Archive for the ‘Theravadin’ Category

“The perfect starter kit for people curious about Buddhism-who may or may not adhere to another faith. A gentle, good-hearted primer whose first-person stories nicely support the how-to portions of the text.”— Publishers Weekly

“How wonderful to have such warmth and encouragement wrapped around such helpful, straightforward information!”— Sylvia Boorstein, author of Don’t Just Do Something, Sit There

“A thoughtful presentation and an open invitation to the reader to begin a meditation practice-a marvelous support to those new on the Path.”— Sharon Salzberg, author of Lovingkindness

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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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“This book has the power to change how you see yourself and the world. Andrew Olendzki has declassified the radical psychological insights of the Buddha and made them accessible to us all in a series of short, deftly-illuminating essays. It’s a remarkable read for anyone interested in the human condition.”—Christopher K. Germer, author of The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion

Both broad and deep, this eye-opening book is one of the best overviews available of the radical psychological teachings that underlie the Buddhist approach to living a life of freedom and peace. Sophisticated without being daunting, brilliantly clear without becoming simplistic, Andrew Olendzki’s writing is filled with rich phrases, remarkable images, and the fruits of decades of careful thought. Grounded in deep scholarship, psychological sophistication, and many years of teaching and personal practice, this much-anticipated collection of essays will appeal to anyone looking to gain a richer understanding of Buddhism’s experiential tools for exploring the inner world.

Unlimiting Mind is a rare treat. Highly recommended. Andrew Olendzki brings a unique and often brilliant perspective to core Buddhist teachings. He enlarges our understanding of basic principles and raises occasionally unsettling questions about familiar assumptions. An excellent introduction to Buddhism as well as an enlightening jolt to experienced practitioners.” —Joseph Goldstein, author of A Heart Full of Peace

Andrew Olendzki, Ph.D., was trained in Buddhist Studies at Lancaster University in England, as well as at Harvard and theUniversity of Sri Lanka. The former executive director of the Insight Meditation Society, he is currently the executive director of the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies in Barre, MA. He is editor of the Insight Journal.

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A guest post by Wisdom editor David Kittelstrom.

The first Theravada bhikkhuni (nun) ordination in Australia, and the first in the Thai Forest Tradition anywhere in the world, was performed in Bodhinyana Monastery in Western Australia on October 22nd. Four nuns from the nearby Dhammasara Nuns Monastery took ordination: Vayama, Nirodha, Seri, and Hassapañña. The second half of the ordination ceremony was performed by  Ajahn Brahm—the abbot of Bodhinyana—along with other monks from the monastery.

Many feel reestablishing the full ordination of nuns, which was first established by the Buddha himself  is vital for ensuring the respect and vitality of the Buddhist Sangha in the modern world and accords with the essential message of the Buddha. As with monks, well-trained and observant nuns are a wonderful field of merit, wonderful exemplars, and a wonderful source of teachings for all who seek to live life according to the Dharma, and seeds of peace for the world as a whole.

While the Chinese tradition has preserved female ordination, the lineage died out in the Tibetan and Theravada traditions. In recent years, women within these traditions have been taking full ordination nonetheless, but the practice has not yet been endorsed by a consensus of senior lineage holders, the resistance coming primarily from older monks in Asia. The Dalai Lama has been vocal in his support and an important international conference to advance the issue was held in Hamburg, Germany in 2007. Proceedings from this conference will appear soon in Wisdom’s forthcoming book Dignity and Discipline: Reviving Full Ordination for Buddhist Nuns.

The  ordination drew a severe reaction from conservative lineage holders in Thailand. The monks of the Ajahn Chah tradition headed at Wat Pa Pong complained that they had not been consulted and called Ajahn Brahm to a meeting in Northeast Thailand this past Sunday, November 1st, where they voted to expel him from the Wat Pa Pong community.

Ajahn Sujato, another central figure in the ceremony, has been posting regular updates on his blog as events unfold. Ajahn Brahm’s comments from the time of the ordination can be heard here. There is also apparently a group on Facebook with lively discussion of the event and its ramifications.

Karma Lekshe Tsomo, a Buddhist nun and a professor of Religious Studies at the University of San Diego, says in Dignity and Discipline, “Just as countries who refuse women the right to vote are considered backward today, Buddhists will certainly go down on the wrong side of history if they deny fundamental rights and freedoms to women…Recognizing full ordination for women is not only a matter of social justice, it is also simply a matter of common sense.”

Dignity and Discipline goes into these issues in great detail. I would highly suggest reading it when it comes out. The analyses of scripture presented in that book would indicate that the means exist to pursue bhikkhuni ordination in keeping with the Vinaya,  but that what is missing is the will to do so.

For photo’s from the event click here.

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Wisdom has recently reprinted the classic, The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha: A Translation of the Majjhima Nikaya.

In this new printing we have lowered the price from $65.00 to $49.95. The book remains in its hardcover format.

The 152 discourses of this major collection combine a rich variety of contextual settings with deep and comprehensive teachings that illuminate the suttas of the Pali Canon.Winner of the 1995 Choice Magazine Outstanding Academic Book Award, and the Tricycle Prize for Excellence in Buddhist Publishing for Dharma Discourse.

Order your copy here.

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The Sequel to the beloved and bestselling classic Mindfulness in Plain English.

Countless people worldlwide have made Mindfulness in Plain English a beloved and bestselling classic in almost a dozen languages. Now after nearly two decades, Bhante helps meditators of every stripe take their mindfulness practice to the next level–helping them go, in a word, beyond mindfulness. In the same warm, clear, and friendly voice, Bhante introduces the reader to what have been known for centuries as the “jhanas”-deeply calm, joyous, and powerful states of meditation that, when explored with the clearly presented tools in this book, lead to life of insight and unshakeable peace.

“A straightforward and pragmatic guide to deepening levels of concentration and insight. This book is a joy to read and a great gift to us all.”–Joseph Goldstein, author of A Heart Full of Peace

Order your copy here.

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From our friends at Buddhadharma.

Nineteen women received Outstanding Women in Buddhism Awards at a March 6 ceremony in Bangkok. The six American honorees were Lama Tsultrim Allione, Joan Hogetsu Hoeberichts, Susan Pembroke, Bhikkuni Pannavati, Carol Gansho O’Dowd, and Jan Willis.

“The awards,” Willis says, “provide 
inspiration and encouragement for Buddhist women practitioners
 around the world who, in spite of 2,600 years, are still struggling to practice in societies that are less than supportive of

The annual awards, held in honor of the United Nations’ International Women’s Day, celebrate the accomplishments of Buddhist women in meditative practice, social work, community development, spreading the dharma, and peace activism.  The honorees were selected by a panel of Buddhist scholars and practitioners and received their awards at a ceremony held at the Association for the Promotion of the Status of Women.

“The ceremony and the activities surrounding it,” Willis says, “provided participants with a great opportunity for sharing. It’s a chance for courageous women to meet, inspire each other, and learn about other women’s struggles and triumphs. The meetings and the networking will undoubtedly continue to bear fruit.”

For more on these and other recipients of this year’s Outstanding Women in Buddhism Awards, visit http://www.owbaw.org/2009.htm

For more on Jan Willis check out her wonderful book Dreaming Me.

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