Monthly Archives: August 2009

Karen Maezen Miller’s “The Laundry Line” — How to put out a fire

la-fireLiving in the foothills north of Los Angeles, and being — yet again — surrounded by wildfire, SunSpace blogger Karen Maezen Miller has seen with her own eyes this week the startling science of extinguishing fires.

Here’s what she’s learned, and what it might mean for our practice.

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Chogyam Trungpa: “Recycle the Leftovers”

From the latest Ocean of Dharma emailing comes a quote from Chogyam Trunpga Rinpoche, on the “ecological approach” of his tradition and teachings. Continued »

In Brief: Two books that bring the Lotus Sūtra to Life

These companion volumes, one an expert translation of the Lotus Sutra, and the other a commentary and in-depth introduction to the Lotus Sutra, bring to life one of the most popular and influential texts of Mahayana Buddhism.

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Video: Allen Ginsberg’s Country-Western Noble Truths

ginsberg-cwOur friend Steve Silberman again points us to a gem: this video of Allen Ginsberg performing a “country-western form of buddhadharma in a nutshell.”

See it after the jump.
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Buddhist centers: It’s not easy being green, but it’s worth it

Construction of the Zen CenterRecently I read this article on the Detroit Zen Center, and how ultra-green they’re making the building. What a concrete way of helping others, in the very place we teach helping others.

But why aren’t more meditation centers following their example?

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The Dalai Lama heads to Taiwan; how will Beijing react? / Updated

From the NYTimes: “The president of Taiwan said Thursday that he would allow the Dalai Lama to visit the island next week, a move likely to infuriate China and jeopardize rapidly improving relations between Taipei and Beijing.”

His Holiness said on Thursday that he accepted this invitation, and is scheduled to be in Taiwan from from August 30th to September 4. But, as AFP reports, “this move could threaten improved relations between Beijing and Taipei. [...] Beijing usually reacts angrily to any country hosting the Tibetan spiritual leader.”

Update, via Reuters: “China promptly denounced a proposed trip to Taiwan by the Dalai Lama on Thursday, saying any such visit by a man Beijing brands a separatist threatened to ‘sabotage’ improving relations.” (More here.)

Vietnamese monks face imminent eviction

tnh-sunspaceiconNext week — unless the Vietnamese government relaxes its position –400 residents at a monastery following the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh, who are now living without electricity, water or phone service, will be forcibly evicted. Thich Nhat Hanh is asking Buddhists of all persuasions to help in their urgent struggle to keep open Prajna Monastery (aka Bat Nha Monastery) in Bao Loc, Lam Dong Province, Vietnam.
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And now for something completely different…

Via the Telegraph.

The wildest Dalai Lama Tibet has ever known

Sixth Dalai LamaWhen most of us think “Dalai Lama” we think Fourteenth Dalai Lama, a man filled with serenity, generosity, and brotherly love. Well, the Sixth Dalai Lama, Tsangyang Gyatso, was a different sort of man. He was born in Urgelling, part of present-day India, and became the wildest Dalai Lama Tibet has ever known. He renounced his monastic vows; he grew his hair out and wore jewelry; he wrote long poems about his love affairs with women. Continued »

Make way for the beauty of reality. (Including yours!)

Warning: if, for whatever reason, you’d like to steer clear of images of (essentially) nude people, you’ll probably want to skip this post.

On the other hand, if you’d like to feel a bit empowered about your own body, then by all means…  Continued »

Sylvia Boorstein on the meaning of “Don’t Just Do Something, Sit There”

pickles-sunspaceicon“Don’t Just Do Something, Sit There.” You’ve probably heard someone say that, or said it yourself. It’s also an advertising tagline for a meditation supplies company. And now, it’s been uttered by Earl, the patriarch of the nationally syndicated comic strip, Pickles. (Creator Brian Crane won a Best Comic Strip Award from the National Cartoonists Society for the strip.) But it was Sylvia Boorstein who gave the phrase to us. See the comic and Sylvia’s reaction to it after the jump. Continued »

Alan Senauke: Burma at the Crossroads

burma-filipinoprotestAside from the rescue of a foolish American, nothing has changed after Senator Jim Webb’s mission to free John Yettaw from Burma: Aung San Suu Kyi is still in custody; 2100 political prisoners — including 250 monks and nuns — are still in Burma’s deadly prisons; and the Burmese junta’s assault on ethnic areas has killed and displaced tens of thousands.

Here, Hozan Alan Senauke concisely explains the conflict, and what you can do about it. Continued »

Thich Nhat Hanh in hospital

As Danny Fisher reported for us earlier today: Thich Nhat Hanh has fallen ill with a severe lung infection and is hospitalized in Massachusetts General Hospital. He will be there for the next several weeks. His many followers gathered in Estes Park have received a letter from him; you can read that letter at’s blog here. In the meantime, our thoughts are very much with Thay and his sangha.

Russia’s Medvedev pledges strong support to Buddhists

medvedevIs Russian president Dmitry Medvedev a manifestation of White Tara, the Buddhist goddess?

Depends who you ask. If you ask a Russian Buddhist, the answer might well be yes.

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$43.9 million alone cannot turn a palace back into a home

TibetNews.CN reports that the Chinese government has spent nearly 43.9 million dollars on repairing the Potala Palace and Norbu Lingka — which once were of course the homes of the 14th Dalai Lama and his forebears. “The reparation of [these] cultural relics is an important part in the conservation of the Tibetan culture,” said State Councilor Liu Yandong at a ceremony in front of the Potala Palace yesterday.

Those are nice words, China, but your work has overlooked the one key element that would restore the Potala and Norbu Lingka to their former glory. You know what (or, rather, who) I’m talking about.