Monthly Archives: March 2011

Japanese look to ancient traditions for strength

A recently published article on the Huffington Post (Japanese Look To Ancient Traditions For Strength) looks at the role Buddhism will play in the healing process for the Japanese people.

The article begins:

“When uncounted thousands have died in a disaster such as last week’s earthquake and tsunami, where will the Japanese people find spiritual strength?

Experts on Japanese culture say they’ll find it in the critical, comforting rituals of religion.

They will rely on centuries-old traditions of a distinctive Buddhist culture and the ancient Shinto beliefs of their earliest people. Japan is 90 percent Buddhist or Shinto or a combination of the two, with young urban Japanese more inclined to have drifted from religious attachments.” Click here to continue reading…

Murder as a Call to Love: The Zen of Forgiveness

Three members of Judith Toy’s family were brutally murdered by a boy who lived across the street from them.  It was through Zen and the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh that she was able to finally forgive that boy and begin to heal. Watch a video of Judith’s story here.

Today Judith is an ordained Zen cleric, and she is working on publishing a book so that she may share her story with the world, in the hope that it may inspire others.  An excerpt from Toy’s work-in-progress was recently published in Buddhadharma. Judith is seeking some basic funding to enable her to finish this project. You can learn more about her work and offer a donation here.

Dr. A.T. Ariyaratne honored for his lifelong work

Sarvodaya leader Dr. A.T. Ariyaratne has been chosen to receive the 45th Annual Cultural Award for the Promotion of Buddhism in the world. The award is given by the Buddhist Association of Japan, Bukkyo Dendo Kyokai.

Dr. Ariyaratne is the founder of the Sarvodaya movement and has been working to promote political peace through the use of Buddhist and Gandhian philosophy.  He has demonstrated how Buddhist teachings have practical use in the modern world to settle conflict and organize communities peacefully.

The award presentation ceremony was scheduled to take place in Tokyo on March 17, but in light of Japan’s recent tragedy, we suspect that this may be postponed.

Buddhadharma published a story on Dr. Ariyaratne in 2005, entitled Peace Is More Than Not Fighting. You can read the full text of this story in the Buddhadharma archives.

Thich Nhat Hanh offers a message to Japan

Zen and mindfulness teacher Thich Nhat Hanh has offered a “message to friends in Japan,” emphasizing interconnection and offering “peace, healing and protection.” You’ll find it here, via the mindfulness/community blog A Circle of Friends.

The Dalai Lama officially requests to step down

Following the announcement from last week, via the Wall Street Journal’s India Real Time column: “The Dalai Lama pleaded with exiled Tibetan MPs on Monday to accept his resignation as their political leader, warning that a delayed handover could pose ‘an overwhelming challenge.’ In a letter read out to the exiled parliament, the 75-year-old Nobel peace laureate argued that the Tibetan movement was now mature enough for a directly-elected political leader.”

An outpouring of concern and support for Japan

Source: CNN

As relief efforts continue, Buddhists all over the world are coming together to pray for the victims of the Japan earthquake and tsunami. Here in North America, over the past few days there have been reports of Buddhists in Chicago, Calgary, Cedar Rapids, IA, Ventura County, Quincy, MAColorado, and San Diego coming together to pray for the victims and to share their personal connections about those who have been affected by the disaster.

The Dalai Lama also issued a statement on Saturday expressing his sadness, which can be read on his website.

Exclusive interview with Tibet’s outgoing prime-minister-in-exile

With the announcement that the Dalai Lama will be stepping down as Tibet’s political leader, all eyes are turned to the March 20th election of the Tibetan government-in-exile’s new prime minister to see who will assume control of Tibet’s political future.

This article from The Globe and Mail examines what the Dalai Lama’s recent announcement will mean for Tibet and also provides detailed profiles of the candidates for Prime Minister.

Buddhadharma brings you this exclusive online interview with the outgoing prime-minister-in-exile, Lobsang Tenzin, better known as Prof. Samdhong Rinpoche.  He shares his thoughts on how Tibet has changed over the past 51 years, his relationship with the Dalai Lama, and what he sees as the key needs that must be addressed to secure the future of the Tibetan people. Read More »

Disaster in Japan: How Master Cheng Yen’s Tzu Chi Foundation has responded, and how you might too

James Ure of The Buddhist Blog reports: “The Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation, one of the biggest charity groups in Taiwan, announced earlier in the day that it has set up a command center to prepare for launching relief aid to Japan.” More, plus what you can do, after the jump.  Read More »

Dzongsar Rinpoche and Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche on translation project

The 100-year project to translate the words of the Buddha, known as the “Buddhist Literary Heritage Project,” has changed its name to “84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha.” The new name comes with a new web address:

Below are videos of two new addresses from Dzongsar Rinpoche and Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche on this ongoing project.

Read More »

Dalai Lama statement: He will be stepping away from his political role in Tibet (transcript/video)

The possibility arose back in December: would the Dalai Lama soon be retiring some of his duties? It seems that the time has come. In an announcement given this morning, His Holiness said he will formally propose next week that he retire his political role in Tibet. The idea is to strengthen the possibility of a more democratic Tibet via a new generation of leaders.

“My desire to devolve authority has nothing to do with a wish to shirk responsibility. It is to benefit Tibetans in the long run,” he said.

Video of the Dalai Lama’s speech as it was given in Tibetan (marking the 52nd anniversary of the Tibetan national uprising day) has been made available. You can watch it here or read a full English transcription after the jump. Read More »

Cremation of Thai meditation master Ajahn Maha Bua; New memorial book of teachings available

As we reported shortly after his passing, the cremation of Thai meditation master Ajahn Maha Bua (alternate spelling: Maha Boowa) was planned to take place on March 5, and it did — with many, many people in attendance. As Thailand’s The Nation reports:

“Tens of thousands of people flocked yesterday to Wat Pa Ban Tad forest temple in Udon Thani to attend the royal-sponsored cremation of highly revered monk Luangta Maha Bua Yannasampanno yesterday evening, which was graciously presided over by HM Queen Sirikit. [...] Thousands of police and Army personnel provided security. The temple compound was crowded with Buddhist devotees seated around the temporary crematorium to attend the rite of the revered monk. Some 1,500 almshouses that handed out free meals were full. The 18 parking lots were packed with buses and vans providing free rides to people from parking lots to the temple.” (Complete article here.)

For more from Buddhadharma on the life and teachings of this one-of-a-kind master, click here. And: Samana, a new book of teachings by Ajahn Maha Bua, is now available for free download via Forest Dhamma Books. Click here to learn more and to download or read online.

International Buddhist Film Foundation presents two new films

The International Buddhist Film Foundation will present two exciting new films at the SF International Asian American Film Festival. The films are Summer Pasture and Abraxas.

The IBFF describes Summer Pasture by directors Lynn True, Nelson Walker III, and Tsering Perlo as “a compelling portrayal of the life of a nomadic family on the Tibetan plateau at a time of profound historic change. This will be its Bay Area premiere, and all three directors are expected to attend.”

The other film, Abraxas by Naoki Kato, “is the story of Jonen, a punk rock veteran, now a young married Buddhist monk (i.e., a priest), with an identity crisis of sorts. Touches on karma, self, compassion, community, impermanence, a dog, fathers and sons, relative and absolute, noise and music…weaving bravely between heartfelt emotion and borderline jaunty farce. A soft spot for thrash punk (and Leonard Cohen!) will add to the pleasure. Something of a glimpse perhaps into the place of Buddhism in contemporary Japan…a not-too-distant kin to Juzo Itami’s The Funeral (1984) and Yojiro Katika’s Departures (2008).”
Read More »

17th Karmapa’s spring teaching via live webcast

Gyalwang Karmapa will be webcasting a four-day spring teaching on “How to Become a Good Person by Having a Wish to Benefit Others.” The teaching will be held March 9-12, from 4 pm to 6 pm Indian local time. Translations will be offered in English, Chinese, French, Spanish, German, Polish, Hindi, and Vietnamese.  Read More »