Monthly Archives: October 2010

From our current issue: Do you know how to be “Awake in the Wild”?

Whether we’re in a pristine rainforest or our own backyard, nature is always available to deepen our mindfulness. In “Awake in the Wild,” from our November 2010 magazine, author, psychotherapist, Spirit Rock teacher and wilderness retreat leader Mark Coleman points the way.

Coleman’s story is now available for you to read online in its complete form.

Just click here to read it now.

Buddhist imagery and modern weed culture: Aqua-Buddha’s just the tip of the “casual use” iceberg

As with Tiger Woods, there are some stories that, as someone who writes about Buddhism and pop-culture, I’ve just wanted to stay away from. Then comes the tipping point. Well, with his competitor’s already-infamous commercial, the Rand Paul/”Aqua-Buddha” tipping point has arrived.

After the jump: video of that commercial, and other recent evidence that when it comes to “casual use” of Buddhist ideas and imagery in marijuana culture, there’s plenty of residue left from the early days of Eastern religion’s entry into American counterculture.  Continued »

Chogyam Trungpa on work: “This is not a cruel imposition on us.”

A helpful not-quite-the-weekend-yet thought:

“Right livelihood involves making money by working, earning dollars, pounds, euros, pesos. To buy food and pay rent you need money. This is not a cruel imposition on us. It is a natural situation. We need not be embarrassed by dealing with money nor resent having to work. The more energy you put out, the more you get in. Earning money involves you in so many related situations that it permeates your whole life. Avoiding work usually is related to avoiding other aspects of life as well.”

Condensed from “The Eightfold Path,” in The Myth of Freedom and the Way of Meditation, via Ocean of Wisdom. See also: our Shambhala Sun Spotlight of Chogyam Trungpa’s teachings.

Batting Practice: On Buddhism and baseball

A guest post by Andrew Rock

There’s one notable difficulty to being a Buddhist baseball fan: attachment to the outcome of the game. What if you groan with apparent agony or shout with delight, depending on whether or not “your” batter beats out a grounder or a diving outfielder makes a catch What if you wake up happy in the morning because your team won the night before, or miserable because they lost and the pitching is falling apart, the clean-up batter’s in a slump and they are falling behind in the standings? In other words, what if you are a hard-core fan — a word that derives from “fanatic”– and also a sincere Buddhist practitioner seeking an end to suffering for all beings — even the Red Sox? Continued »

Photos: Burma’s Buddhist Home for Aged People, a “Happy Place”

Ira de Reuver is a freelance photographer from the Netherlands, and a regular contributor to photo-stock agencies and magazines. For 11 years she has been roaming around Asia, and recently shot photos from the Buddhist Home for Aged People in Mandalay, Myanmar (Burma). She writes:

“It is the custom there that elderly people live with their family. If they don’t have any family left, they are considered and called orphans. This elderly home, The Buddhist Home for Aged People is for orphans. Beautiful people, all; there is only one nurse taking care of more than 80 people, so they take care of each other. They live on donations from Buddhist people. And it is a happy place! Unlike so many elderly homes in the West.”

Ira first visited the Buddhist Home for Aged People ten years ago and, as she puts it, “fell in love” with the people living there. See some of her photos of them here, after the jump. Continued »

The Mandala Project at the Hammer Museum: One to see, and a first at that

Ari Bhöd, in partnership with U.C.L.A.’s Hammer Museum, is pleased to present The Mandala Project. This two-week program, starting Oct 26th, will feature the first public viewing of the three-dimensional Zangdok Palri Mandala.

Zangdok Palri is a highly symbolic and intricately detailed mandala representing the enlightened qualities of Padmasambhava, who brought Buddhism to Tibet in the ninth century. Simultaneously, The Mandala Project is featuring the construction of a Tibetan sand mandala by a team of traditionally trained lamas visiting Los Angeles from the Thubten Choeling Monastery in Nepal. More details after the jump. Continued »

Who knew standing still could be so difficult?

A guest post by Kevin Weinfurt

After five years of training, I was recently awarded my black belt in To-Shin Do, a modern adaptation of Japan’s oldest martial art. This was no small feat: trainees spend hundreds of hours honing our timing, balance, and positioning to overcome large, dangerous attackers.

So it’s somewhat embarrassing that what remains as the most challenging skill for me is one that we were taught on our first day of white-belt training. It is called shizen no kamae, or “natural posture.” Most people know it by the more common term, “standing still.” Continued »

His Holiness the Dalai Lama: Guest Editor for the Toronto Star (Video)

Via the Toronto Star

The Toronto Star offers two wonderful videos today:  one a behind-the-scenes look at His Holiness’s participation in the paper’s editing process, and one an exclusive interview with the spiritual/political leader.

For more from Danny Fisher, see his new interview with Bhikkhu Bodhi at Mahasangha News, or his many contributions to Shambhala SunSpace, including his latest, an interview with mindfulness pioneer Jon Kabat-Zinn.

Book Brief: Jesus Beyond Christianity

Jesus Beyond Christianity: The Classic Texts
Edited By Gregory A. Barker & Stephen E. Gregg
Oxford University Press 2010; 256 pp., $85

There is no single story of Jesus. There is of course the typical tale of the Christian Messiah, the words and deeds with which Western church-goers are well familiar. But then there is a second story. Or, rather, a thousand “second” stories, told by those with no commitment to the first. Continued »

Happy bEARTHday: Celebrate with “A Body Scan Through Geologic Time”

I propose an antipodal celebration of Earth Day (April 22): “bEARTHday.”* It’s to be celebrated about six months later (October 23), and with much less hoopla—a body awareness meditation, geologic in nature, completed in silence.

Why October 23? [Click through to read more and to follow Jill's guided "body scan through geologic time."] Continued »

Meditate with (and like) a toddler

By Diana Winston

I try not to complain that my formal practice has disappeared since I had a baby. I mean, I knew what I was getting into. For the first year of my daughter’s life, my formal practice was spotty at best, and often most accessible in the middle of the night when I couldn’t go back to sleep after the latest feeding. So I went for sleepy-meditation over nothing at all. My daily life practice was alive and well, but I missed formal practice.

Well one night while meditating, I had the brainstorm of bringing back formal practice in toddler-friendly style. And thus we instituted “family meditation time.” My daughter is only one so we don’t have too high of a bar. Continued »

Joan Sutherland: In meditation, we are offering ourselves

Through our meditation, says Joan Sutherland in “Through the Dharma Gate” (found in our November issue), we are offering ourselves as a place where vastness and the individual might meet, mix, and create something new. The piece addresses how meditative forms play their role. An excerpt follows.

To stay with a form when things get dicey is simply to choose the ground upon which to meet the disturbance. Since we focus so much on meditation’s stilling and expansive qualities, it might seem surprising that one of the intentions of meditation is to put us in a state of tension. The steadiness of meditative forms allows apparent dualities to emerge, and the invitation is not to smooth over their differences or choose between them. Doing either is settling prematurely; it’s settling before unsettling tension can become creative. For example, meditation might go along quite deeply and peacefully for awhile, and then one day it’s filled with agitation and rumination. Has something gone wrong? Continued »

Dalai Lama honored with new Freedom award; Emory U posts photographic highlights of visit


The Dalai Lama went to Cincinnati, OH on Wednesday to join the likes of Rosa Parks, Desmond Tutu, and US Presidents Bill Clinton and George HW Bush in receiving the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center’s International Freedom Conductor Award. Click here to read and see video of local coverage from the lead-up to the event. (Links open in new windows.) He refused the $25,000 cash award that would normally accompany the honor, saying it should be used for the city’s museum.

The honor of course follows His Holiness’s visit to Emory University — photographic highlights of which are now online; you’ll find additional links to Emory’s coverage of the visit on that page.

One of Buddhism’s funniest writers, from our pages and into Utne’s

We’ve published Shozan Jack Haubner — not his real name — a few times now: in Shambhala Sun magazine, here on SunSpace, and also in Buddhadharma: The Practitioner’s Quarterly. Well, we’re happy to say that the Utne Reader has taken notice of him, too, and has published Shozan’s latest Buddhadharma story, titled “When The Tornado Touches Down,” as a reprint called “The Angry Monk.” Click here to read it online at Utne now.

And as we say, there’s more of Shozan where that comes from. Just follow these links to read these articles by him (links open in new windows):

The Spring Prayer | The Pregnancy Test Koan | and don’t forget his notorious 2009 Shambhala Sun debut, The Shitty Monk.

Would you be caught dead (or alive) in this shirt?

Perhaps you’ve seen the shirt at left. It’s a new arrival at the webstore of our friends at NYC’s Interdependence Project. You may also have seen it on the mega-tech-and-culture website, BoingBoing. If so, what was your reaction?

I know that I was immediately taken by it when I first saw it: I’m a “T-shirt kind of guy” who is generally happy to support the IDP and who, incidentally, has undertaken some “death awareness practice” with a Buddhist teacher. So if this shirt has a “target market,” I’d be it, right? But no. Continued »