A house in Pungo used by Buddhists as a temple is in foreclosure, and the monks are looking for a new spot….
HANOI, Vietnam — Communist Vietnam’s sometimes edgy relationship with religious freedom is being tested in a dispute over a monastery inhabited by disciples of Thich Nhat Hanh, one of the world’s most famous Zen masters.
For four years, the Buddhist monks and nuns at Bat Nha monastery in central Vietnam have been quietly meditating and studying the teachings of the 82-year-old Vietnamese sage who is perhaps the world’s best-known living Buddhist after Tibet’s Dalai Lama.
But lately, they are in a standoff that could test the patience of even the most enlightened.
First, local authorities cut off their power, water and telephones.
Then, a mob descended on their compound with sledgehammers, smashing windows, damaging buildings and threatening occupants….
*Sigh* I wonder if they make gym shoes in Bhutan?
In the days when I was an Indian classical dancer, we were beset by doubts and anxieties about authenticity. How could we possibly practise an ancient art form in the rootless west? Were modifications to the form or the teaching method possible? Or were they anathema? If we learned one form of the dance, was it alright to go to a teacher of another form?
I was reminded of those anguished late-night debates at Joseph Goldstein’s session at King’s Place for London Insight Meditation on Sunday. Similar anxieties were raised in the questions from the packed and respectful audience. Broadly, they provided a stream of queries that fell into two camps – firstly how to live the dharma in daily life here – “How do I deal “skilfully” with a neighbour who persistently hems my car in?” – and secondly, how precise about its boundaries should western Buddhism be….
There are things you expect a Buddhist monk to say when he emerges, blinking, after four years of selfimposed retreat from the world. And there are things you don’t.
“It was a bit like Big Brother without the cameras,” said Gelong Thubten. “What did I miss? I missed my Mum and ice cream.”
What he found to replace them, it seems, was a profound inner happiness and an almost tangible aura of stillness and calm.
Monastic texts suggest that there are four sexes: male, female, ubhatovyanjañaka and pa??ak. The former two are interpreted as a range of sexual and gender variations of male-bodied, female-bodied and intersex people. How the layperson relates to LGBTQs edicts differs among cultures in the world. In the West, Buddhists tend to be socially and politically active and choose to remember Buddha’s emphasis on tolerance, compassion and seeking answers within one’s self.
DHARAMSALA, India — For centuries, the selection of the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama has been steeped in the mysticism of a bygone world.
On the windswept Tibetan plateau, his closest aides look for divinations in a sacred lake. A mountain god transmits oracular messages by possessing a high lama. Monks scour villages for boys precocious in their spiritual attunement.
All that is about to change, as the current Dalai Lama and his followers in exile here in India compete with the Chinese government for control of how the 15th Dalai Lama will be chosen.
I received this notice of a new networking site for contacts and forums related to Buddhism. It’s just getting off the ground, and could use some support.
Buddhist Network Site – Powered by CO.CC
Some travelers take a more upscale route, riding on air-conditioned trains and luxury tour buses and staying at full-service hotels. But as Buddhists living on a Peace Corps budget, Julia and I opted for a more authentic experience. Our goal was to travel to the original four places as the Buddha might, making our own way, leaving room for serendipity, enduring minor hardships and seeking refuge in simple monasteries.
The 14th Dalai Lama cuts a familiar figure, with his shorn head, hedgerow-thick eyebrows, tinted eyeglasses, smiling visage and loose-fitting maroon and saffron robes.
“I am just a simple Buddhist monk — no more, nor less,” he has said.
But likening the Dalai Lama to “a simple Buddhist monk” is akin to saying the Pope is just another priest….
…Many of us would recognize him on the street, and yet we know little about him….
In an office at the University Press of Kentucky, one would never expect to find the birthplace of a Buddhist community.
Enlightenment is not a cool experience you have, which you then file away with all your other cool experiences. It’s not like that acid trip you took at Burning Man five years ago or that really wicked bike ride down an active volcano in Hawaii when you were in college. It’s certainly not something you can buy for less than it costs you to hire a hooker, then clean up and go get lunch. It’s also not something that someone who’s gotten can now give you.
“Dharma music is a brand new thing,” says singer-songwriter Eve Decker, a retreat manager at Spirit Rock. “Buddhism in the East has chanting, and there is lyrical music for other spiritual traditions, but dharma music as a popular form for regular folks is just being born.”
Decker, who’s 47 and grew up in Mill Valley, has recorded what is believed to be the first dharma CD, “Commentary on Perfections of the Heart,” an acoustic folk-pop album based on the 10 paramis (teachings) of Buddhism – generosity, virtue, renunciation, wisdom, energy, patience, truthfulness, determination, loving-kindness and equanimity. …
People sometimes ask me for a blessing because they think I can heal them. Healing power — nonsense! Miracle power — nonsense. I’m just nothing. Just a human being. Just the same as you.”
Lama Ole Nydahl, internationally renowned Danish-born Buddhist master, author, and the founder of Diamond Way Buddhism Worldwide, visits New York City for a rare, three-day event…