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Archive for the ‘Engaged Buddhism’ Category

Elephant Journal

Engaged Buddhism: Venerable Bhikkhu Bodhi

Though many know him well as the Pali scholar responsible for prodigious English translations of huge pieces of the Tripitaka, the Venerable Bhikkhu Bodhi has emerged in the last few years as one of the globe’s most important and industrious Engaged Buddhist leaders.

Born Jeffrey Block in Brooklyn in 1944, he was ordained in the Theravada Buddhist tradition of Sri Lanka at age 28.  In 1984, he succeeded the great Venerable Nyanaponika Thera as editor of the Buddhist Publication Society.  By 1988, the venerable was named president of the organization.  He would hold these positions until 2002, when he returned to the United States.

He now lives at Chuang Yen Monastery in Carmel, NY, and teaches there and at Bodhi Monastery in Lafayette, NJ. He also serves as chairman of the Yin Shun Foundation, an organization devoted to translating into English the works of the late Chinese Mahayana Buddhist Master Yin Shun.

The Venerable Bhikkhu Bodhi’s published works include The Noble Eightfold Path: Way to the End of Suffering, The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha: A Translation of the Majjhima Nikaya (with the Venerable Bhikkhu Nanamoli), Numerical Discourses of the Buddha: An Anthology of Suttas from the Anguttara Nikaya (with the Venerable Nyanaponika Thera), The Connected Discourses of the Buddha: A New Translation of the Samyutta Nikaya, A Comprehensive Manual of Abhidhamma: The Abhidhammattha Sangaha of Acariya Anuruddha, and the enormously popular collection In the Buddha’s Words: An Anthology of Discourses from the Pali Canon.

Since his return to the United States, the venerable has been actively involved in global relief and environmental efforts.  He played a primary role in founding Buddhist Global Relief, a visionary humanitarian organization based in the United States.  In addition, he co-authored (with David Loy and John Stanley) the Buddhist Climate Declaration—a pan-Buddhist declaration on climate change that an international collection of Buddhist clergy (including myself) signed.  He was also one of the many diverse religious leaders who converged on Copenhagen during the recent United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

I asked the Venerable Bhikkhu Bodhi if he would be willing to answer a few questions about all that he has been up to lately, and he graciously agreed.

Click here to read the interview.

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Dignity and Discipline represents yet another urgent and energetic contribution to the global march toward gender equality. Presenting a watershed moment in Buddhist history, as the Dalai Lama together with scholars and monastics from around the world present powerful cases, grounded in both scripture and a profound appeal to human dignity, that the order of Buddhist nuns can and should be fully restored.


“The controversy surrounding full female ordination is one of the most pressing issues facing modern Buddhism. Dignity and Discipline is without a doubt the most valuable book on the subject to date, and should be required reading for anyone interested in contemporary Buddhism. As the book makes clear, the ordination of women as full-fledged monastics is not only a religious and political issue, it is an issue pertaining to a basic human right: gender equality. The seventeen papers included here are from a 2007 conference in Hamburg, the International Congress on Women’s Role in the Sangha, which was convened to fulfill a request by the Dalai Lama, and brought together religious leaders from across Asia as well as Europe and North America, including leading scholars such as Janet Gyatso, Karma Lekshe Tsomo, and Bhikku Bodhi. Intended to effect real progress, the book begins with the assumption that full ordination is inevitable and charts a course to bring it about, investigating history and the doctrinal issues that must be settled before the Tibetan and Theravadin sanghas embrace such change.” —Buddhadharma: The Buddhist Review

Check out our website for more.

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Buddha at the Apocalypse is easy-going, well written, and solidly reasoned-and lively in the way it interweaves Biblical analysis, Zen literature, and Western philosophy and sociology with popular culture and deep wisdom. I am delighted to greet this important and meaningful work.” —from the foreword Robert A.F. Thurman, author of Why the Dalai Lama Matters

Timely and audacious, Buddha at the Apocalypse challenges us to look directly at the devastating assumptions underlying the very mechanisms of the modern world-and offers a clarion call to awaken from a pervasive culture of destruction into a natural, sustainable, and sane peace.

“This book helped me to see Western culture more clearly, and inspired me to rebel against the apocalyptic paradigm with renewed vigor.” —Noah Levine, author of Dharma Punx

Visit our website to learn more about this exciting new title.


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“The Banyan Deer shows that the lives of all living beings are equally important.”—His Holiness the Seventeenth Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje

This inspiring, beautifully illustrated storybook reminds us that no one can be truly at peace unless all beings have a chance for peace, freedom, and happiness. The Banyan Deer is a wonderful, heart-warming gift for anyone who loves a great story. This beautiful hardcover edition will delight both adults and children alike.

“A sweet and sensitive story of courage, sacrifice and kindness.”—Dan Millman, author of The Way of the Peaceful Warrior

Renowned storyteller Rafe Martin is the recipient of the Empire State Award, three American Library Association Notable Book awards, four Parents’ Choice Gold Awards, two Anne Izard Storytellers’ Choice Awards, an American Folklore Society Aesop Accolade, several American Bookseller Pick of the Lists, an International Reading Association Teachers’ Choice, and many other awards of distinction. The Women’s National Book Association has honored Rafe with their Lucile Micheels Pannell Award. His work has been cited in TIME Magazine, Newsweek, U.S. News and World Report, and USA TODAY. Rafe lives in Rochester, New York.

Award-winning illustrator RICHARD WEHRMAN was born in St. Louis and attended the Washington University school of fine arts. His paintings have been exhibited at the Saint Louis Art Museum, the St. Louis Artists’ Guild, and Washington University. He was chosen as Rochester’s Communicator of the Year for illustration and has received a gold medal from the Society of Illustrators. Richard serves on the board of directors of the Heartwork Institute and lives in Upstate New York.


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From Shambhala SunSpace.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama gets Shep Fairey’d for his birthday; Tibet in today’s news

Shepard Fairey — he of the ubiquitous Obama poster, the ubiquitous Obey Giant street-art campaign, and countless other works, has now portrayed the Dalai Lama in this new portrait, Compassion.

You may recall that Fairey recently portrayed Aung San Suu Kyi as well.

Created to celebrate His Holiness’s 75th birthday, Compassion is available from Fairey’s website, and net proceeds will be split between Tibet House and LA Friends of Tibet. (The Dalai Lama’s birthday is on July 6th.)

Of the piece, Fairey says:

“I’ve always had great admiration for His Holiness and his non-violent approach to the plight of the Tibetan people. When I was approached with the opportunity to work with this beautiful image as a sanctioned source and create a work that evokes the Dalai Lama’s presence as I feel it, I was thrilled. I hope His Holiness remains a presence of compassion in the world for many birthdays to come!”

For a whole lot more visit our friends at SunSpace.

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First Invite Love In is a beautiful collection of exercises inspired by the ancient meditative arts of Tibetan Buddhism. Tana Pesso and the Penor Rinpoche work together to create a guidebook for anyone who would like to live more compassionately, wisely, and with an open and inviting heart.

Moment by moment, thought by thought, step by step we can transform our minds through time-tested compassion practices, and ultimately create a garden of delight out of any life history or current circumstance, regardless of how traumatic or difficult. There are countless examples of people from all spiritual paths, faiths, and religions who have experienced terrible hardships or even themselves created hardships and suffering for others, who have turned their minds towards love and compassion and found peace and happiness.
First Invite Love In is a clear, practical handbook that will genuinely help anyone who reads it and follows its exercises. It is an especially important guide at a time when so many lack confidence about how to go beyond fear and uncertainty.” Sharon Salzberg, co-founder of Insight Meditation and author of Faith and Lovingkindness

“The short exercises presented here will benefit anyone who is able to practice them.” Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, holder of the Shambhala Buddhist Lineage and author of Turning the Mind into an Ally

“A marvelous, practical book, unlike anything else out there—the ultimate ho-to manual for nurturing kindness and compassion. The authors’ enthusiasm for compassion is contagious!”—Deborah Schoeberlein, author of Mindful Teaching and Teaching Mindfulness

About the authors:

His Holiness Penor Rinpoche was the head of the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism. Born in 1932 in Eastern Tibet he was renowned by all as an exemplary master of the Tibetan tradition. He tirelessly taught devoted students around the world. He passed away in 2009.

Tana Pesso holds an undergraduate degree from Harvard College and a master’s degree in public policy from the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. She lives in Rockport, MA.

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From Shambhala SunSpace:

Goldie Hawn, Mindfulness Ambassador to Britain

That’s right. It seems that the “It Girl” of the 60s is taking her ongoing appreciation of Buddhism and mindfulness to children across the pond. It’s not that much of a surprise: Hawn recently supplied an endorsement to Mindful Teaching and Teaching Mindfulness, from which Take 5, below, is excerpted.

Having formed the Hawn Foundation, whose mission is to “create a more mindful world,” the actress, producer, and “creative philanthropist” has been taking meetings with British education secretary Michael Gove, looking for ways to make the benefits of mindfulness part of school-kids’ curriculum. “A peaceful, happy child,” says Goldie, “is the first step towards a peaceful world.”

For more on mindfulness in education check out Mindful Teaching and Teaching Mindfulness.

“A gift for educators, helpful in any classroom, for any teacher and with every student.” —Goldie Hawn, children’s advocate and founder of the Hawn Foundation

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New from Wisdom:

How Much is Enough?

Buddhism, Consumerism, and the Human Environment

The massive outpouring of consumer products available to most people living in the West today might alone lead one to ask “How much is enough?” But at the same time, if we allow ourselves to see the social, political, economic and environmental consequences of the system that produces such a mass of “goods,” then the question is not simply a matter of one’s own personal choice, but points to the profound interconnectedness of our day to day decisions about “How much is enough?” The ease with which we can acquire massive quantities of food, clothing, kitchenware, and various electronic goods directly connects each of us with not only environmental degradation caused by strip mining in West Virginia, and with sweat shops and child labor in India or Africa, but also with the ongoing financial volatility of Western capitalist economies, and the increasing discrepancies of wealth in all countries.

This interconnectedness is the human environment, a phrase intended to point toward the deep interconnection between the immediacy of our own lives, including the question of “How much is enough?,” and both the social and natural worlds around us. This collection brings together essays from an international conference jointly sponsored by Ryukoku University, Kyoto, and the Institute of Buddhist Studies, Berkeley. The effects of our own decisions and actions on the human environment is examined from several different perspectives, all informed by Buddhist thought. The contributors are all simultaneously Buddhist scholars, practitioners and activists—thus the collection is not simply a conversation between these differing perspectives, but rather demonstrates the integral unity of theory and practice for Buddhism.

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This past December the Zangdokpalri Temple in Arunachal Pradesh was consecrated after many years of dedication and hard work.

During the entire month of December, an elaborate array of rituals, dances and meditations (drupchen) was performed to consecrate the sacred structure, culminating on New Year’s Eve, December 31st, with the Aspirational Prayer Ceremony.

During the December ceremonies, Kyapje Terton Kunzang Dechen Lingpa’s kudung (precious body) was brought from the Tashi Choling Nunnery in the flatlands of Assam up to the mountains of Arunachal Pradesh to finally rest at the Zangdokpalri Temple, high atop the hill that had appeared to Rinpoche in his dream. Over the following two days, thousands of monks and lay Buddhists lined the road as the sacred parade transported the precious cairn that was to be installed at the temple. Prayers flags sponsored by friends in the West and the local community provided an escort of wind-borne prayers.

To read the entire story and learn more about the activities of Kunzang Dechen Lingpa and his son Dungse Rigdzin Dorje Rinpoche visit the Zangdokpalri website by clicking here.

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Buddhist Teaching in India by Johannes Bronkhorst

“Bronkhorst provides an overview of the power of Buddhist ideas within the larger Indian intellectual and religious milieu spanning more than a thousand years after the Buddha. He tracks the development of Buddhist teachings both within the larger Indian context and among Buddhism’s many schools, and sheds light on the sources and trajectory of such ideas as dharma theory, emptiness, the bodhisattva ideal, buddha nature, formal logic, and idealism. Bronkhorst is one of the most distinguished scholars of ancient and medieval Indian Buddhism as well as the yoga tradition. This book is a delight for those wanting to make themselves familiar with the Indian background of Buddhist teachings.”

Zen Women: Beyond Tea Ladies, Iron Maidens, and Macho Masters by Grace Schireson

“This book is a delightful introduction to the growing literature about the role of women practitioners and teachers in Buddhism. While Schireson’s collection of stories deals primarily with women in the Zen traditions of China, Japan, and Korea, its broader concerns seek to reclaim the contributions made by women practitioners in the larger Buddhist tradition. Appropriately, Schireson keeps reminding the reader that all of these stories are intimately connected to the lives of women practicing in various Buddhist traditions today.”

To learn more about the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies visit their website.

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