American Buddhism’s numbers are booming. Published just over three years ago, an American Religious Identification Survey survey showed that from the years 1990 to 2000, Buddhism grew 170 percent in North America. By all indications that remarkable rate of growth continues unabated.
Why is a faith founded under a Bodhi tree in India 2,500 years ago enjoying a newfound popularity in America today?
As bizarre as it sounds, there really are some folks building a Buddhist-themed amusement park in Thailand. And, even more bizarre, when you read about what’s being done it makes perfect sense. I put it on my list of things I’ll regret not having done when I’m facing the bardo.
But I can do the next best thing, and so can you. A couple of young filmmakers are attempting to raise enough money to fly to Thailand and make a documentary about the park. (No, I don’t know if they have deer in the park, so don’t ask.) Folks have underwritten their travel and living expenses, and they’re trying to raise $4K by August 26th for equipment and other expenses.
Subscribing with a reasonable donation (minimum is $1.00) will get you various bennies like a DVD of the finished film, etc. This is a great chance to be a part of a worthwhile effort to spread Dharma awareness. Give the website a look, and if you think it’s worth a few bucks, cough some up. It may be the closest you’ll ever get to a trip to Thailand.
GARRISON, N.Y. — Crosses still adorn one wall of this former Roman Catholic monastery, but a 6-foot golden Buddha now anchors the main room. The meditation hall, also used as a meeting space, is where the luminaries of Buddhism in the West recently gathered to debate.
The issue they were facing had been percolating for years on blogs, in Buddhist magazines and on the sidelines of spiritual retreats. It often played out as a clash of elders versus young people, the preservers of spiritual depth versus the alleged purveyors of “Buddhism-lite.” Organizers of the gathering wanted the finger-pointing to end. The future of American Buddhism was at stake, they said….
The controversy over a Thai Buddhist nun successfully petitioning an Indian court to gain control of a temple has raised broader questions surrounding the administration of temples overseas. It has also highlighted the ambiguous role nuns, or mae chi, face within the structure of Buddhism in Thailand.
A silent auction to benefit Zen Mountain Monastery’s new Zen Arts Hall will be held at Ramscale West Village Lofts at 463 West Street, 13th fl., New York, NY 10014. Proceeds from the auction will go to the building fund for Zen Mountain Monastery’s new Sangha House, an 8,200-square-foot LEED-certified building that will provide a venue for exhibitions, performances, lectures, and conferences that will encourage the exploration of art as a spiritual practice.
John Daido Loori (1931-2009) was the abbot of Zen Mountain Monastery in the Catskill Mountains of upstate New York and the founder and director of the Mountains and Rivers Order of Zen Buddhism. Devoted to maintaining the authenticity of Western Zen training, Loori Roshi was known for his unique adaptation of traditional Buddhism into an American context, particularly with regard to the arts and the environment and the use of modern media as a vehicle of spiritual training and social change. He was an award-winning photographer and the author of over twenty books, including The Eight Gates of Zen and The Zen of Creativity.
I love this line: “Wait a minute, there’s always at least one [asshole]. So if I’m looking around the zendo and I can’t find him—guess who the asshole is!”
And this one: “…spiritual work isn’t always ‘instructive’—it’s transformative, and this kind of transformation can get messy. The Sanskrit term for this is clusterfuck.
Zen practice is good for angry people. The form is tight. It squeezes that deep red heart-pulp, pushing up emotions from way down inside you. A lot of stuff comes up when you do this practice. Zen gets your juices flowing. And with these juices come seeds—the seeds of your behavior, your character, your anger, all flushed out into the open for you to see.
Thousands of people over the years have asked me for advice about how to establish a daily meditation practice at home. Although there are thousands of Buddhist meditation centers around the country, most meditators do some or all of their practice at home on their own. In many cases, this is a practical matter. Most people don’t live close enough to a Buddhist center to meditate there regularly. Or, for one reason or another, they don’t feel comfortable with any of the local centers available to them. Or they feel that for them meditation is a private and personal matter, not a communal religious practice. Anyway, most meditators, for a variety of reasons, meditate at home. I do myself.
It wasn’t that way when I began Zen practice. The conventional wisdom then was that you could never practice on your own. You needed to practice with others—that was the way it was done. You needed instructions from a teacher. You needed support—maintaining the disciple to sit on your own would be too difficult. Besides, meditating alone could be dangerous.
Conventional wisdom has changed. These days many people find that it is entirely possible to meditate on their own. Not that lack of discipline is unknown—keeping up with regular practice remains a struggle for some. But many go beyond struggle to find enjoyment and ease in their daily practice.
(Thanks to buddhafest.org)
by Tenzin Gyatso
When I was a boy in Tibet, I felt that my own Buddhist religion must be the best — and that other faiths were somehow inferior. Now I see how naïve I was, and how dangerous the extremes of religious intolerance can be today.
Chinese President Hu Jintao visited the quake-stricken area of the
Tibetan plateau in northwest China on Sunday, pledging to help victims
rebuild their homes.
The 7.1-magnitude earthquake that struck the Yushu prefecture in Qinghai
Province on Wednesday, followed by hundreds of aftershocks, has caused
the collapse of most of the buildings in the city of Jyegu, burying many
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Born as Gyaltsen Norbu, he was anointed the 11th Panchen Lama in 1995, shortly after the Dalai Lama identified a different child as the reincarnation of the previous Panchen Lama. A few weeks later, that boy and his family vanished. The government has said that they are in “protective custody,” but their whereabouts have been an enduring mystery for 15 years. …