April 15th 2011

 From the official website of His Holiness the Dalai Lama

The current situation prevailing at Kirti Monastery in Ngaba in northeastern Tibet is extremely grim because of the stand-off between the Chinese military forces and the local Tibetans. The monastery, housing approximately 2,500 monks, is completely surrounded by Chinese armed forces, who at one point prevented vital food and other supplies from entering the monastic compound.

The local Tibetans fearing that this siege on Kirti Monastery is a prelude to large scale detention of the monks have surrounded the soldiers blockading the monastery and have filled the roads so as to prevent Chinese trucks and vehicles from either entering or leaving Kirti.

The local Chinese blockade of Kirti Monastery began on 16 March 2011, when a young Tibetan monk at the monastery tragically set himself on fire as a way of observing the third anniversary of the widespread peaceful protests that shook Tibet in 2008. Instead of putting out the flames, the police beat the young monk which was one of the causes of his tragic death. This act created huge resentment among the monks, which resulted in this massive blockade of Kirti Monastery.

Click here to read the entire message from His Holiness.


A groundbreaking translation of the most important work by the founder of a major living Buddhist tradition.

“ This work is of inestimable value in understanding Honen’s seminal teaching in his own words. Atone and Hayashi’s translation is readable and clear. This book gives the spectrum of Honen’s thought, making evident the Pure Land tradition’s popular appeal. It will be of great benefit to scholars, students, and religious practitioners as well.” —Alfred Bloom, professor emeritus, University of Hawaii

“ Spreading to Japan from China, the Pure Land tradition is a form of Buddhism that can easily be understood and used by lay people. Atone and Hayashi’s English translation gives readers a chance to learn about the very first Pure Land teachings taught in Japan and still practiced there today. A key aspect of this Pure Land practice is nembutsu, a chant-like intonation of the name of Amida Buddha. Honen offers extensive testimony to the value of nembutsu in everyday life, and Dr. Atone places the practice in historical and doctrinal perspective. I am pleased to recommend this truly remarkable book.” —Glenn T. Webb, professor emeritus, Pepperdine University

Click here for more.

The word “mu” is one ancient Zen teacher’s response to the earnest question of whether even a dog has “buddha nature”—and discovering for ourselves the meaning of the master’s response is the urgent work of each of us who yearns to be free and at peace. “Practicing Mu” is synonymous with practicing Zen, “sitting with Mu” is an apt description for all Zen meditation, and it is said that all the thousands and thousands of koans in the Zen tradition are really just further elaborations of Mu.

This watershed volume brings together over forty teachers, ancient and modern masters from across centuries and the full spectrum of the Zen world, to illuminate and clarify the essential matter: the question of how to be most truly ourselves.

Includes writings from: Dogen • Hakuin • Dahui • Thich Thien-An Zenkei Shibayama • Seung Sahn • Taizan Maezumi • Sheng Yen Philip Kapleau • Robert Aitken • Jan Chozen Bays • Shodo Harada Grace Schireson • John Daido Loori • John Tarrant Barry Magid • Joan Sutherland …and many more!

For more reviews and endorsements click here.

From Shambhala Sunspace

Featured on the ShambhalaSun.com homepage today is“Annie Mirror Heart,” a chapter from an unfinished novel by Maura O’Halloran. O’Halloran was a young Irish-American woman who took to Zen practice (and how!), as famously recounted in her journals, posthumously published as the book Pure Heart, Enlightened Mind: The Life and Letters of an Irish Zen Saint. (O’Halloran was killed in an accident and her novel, of course, never finished. But you can read “Annie Mirror Heart” online here.)

Since her passing, O’Halloran’s story — and the unflinching way in which she told it — has captured imaginations everywhere. She really is even considered a saint of sorts by some. Here, in an Afterword from the expanded edition of Pure Heart, Enlightened Mind (which includes more material from the novel) as published by Wisdom Publications, we get a sense just how widespread Maura’s cultural and inspirational impact has become since the book’s first edition.

Read the rest here.

Find the book here.

Via Shambhala Sunspace

We first discussed the possibility here 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.” For more, see this report by the New York Times.

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.

Click here for more.

Metaphors, Meaning & Change: Finding Our Way to Mindfulness

Arnold Kozak

Metaphors are often thought of as colorful augmenting features of language. However, a large body of scholarship shows that ordinary “literal” language is infused with metaphors. It is impossible to think, feel, or act without the use of metaphors. In fact, the evolution of the human mind may have depended on the use of metaphors. The words we use are not “dead” and the concepts they point to can contribute to stress, mental suffering, psychopathology, and unhappiness. To be aware of the metaphors we use and develop the skill to generate new metaphors can be part of our creativity and growth. This workshop integrates the use of metaphors with mindfulness practice and Dharma understanding to create a new model for mental health, transcending suffering, and the change process. The source text for the program will be Arnie Kozak’s book, Wild Chickens and Petty Tyrants: 108 Metaphors for Mindfulness.
12 CE credits will be available for social workers, LMFTs, national certified counselors, psychologists and nurses.

Dates: February_25-27

Code: 11AK


Cost: 198

Register here.

To check out Arnie’s book, Wild Chickens and Petty Tyrants, click here.

Just a reminder that the public memorial for the late E. Gene Smith is this Saturday February 12th.

public memorial service is planned for February 12, 2011 at 2:00 PM at The Cathedral of St. John the Divine, New York, New York.  Interested parties can contactmemorial@tbrc.org for further information.

A pioneer in Tibetan Studies, Gene dedicated his life to preserving the rich literary heritage of Tibet. Gene passed away at his home on December 16. He is survived by his three sisters and countless friends and colleagues around the world.