Monthly Archives: January 2010

Send your message to “Thank You Tibet!”

The Tibet Fund, PeaceJam and others invite you to join Thank You Tibet! — a campaign to send messages to the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan people to thank them for preserving and sharing their culture of wisdom and compassion and for inspiring the world to work for peace.

Create a message in any medium—video, music, visual art, photography, and/or text—to express the ways that Tibetan Buddhism and culture have inspired you and changed your life. Messages will be presented during a special program with Nobel Peace laureates Jody Williams and Shirin Ebadi, and Philip Glass, Robert Thurman, Michael Imperioli, Bobby McFerrin, and Tibetan performers at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City on March 4, 2010. Messages will also be given to H.H. the Dalai Lama and leaders of the Tibetan exile community at a later date. Read More »

China–Tibet talks resume

Talks between China and Tibet resumed this week.  It was the first time since talks had broken off in November 2008. The Dalai Lama’s special envoy Lodi Gyari led the delegation. While the resumption of talks is an important step forward, a BBC report suggests it’s unlikely to have resulted in any real progress toward resolving the conflict.

Thich Nhat Hanh on the “great crisis of Vietnamese Buddhism”

Thich Nhat Hanh has issued a new statement regarding the situation of monastics at Bat Nha Monastery in Vietnam’s central highlands. Last September 400 monastics were driven out of the monastery during a government crackdown and the monastery was vandalized. In his statement, Thich Nhat Hanh offers a teaching on koans, which you can read here. For more on this story, go to SunSpace.

On the Buddhism Beat: Buddhism and activism on the screen and around the world

The Rev. Danny Fisher rounds up the world Buddhist news on the Sun Space blog.  Read the latest entry here.

Recent photos of the 12th Trungpa Rinpoche available

From the Konchok Foundation

Konchok Foundation has two new photos of the 12th Trungpa Rinpoche,  recently taken this past September 2009 at Surmang.  (He is now 20 years old!)  Please go to  to see these photos.  We will give a 4×6 copy of  the close-up photo  as a complimentary gift to any donor to Konchok Foundation.  Read More »

Children of Light: Creating a model school for the ultra-poor

From Lee Weingrad of the Surmang Foundation

“Children of Light” is a short video documenting the work of the Surmang Foundation in building schools in some of the poorest villages in Tibet. Prior to the Modi School Project, children sat on tree stumps in poorly constructed schools with mud walls. The video shows the dramatic transformation to a real schoolhouse, where kids also receive public health education. You can view the short doc as a beta streaming video at

The dharma of Second Life

Buddhist Geeks interviews Rev. Jiun Foster, a Zen priest and teacher actively involved in pioneering the teaching of the dharma in the virtual world of Second Life.  Vince Horn speaks with him about what it’s like being a participant in Second Life (where his name is Jiun Bodenhall), and what the limitations and strengths of Second Life are, compared to other social media technologies. Listen to the podcast.

More Midwestern dharma

Great Cloud Zen Center, a Five Mountain Zen Sangha in the lineage of Seung Sahn, has opened the doors to its new Zendo in Cincinnati, Ohio. Great Cloud is led by Rev. Jiun Foster, and hosts weekly meditation, chanting, and koan interviews as well as monthly day-long mini-retreats.

For dates, times, and more information, please visit

Historic first Bearing Witness Retreat in Rwanda

From the Peacemaker Institute

In the tradition of the Peacemakers Bearing Witness Retreat at Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland, we will conduct a five-day retreat, bearing witness to the horror and tragic impact of the 1994 Rwandan genocide as well as the current state of healing and reconciliation efforts in Rwanda. Grounded in our Three Peacemaker Tenets – not knowing, bearing witness and loving action – the retreat will offer Rwandans of all backgrounds and visitors from other countries new means for bearing witness to the realities and aftermath of genocide in ways that lead to healing, reconciliation, community-building and ultimately genocide and violence prevention. Read More »

“The Buddha” documentary to air on PBS

The Buddha, a film by David Grubin, premieres April 7, 2010 at 8 p.m. EST on PBS stations nationwide. The film, according to PBS, is a two-hour documentary by award-winning filmmaker David Grubin. The story will be narrated by Richard Gere, and tells the story of the Buddha’s life, a journey especially relevant to our own bewildering times of violent change and spiritual confusion. Read More »

Author Gary Stern asks, Can God Intervene?

From UrbanDharma’s review of Can God Intervene? How Religion Explains Natural Disasters by Gary Stern

This first book of an award-winning journalist pursues the explicitly theological question announced in the title. Motivated by the tsunami of December 2004 and the experience of hurricane Katrina the following year, the bulk of the volume–nine of the eleven chapters–is devoted to representing the spectrum of theological and religious views regarding what philosophers call “natural evil” in Judaism, Roman Catholicism, mainline Protestantism, Evangelicalism, African-American Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and what Stern calls “The Nonbeliever’s Perspective,” which includes secular humanists, agnostics, and atheists. Read the full review.

Kathmandu University’s Rangjung Yeshe Institute offering online study

This year’s course is Knowledge—Root of the Middle Way (Mūlamadhyamakakārikā), an exposition of Nāgārjuna’s seminal work on Madhyamaka philosophy. The course is taught by Jampa Donden, a Tibetan Khenpo (Professor) at Ka-Nying Shedrup Ling monastery, and translated into English by Catherine Dalton (MA, Kathmandu), a Translator and Lecturer at the Rangjung Yeshe Institute Centre for Buddhist Studies. Supplementary materials were created by Joanne Larson (MA, Bristol),  also a Translator and Lecturer at RYI/CBS, and the Moderator is Hilary Herdman (MA, Bristol), another Lecturer at RYI/CBS.

For full details, visit the Web site.

AP photos of the Dalai Lama at the inauguration of Rigon Thupten Choeling monastery

From Carl Castro

Dear Noble Shambhala Sangha,

I wanted to share with you an email that I sent first to several Ripa sangha friends in the San Francisco Bay Area, and copied to several close Shambhala friends who attended the Royal Wedding of The Sakyong and The Sakyong Wangmo in February 2007 at the site of His Eminence Namkha Drimed Rinpoche’s new monastery, Rigon Thupten Mindrolling, in Jeerang, Orissa, India.

As most of you may well know, this monastery is currently being inaugurated by none other than His Holiness The XIV Dalai Lama, with The Sakyong Wangmo in attendance, along with the Ripa family. Alas, I’m not there!

But while feeling some longing, I came across a humorous photo from the monastery on the San Francisco Chronicle’s “Day in Pictures” webpage! Through this, I was able to find more photos of the event by an Associated Press (AP) photographer in attendance, Mr. Anupam Rath. These include photos of His Eminence with His Holiness, and of our Sakyong Wangmo and her sisters, the Ripa Semos.

Read More »