara NikayaBhikkhu Bodhi, Translator

We are pleased to extend a special offer for the much-anticipated fourth volume of definitive translations of the Nikayas from the preeminent Pali scholar:Now through August 15, reserve your copy of The Numerical Discourses for only $45 (regular list price of $75).
This limited-time offer includes:

Click here to download the Table of Contents to The Numerical Discourses
Click here to download the Thematic Guide to The Numerical Discourses

Like the River Ganges flowing down from the Himalayas, the entire Buddhist tradition flows down to us from the teachings and deeds of the historical Buddha, who lived and taught in India during the fifth century B.C. To ensure that his legacy would survive the ravages of time, his direct disciples compiled records of the Buddha’s teachings soon after his passing. In the Theravada Buddhist tradition, which prevails in Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia, these records are regarded as the definitive “word of the Buddha.” Preserved in Pali, an ancient Indian language closely related to the language that the Buddha spoke, this full compilation of texts is known as the Pali Canon.
At the heart of the Buddha’s teaching were the suttas (Sanskrit sutras), his discourses and dialogues. If we want to find out what the Buddha himself actually said, these are the most ancient sources available to us. The suttas were compiled into collections called “Nikayas,” of which there are four, each organized according to a different principle. The Digha Nikaya consists of longer discourses; the Majjhima Nikaya of middle-length discourses; the Samyutta Nikaya of thematically connected discourses; and the Anguttara Nikaya of numerically patterned discourses.
The present volume, which continues Wisdom’s famous “Teachings of the Buddha” series, contains a full translation of the Anguttara Nikaya. The Anguttara arranges the Buddha’s discourses in accordance with a numerical scheme intended to promote retention and easy comprehension. In an age when writing was still in its infancy, this proved to be the most effective way to ensure that the disciples could grasp and replicate the structure of a teaching.

Praise & Reviews
Praise for The Teachings of the Buddha Series"A triumph."—The Middle Way: Journal of the Buddhist Society
“As close as we’ll get to the original teachings and account of the life of the Buddha.”—Tricycle Magazine

Pre-Order from Wisdom Publications here.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Medicine Buddha Chanting

Bhaiṣajyaguru (भैषज्यगुरु), (‘Medicine Master’), is the buddha of healing and medicine in Mahāyāna Buddhism. Commonly referred to as the "Medicine Buddha", he is described as a doctor who cures suffering using the medicine of his teachings.

In the Bhaiṣajyaguruvaidūryaprabharāja Sūtra, the Medicine Buddha is described as having entered into a state of samadhi called "Eliminating All the Suffering and Afflictions of Sentient Beings." From this samadhi state he spoke the Medicine Buddha Dharani.[4]
namo bhagavate bhaiṣajyaguru
vaiḍūryaprabharājāya tathāgatāya
arhate samyaksambuddhāya tadyathā:
oṃ bhaiṣajye bhaiṣajye mahābhaiṣajya-samudgate svāhā.
The last line of the dharani is used as Bhaisajyaguru's short form mantra. 

The Korean name for Bhaisajyaguru is 
약사불, 약사여래 (Yaksa-bul, Yaksa-yere)

The sangha of MWZ chanted the Medicine Buddha Mantra this past Sunday, for those who are suffering and in need of healing and positive energy.

Sutra of the Medicine Buddha - (

Monday, April 16, 2012

Dharma Talk - Dharma Starts with a Single Light

Rev. Bup Seong's first Dharma Talk

Talk Given By: Rev. Bup Seong Bup Sanim (Heather Emerick)
Sunday, April 15, 2012
Duration - 9:36

This talk marks Rev. Bup Seong's first Dharma Talk as an Ordained Dharma Instructor. It followed her induction into the clergy staff of Muddy Water Zen.

Subscribe in iTunes!

Listen to other previous Dharma Talks here.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

2012 Spring Retreat and Precept Ceremony

2012 Precept Ceremony of the Taego Overseas Parish in Grand Rapids, MI

The 2012 Spring Taego Protocol Retreat and Precept Ceremony was held over this past weekend at Muddy Water Zen in Royal Oak and also at the Grand Rapids Zen Center & Buddhist Temple from Thursday April 5, 2012 - Sunday April 8, 2012.

The protocol retreat was lead by the Overseas Bishop of the Taego Order of Korean Buddhism, Venerable Dr. Jongmae Park and the participants included the clergy staff of Muddy Water Zen, IBS USA students from Michigan, Indiana, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

Friday evening, April 6, 2012, Heather Emerick (Bup Seong) was officially ordained a Dharma Teacher (Bup Sanim) in the Taego Order by Overseas Parish Bishop Ven. Dr. Jongmae Park, which was followed by a sangha celebration.

Sunday, April 8, 2012, retreat members joined the Grand Rapids sangha in a Dharmacari Precept Ordination Ceremony. The Precept Ceremony was held at the Marywood Dominican Center in Grand Rapids and was attended by over 100 people. 17 individuals from the Grand Rapids sangha took the Panca Sila (5 Precepts) under the Dharma family name 'Ahm' (Stony, Diamond). 6 individuals from MWZ also took the Panca Sila under the Dharma family name 'Geum' (Golden). 4 individuals took the 10 Bodhi-cari Precepts and also became Haengja (noviciate), and thereby received permission to travel to Seonam-sa in South Korea later this fall for novice monk training.

The Protocol Retreat and Precept Ceremony were both a great success and sangha fellowship was enjoyed by clergy, students, preceptors, family, and friends. The events held over this weekend mark a significant milestone in the development and growth of the Taego Overseas Parish, the 2nd largest Order of Korean Buddhism, an authentic tradition with a lineage going back over 1600 years.

Check out the Photo Album linked below for some memorable moments from all the recent events.

Link to Photo Album

Thursday, April 5, 2012

On Retreat!

2011 Taego/IBS USA Spring Protocol Retreat, MWZ

Today begins the 2012 Spring Taego Protocol Retreat at Muddy Water Zen in Royal Oak, MI. The retreat will be attended by clergy members from Muddy Water Zen, Grand Rapids Buddhist Temple & Zen Center, clergy from Canada and IBS USA Seminary students, including international students. 

 Taego Overseas Bishop Venerable Dr. Jongmae Park (Kunsunim) will lead the retreat. 

A special ordination ceremony for Bup Seong (IBS USA Seminary student and MWZ Dharma student, Heather Emerick) will take place tomorrow evening, Friday, April 6 at 7 PM. Bup Seong will be ordained  Bup Sanim, Dharma Teacher (Reverend). All are invited to come and support Bup Seong and take advantage of the special opportunity to witness an ordination ceremony. 

Saturday, the retreat members will carpool across the state to Grand Rapids to prepare for this year's Precept Ceremony to be held on Sunday, April 8. More than 20 individuals will formally take Buddhist Precepts. 

Blog postings will resume early next week. 

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Trailer - The GateKeeper of Enmyoin

Teijun Ogawa, a proud and rare niso (female priest) of Japanese Shingon Buddhist Sect, dies after telling her story to Reiko and Max, a Japanese couple based in New York. She told them about her desolate life since she was given to a temple at the age of seven, and her achievement of building the Enmyoin temple single-handedly. But she refused to share her view as a woman—as if the subject was taboo. Upon hearing the arrival of a young heiress, as though guided by old Teijun, the couple revisits Enmyoin.

The GateKeeper of Enmyoin is the product of their journey in search of Teijun's unspoken feelings about her womanhood before and after her death. While the dark reality of Teijun’s female priesthood in the man-dominant rural Japanese Buddhist culture is revealed, new mysteries of the untold parts of Teijun’s life emerge. The story is told through Reiko’s voice, which reflects her own journey of trying to find freedom, balance and integration of her roles as a rebel, new immigrant in the U.S., woman, wife, and mother. Soon the simple unfinished portrait of Teijun develops into a genre-bending, personal detective documentary with rich narrative flavor and spiritual sustenance.

Learn more at and purchase the DVD!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Bringing management lessons to Buddha

In Japan, where on-the-job training is often valued more than academic qualifications, an MBA is not an obvious step to career advancement – particularly if you are a Buddhist monk.

But Keisuke Matsumoto had a grander goal in sight when he decided to take a break from his job as a monk at Komyoji Temple in Tokyo and attend a one-year MBA programme in India.

Mr Matsumoto wanted to acquire management skills to help him realise his vision of transforming Japan’s Buddhist temples into something more relevant to modern Japanese society. The 32-year-old believes temples should be what Peter Drucker, the management consultant, called “change agents”, offering people a place where they can achieve their spiritual awakening.

“I wanted to change the world of Buddhism and in order to do that, you have to enter that world first,” he says....

Continue reading at Financial Times.

Another story on Matsumoto was featured earlier this year,

Japanese creating management model to attract Gen Y to Buddhist Temple

“What’s So Funny About Buddhism?” — cartoonist David Sipress explains

What’s So Funny About Buddhism? 
By David Sipress
It begins with language. Words like “nothing” and “self” are rich in comic possibility when they are transposed from the Buddhist context into our Western context. The space between these two worlds is where the funniness lives. For example, there’s my cartoon of a guy in a meditation class asking the teacher, “Exactly what is this ‘nothing’ I’ve been hearing so much about?” Or the woman in another cartoon who introduces herself to the meditation teacher:

Juxtaposition and incongruity are the working material of cartoon humor. I love taking the richness and ambiguity of the language of Buddhism and juxtaposing it with the more mundane aspects of Western popular culture. I recently drew a cartoon of two people watching a TV show called, “The Amazing Race to Enlightenment.” The announcer says, “This week, can Jim and Suzy achieve right mindfulness? And will Barb and Candy be eliminated for relentless clinging to the self?”
Beyond language, there is the notion of paradox. Paradoxes—which of course, are all about juxtaposition and incongruity– are funny. Our struggles to grasp Buddhist ideas about what we call, “reality” — about its fleeting nature — ideas that lead to an understanding that opposites can be equally true and real at the same time since neither is actually “real” since there is really no such thing as “reality” — oy vey! — all this is terribly confusing to the average western mind, and therefore, fertile terrain for the cartoonist. One of the great New Yorker cartoon tropes is the In box and the Out box, sitting on a businessman’s desk. I did one of a Buddhist monk who has only one box on his desk — the box is labeled, In Out....

Zen Monster

Zen Monster is a new-ish magazine (it first appeared in 2008 but only recently released its third issue) with the following manifesto: “We commit ourselves to art, poetry, fiction, and subversive political commentary by buddhist, non-buddhist and trans-buddhist writers, artists, and essayists.Zen Monster is committed to mature achievements, beginnings, half-steps, younger artists, older artists, and any ‘fumblings by the way.’” Then, tacked on at the end, a quasi-mission statement: “No inherent limits.” Zen Monster #3 is just as funky, passionate, and raw as the first two issues. Norman Fischer, a contributing editor to Zen Monster, is the subject of a killer interview about writing poetry, “For the Poem Itself: A Language View.” Brad Warner tackles the Genpo Roshi sex scandal in his essay “How to Make a Zen Monster.” Diane DiPrima provides a number of poems dedicated to the memory of Philip Whalen. Zen Monster is edited by Brian Unger, a Ph.D. candidate in English and American Literature at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Copies are hard to find, so if you spot one, grab it, or order one at


Mind Hack! Train Your Brain for Monk-Like Focus!

The moment you get effortlessly lost in work goes by any number of names: focus, concentration, escapism, flow, and countless others. It's the point where you're able to blur the world around you and calibrate your brain to pay attention to one single task. It's your sweet spot. It's when you Get Things Done. Your entire cognitive effort is concentrated on one task and when you're in that moment the outside world disappears.
We all struggle to maintain focus in our daily lives. Endless distractions keep our brains from focusing on a task as we struggle to get things done at work and complete projects around the house. But what's actually happening in your brain when you're lost in a project? And more importantly, how can you train to induce that focused state in yourself?
It's important to know what's happening in your brain when you're focused on something and what happens when you get distracted. From there we can look at minimizing those distractions and training your brain to focus better. After all, focusing is a skill and takes practice to develop....

More Americans say too much religion in politics

 For the first time since 2001, a plurality Americans say there is too much religious talk from politicians, according to a new survey released Wednesday by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.
The poll showed 38% of Americans saying there was too much religious expression from politicians, compared to 30% who said there was too little. Twenty-five percent said the current level of religious rhetoric was the right amount.
Those figures represent a shift from 2010, when more Americans (37%) said there was too little talk of faith compared to those who said there was too much (29%).

Asked whether churches should be involved in politics, a majority of Americans (54%) said they should stay out. Forty percent said it was fine for churches to express political and social views.
Overall, a distinctive split appeared between Democrats and Republicans on the question of religion entering the political realm. More Democrats (46%) than Republicans (24%) said there was too much religious talk from politicians, though the number for both groups has increased since 2010....

Is There a “Universal Grammar” of Religion in the Same Way There Is a “Universal Grammar” of Language?

An interesting proposal that attempts to observe and apply a prevalent theory in linguistics to religious thought. 

Following Noam Chomsky, some cognitive linguists have argued that humans naturally develop a “universal grammar” for language that informs and constrains language acquisition. That is, it makes some forms of symbolic communication very easy to acquire because some of the grammatical possibilities come easily or automatically, but at the same time makes communication systems that have different sorts of grammars relatively difficult to learn. 

Analogously, early developing natural cognition creates receptivity to certain cultural concepts over others. Those that fall in the domain of “religion” might be compared to a “universal grammar” for religion, or what I have called “natural religion” (see my new book Born Believers: The Science of Children’s Religious Beliefs. As with language, religious expression that conforms closely to the parameters of natural religion will be easily acquired by children (and adults), readily understood and talked about, and will tend to be widespread across individuals and cultures. But also as in language, the anchoring effect of natural religion allows for variability—particularly through formal instruction, study, and other forms of “cultural scaffolding” provided by institutions and guilds of specialists....