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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

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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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Why Americans love the Dalai Lama

By Jessica Ravitz, CNN.com

On CNN on Monday, the Dalai Lama goes one-on-one with Larry King in his first interview after his controversial meeting with President Obama. Hear his thoughts about China, human rights and the situation in Haiti. Monday night, 9 ET on “Larry King Live.”

(CNN) — He’s been decorated with awards and called one of the world’s most influential people. He’s addressed packed auditoriums and waved to crowds who line streets just to catch a passing glimpse of him. He’s shaken the hands of countless global dignitaries and earned a fan base following on Facebook that might rival that of Hollywood stars.

He is His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, the 74-year-old spiritual leader of Tibet and the head of the Tibetan government-in-exile, based in Dharamsala, India. And though he describes himself, according to his Web site, as “a simple Buddhist monk,” the love so many Americans and others have for him has, no doubt, bestowed on him iconic status — whether he sees it that way or not.

“I’d love to be in his presence. I’d love to be in an audience where he speaks,” said Jerilee Auclair, 55, of Vancouver, Washington, who has yet to have that pleasure. “I yearn for it. I watch his schedule to see if/when he’ll be in my area. … I love what he stands for. His inner peace inspires me to find mine, daily.”

Read the rest of the article here.

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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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Here is another great opportunity  to meet Zen Women author and Zen teacher Grace Schireson.

Grace will be signing her book from 1 – 3 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 25th at California State University, Stanislaus, Faculty Center, Room F-118.

Here are just a few of the many excellent endorsements of Zen Women:

“So here’s the thumbnail review: Read this book.”-Buddhadharma“Encouraging, inspiring, and profoundly useful. A kind of Blue Cliff Record for our own time.” -Jane Hirshfield

“An exceptional and powerful classic with great depth, humor, and clarity.”-Joan Halifax, abbess of Upaya Zen Center

This book changes everything! Zen Women is about all of us. It resets the common understanding of Zen history with eye-opening stories. A must-read.”- Pat Enkyo O’Hara, abbess of the Village Zendo

“Of great value to all of us. You cannot  find a more useful or more inspiring book on this subject.” – from the foreword by Miriam Levering, author of Rethinking Scripture

If you can’t make it to the signing click here for a copy.

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From New America Media, Commentary, Andrew Lam, Posted: Oct 18, 2009 // Review it on NewsTrust

While the Dalai Lama was snubbed by President Barack Obama, who refused to meet with him last week, there was an open door policy everywhere else in our nation’s capital – from congressional receptions to synagogues and schools.

One scene in particular is striking: the most famous monk of the 20th Century on the dais, lecturing on wisdom in the modern world as hundreds of enthralled monks and laymen look on below. The scene harks back to the golden era of Tibet, with the halls festooned with hundreds of strings of colorful Tibetan prayer flags, except the event took place at American University.

In the last half of the 20th Century, America cunningly exported itself overseas, marketing its images, ideologies, products and religions with ingenuity and zeal, but what it has not been able to fully assess or prepare for are the effects in reverse. For if Americanization is a large part of globalization, the Easternization of the West, too, is the other side of the phenomenon.

I take it as some cosmic law of exchange that if Disneyland pops up in Hong Kong and Tokyo, Buddhist temples can sprout up in Los Angeles, home of the magic kingdom. Indeed, it comes as no surprise to many Californians that scholars have agreed that the most complex Buddhist city in the world is nowhere in Asia but Los Angeles itself, where there are more than 300 Buddhist temples and centers, representing nearly all of Buddhist practices around the world.

Over the past 25 years, Buddhism has become the third most popular religion in America behind Christianity and Judaism, according to a 2008 report from the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. Evidence of Buddhism spreading deep roots in America is abundant.

Read the rest here.

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“In this well-written book by Anyen Rinpoche, the connection between mindfulness and Vajrayana practice is explored. Rinpoche advocates for the idea that mindfulness is not something to be focused on solely at the beginning of practice, but should be continued throughout. Momentary Buddhahood also discusses the idea that achieving enlightenment isn’t an all or nothing proposition; that it happens incrementally; and from time to time, each of us experiences glimpses of total enlightenment, however fleeting. At the base of all of it though, is mindfulness, which should not be thought of as exclusive to Zen nor should it be thought of as non-essential to Tantric practice; it is essential to all phases and all aspects of Buddhism, and especially to those who have taken the Bodhisattva Vow. Anyen Rinpoche will be at the Boulder Bookstore tonight to speak about and sign his book. “–Elephant Journal

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Razor-Wire Dharma was mentioned in a CNN.com article this morning. Below is the beginning of the article.

PRISON INMATES GO ZEN TO DEAL WITH LIFE BEHIND BAR by Stephanie Chen

RIVERDALE, Georgia (CNN) — In his darkest moment, Kenneth Brown lost it all. His wife and kids, the housebroken dog, the vacation home on Cape Cod all vanished when he was sent to prison for an arson in 1996.

Trapped in his gloomy cell and serving a 20-year sentence that felt like an eternity, Brown, then 49, found himself stretched out on the floor. He was silent. His eyes were shut. His body did not move.

Brown, a man raised as a Baptist and taught to praise the Lord and fear the devil, was meditating.

“I try to focus on the space between two thoughts, because it prevents me from getting lost,” said Brown, who discovered meditation, yoga and Buddhist teachings three months into his sentence.

“This helped me stay on track and get me through prison,” he said.

Eastern religions encompassing meditation techniques have captivated hippies, 20-somethings and celebrities like actor Richard Gere. But since the 1960s, the art of meditation also has found a growing number of unlikely followers behind prison bars.

The inmates say meditation — an ancient practice that develops mental awareness and fosters relaxation — is teaching them how to cope in prison.

“Mostly, the people in Buddhist community are going into the prisons, providing programs, and word of mouth gets from one inmate to another,” explained Gary Friedman, communications chairman for the American Correctional Chaplains Association. “It’s a break from all the hustle and noise of the prison environment.”

There is no group tracking the number of inmates converting to Buddhism or engaging in meditation practices. But programs and workshops educating inmates about meditation and yoga are sprouting up across the country.

Meditation can help the convicts find calmness in a prison culture ripe with violence and chaos. The practice provides them a chance to reflect on their crimes, wrestle through feelings of guilt and transform themselves during their rehabilitative journey, Buddhist experts say.

Read the rest here.

To find out more about Razor-Wire Dharma click here.

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Wisdom is excited to announce that we are a corporate sponsor of the PBS presentation of Vajra Sky Over Tibet. The award-winning documentary is currently available to be shown on more than 120 public television stations reaching more than half of all potential television viewers in North America.

Vajra Sky Over Tibet is a visually spectacular cinematic pilgrimage bearing witness to the indomitable faith of Tibet’s endangered Buddhist community and the imminent threat to its very survival. With unprecedented access to many legendary venues, this is one of the rare documentaries to be filmed entirely inside of Tibet.

Below you will find our sponsorship video spot and listing of scheduled show times and stations.

Market / Station                                    Day / Time

San Francisco/KQED                       11/26 at 8am and 11am / Thursday

Boston/WGBH                                    10/25 at 5:30pm / Sunday

Atlanta/GPB*                                      10/23 at 12:30am / FriSeattle/KCTS                                      11/1 at 10:30pm / Sunday

Miami/WLRN                                       10/7 and 10/11 at 9pm / Weds & Sun

Cleveland/WVIZ                                 10/4 at 6:30pm / Sunday

Raleigh/UNC-TV*                              finding a timeslot

Salt Lake City/KUED                        11/28 at 8pm / Sat

South Carolina/SCETV*                   11/22 at 7:30pm / Sun

Grand Rapids/WGVU2                      10/11 at 9:30pm / Sun

Albuquerque/KNME                           11/18 at 9pm / Weds

Louisville/KET*                                    10/23 at 2am and 10/25 at 3am /Fri & Sun

Evansville/WNIN                                 10/22 at 8pm / Thurs

Burlington/VPT*                                  10/4 at 4:30pm / Sun

East Lansing/WKAR                           11/12 at 8pm / Thurs

Bangor/MPBN*                                    10/14 at 9:30pm / Weds

NOTE: * indicates statewide networks

For more on the film click here.

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Raleigh Man Looks to  Help End  Soldiers’ Suffering  as  Army’s  First Buddhist Chaplain

For Thomas Dyer, there was fire and brimstone. “There was the idea that there’s an angry God and somehow you could really make Him mad.”

Dyer grew up fearing God. He was a Cumberland Presbyterian, then a Baptist. He had hoped religious conviction would lead to contentment. He attended seminary and preached as a Southern Baptist minister.

That seems like a lifetime ago as Dyer, 43, sits on a cushion in the shrine room of the Pema Karpo Meditation Center in Raleigh. Six statues of various Buddhas are positioned against the walls. His teacher, a Tibetan monk who founded the temple, listens as Dyer explains his exodus from the pulpit in search of nirvana.

“The question that arose in my mind is, ‘Why is there so much suffering?’ Christianity did not have a satisfactory answer. I wanted to be happy. The idea that we have to live with suffering until we die just did not make sense to me — the idea that God wants you to suffer so you can then enjoy heaven.” Dyer kept asking, “Is this all there is to life?” As a Christian, he had been interested in mysticism. That led to meditation. Dyer studied Buddhism, then visited the temple near his home in Raleigh. Right away, he says, “It was like, ‘Whoa, I’m home.'”

Read it all here.

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