Documentary screening: “Silent Holy Stones”

It happens in just forty-eight hours: “Little Lama,” a ten-year-old Tibetan boy, who’s training to become a monk, returns home for New Year’s celebrations.

After a long journey on horseback over icy steppes, he finds solace in his family’s new TV, unable to pull away from serials of Buddhist stories in this home away from the isolation of his monastery. “You dream too much for a young monk,” his family tells him, and they’re right: the more he watches, the more it becomes clear there’s no going back to his religious practices. Filmed on location at the Guwa Monastery, Silent Holy Stones is the “astonishing” (Cinema Scope) and “delightful” (Variety) first film of visionary Tibetan director Pema Tseden — an official selection of the Pusan International Film Festival, the International Buddhist Film Festival, the International Film Festival Rotterdam, and the San Francisco International Film Festival. Screening followed by a discussion with the director. Read More »

Video: Imogen Heap goes to Bhutan

She went to Bhutan for “the amazing scenery, to meet people I didn’t know much about, and to discover a new culture,” says musician Imogen Heap — and sure enough, all of this has come into play in her new music. In this behind-the-scenes clip behind the making of two new songs and their videos, Heap explains how the sights and sounds of Bhutan — temple bells, the crackling of fires, the thwick of an archer’s bow, Buddhist monks and nuns chanting, “somebody shoeing a horse” — inspired her and actually became part of her work.

It all makes for very enjoyable watching. Also, view the videos for the two songs (links open in new windows): “Cycle Song” and “Climb to Sakteng”.

Walk-a-thon for Sangdo Palri Temple in Crestone

temple-three-quarterThe Sangdo Palri Temple in Crestone, CO, will hold a walk-a-thon to raise funds on October 12. Under the guidance of Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche, it is hoped that the temple will be “a place of refuge where visitors can come to refresh their spiritual practice, make prayers, and deepen their connection to the Longchen Nyingtik tradition.”

October 12 will mark the passing of Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, a contemporary and teacher of the Dalai Lama. Khyentse Rinpoche personally blessed the land on which the temple is being built, and in many ways serves as an inspiration for the temple’s construction.

There are currently team locations in Bodhgaya, London, Montreal, Vermont, and Crestone; those wishing to participate are encouraged to set up a team in their own city. For details on how to participate and information on sponsoring other walkers, click here.


Dharma Eye using art proceeds to support Buddhist organizations

Fresh-Bliss-SansDharma Eye, a collective of practicing Buddhist photographers, has announced that it will be donating 25% of all proceeds from fine art print sales and image licensing through their site, publications, and exhibits to featured Buddhist causes.

Currently, donations are being rotated monthly as follows:

August 2014: Karuna-Shechen
September 2014:  The Yogini Project
October 2014:  The Tsoknyi Nepal Nuns
November 2014:  84000
December 2014:  Shechen
January 2015: Bodhi Seeds

For more information, click here.





May 2014:  The Yogini Project
June 2014:  The Tsoknyi Nepal Nuns
July 2014:  84000
August 2014: Karuna-Shechen

September 2014:  The Yogini Project
October 2014:  The Tsoknyi Nepal Nuns
November 2014:  84000
December 2014:  Shechen

January 2015: Bodhi Seeds

Can Buddhists come together on climate change?


In the current issue of Buddhadharma, Bob Doppelt, author of From Me to We, offers five transformational commitments Buddhists can make to address climate change, and makes the case for their urgency:

In my experience, many in the Buddhist community feel they should remain focused on the dharma and that sanghas should not take an active role in issues that seem political. Climate change, however, is unquestionably a dharma issue. The roots of the problem are ignorance and delusion: ignorance about how it is that life exists on our planet, and the delusion that we can continue unbridled fossil fuel and material consumption without grave consequences. Since we strive as Buddhists to cut through ignorance and follow a path that can relieve suffering, the path by which climate change can be skillfully confronted is, by definition, an expression of dharma practice.

Click here for the full article.

To find out how you and your community might get involved, visit One Earth Sangha. Read More »

Right Livelihood: Shambhala Sun Foundation seeks Digital Content Creator

The Shambhala Sun Foundation, publishers of Shambhala Sun and Buddhadharma, is an independent not-for-profit media company dedicated to the publication of content about the Buddhist meditative tradition in print and digital form. We’re seeking a Digital Content Creator who will work with our New Media and Editorial departments on all forms of digital. Duties and requirements, after the jump. Read More »

Joshu Sasaki Roshi dead at 107

jsrFrom Myoren Yasukawa and Gento Krieger of Rinzai-Ji Zen Center, the home temple of Joshu Sasaki Roshi, comes this message:

It is with a heavy heart that we inform you that Joshu Sasaki Roshi passed away at 4:25 p.m. [Sunday] afternoon at Cedars Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles. We will update you soon with funeral arrangements.

Born in Japan in 1907, Sasaki would study and practice Zen Buddhism there until he left for America in 1962. In 1963 the Rinzai Zen Dojo Association, of which he was a founding member, was formed. This would soon become known as Rinzai-ji, Inc., and its first property, Cimarron Zen Center in Los Angeles, would become known as Rinzai-ji. Mount Baldy Zen Center in Los Angeles, where most of Rinzai-ji’s students have done their training, would form in 1970 and become Sasaki Roshi’s home.

In recent years, the Rinzai-ji community was fractured by numerous allegations toward Sasaki of sexual impropriety. Buddhadharma‘s coverage of these, as well as other items from Sasaki’s life, can be found here.

Click here to read Rinzai-Ji’s full biography of Sasaki Roshi.

Help Against the Stream open their new San Francisco meditation center

Via Against the Stream Buddhist Meditation Society: “For over a decade, people from all over the Bay Area have been getting together every Friday to sit in silent meditation and learn from a phenomenal group of dharma teachers including Vinny Ferraro, Gene Lushtak, Matthew Brensilver, Megan Cowan, and more. If you’ve meditated with us over the last couple of years, you know this well: We’re packed to capacity! To help keep up with our growing community, we’ve added two new weekly meditation groups and launched several weekly Refuge Recovery meetings to offer our community a Buddhist approach to recovery from addiction. But the final piece of the puzzle is to bring all this and more under one roof.” And that’s the goal of Against the Stream’s new IndieGogo campaign, which will open the doors to a brand new center in San Francisco.

Visit the IndieGogo campaign here to donate now.  Against the Stream needs to raise $30,000 — so every dollar helps, and every extra dollar raised can be used for needed finishing touches, meditation cushions, and more.

Also, take a look at the commentary in the current issue of Buddhadharma, in which Noah Levine, whose book Refuge Recovery: A Buddhist Path to Recovering from Addiction was published in June, takes sanghas to task for not upholding the fifth precept.

New campaign to raise awareness of Tibet’s Middle Way Approach

Top officials within the Central Tibetan Administration have begun a campaign to raise awareness of the Dalai Lama’s Middle Way Approach, or Umaylam, which aims to peacefully resolve the issue of Tibet’s relationship to China.

The Middle Way Approach was drafted as a policy in 1974 by the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan administration. When Deng Xiaoping stated in 1979 that “apart from independence, all issues can be discussed,” the Middle Way Approach became the basis for discussions between Beijing and Dharamsala.

The awareness campaign is aimed at countering false information about Chinese Tibet policy and engaging the international community in working toward positive resolution.

Click here to visit the Middle Way Approach’s website.  Those interested in supporting the Umaylam campaign can learn more here.

Fresno Buddhist Temple makes $25k donation to Community Food Bank

fbtlogo6It was announced Thursday that Fresno Buddhist Temple, a Pure Land community, has made a donation of $25,000 to Fresno’s Community Food Bank. The donation will be presented this Sunday.

To learn more about the work of the Community Food Bank, which distributes food to 200,000 people monthly, click here.


Attention scholars: Khyentse Foundation Award for Outstanding PhD Dissertations in Buddhist Studies (Europe)

Screen Shot 2014-07-16 at 10.02.38 AMKhyentse Foundation recently announced the establishment of its second Award for Outstanding Dissertations in Buddhist Studies. The award will be presented every two years to the best PhD dissertation in the field of Buddhist Studies written in Europe, including the UK, during the previous two academic years. The dissertation must be based on original research in the relevant primary language, and it should significantly advance understanding of the subject or Buddhist scriptures studied.

For more information about the European Dissertation Award, as well as the first recipient of the foundation’s Asian Dissertation Award, Dr. Chao Tung-Ming of National Taiwan University, click here.

App helps monks handle money without handling money

Monk Phramaha Sombut Pramua with the card reader which allows smartphone giving and, below, the city templeIt’s a conundrum that has existed for more than two thousand years: How does a monk forbidden from directly accepting or handling cash receive donations on behalf of the sangha?

Monks at the Dhammapadipa Temple in Edinburgh, Scotland, may have found a solution: an iZettle credit-card reader that attaches to mobile phones so that donations can be made anywhere, on the fly, and without any actual cash changing hands.

Most such services come at a cost that would have been prohibitive to the temple, but iZettle stepped forward to help. “We’re delighted,” says Nina Fernstrom, strategic partnership developer at iZettle, “to be helping with the monks’ efforts to raise money for a new building in Edinburgh.”

Abbot Watana Somboon explains, “Monks are not allowed to touch money, so this is a very modern way of getting around a very old problem. Ideally we would appoint lay people to use the card device, after which the monk blesses the person who has given the donation. But even if there is no lay person in the temple, the monks can use this.”

Visit the Edinburgh News for more.


Nepal retracts permission for Shamar Rinpoche’s cremation

Following directives from the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Nepal’s government has retracted its permission to allow the body of Shamar Rinpoche, who died in Germany on June 11 of a heart attack, to be brought to Nepal for cremation. Nepali officials stated clearly that the decision was not a response to pressure from China; however, as the New York Times reports, “the police and political parties [of Nepal] strictly prohibit activities considered to be ‘anti-China.’”

It had been Shamar Rinpoche’s wish for the rituals around his cremation to be carried out at his home monastery in Kathmandu. For the present, his body is being held in the Karmapa International Buddhist Institute in New Delhi.

For more on this story, click here.

UPDATE: The Nepalese government did ultimately grant permission for the cremation, which was held in early August.