Monthly Archives: April 2012

After Earth Day, Active Hope

A new post from Shambhala Sun “Earth Dharma” blogger Jill S. Schneiderman.

With its numbered teachings, Active Hope: How to Face the Mess We’re in Without Going Crazy (2012), a new book by Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone, pays tribute to its Buddhist roots. However, instead of the four noble truths, the noble eightfold path, the five hindrances, and the four brahmaviharas, readers of Active Hope get three stories of our time, five signs of the great unraveling, four stations of the work that reconnects, and three dimensions of the great turning. In their book, Macy and Johnstone update the repertoire of teachings that will enhance our abilities to acknowledge disturbing ecological truths and respond with creativity and resilience. Continued »

Buddhism and photography: What’s the connection?

When we think of Buddhism and art, we might think of ancient paintings, not modern photography. But we’d be missing out. That’s why Andy Karr and Michael Wood wrote The Practice of Contemplative Photography: Seeing the World with Fresh Eyes — and why so many have come to learn from the book and pick up the practice. In fact — Karr, who like Wood, also teaches, will be leading a talk and workshop on the subject in São Paulo, Brazil, from May 4-6. Click here for details.

In this excerpt from The Practice of Contemplative Photography, Karr and Wood discuss the history of this art form — and its benefits. Click through here to read, and for more, including a video featuring Andy Karr giving a “curated tour” of his and Wood’s book.

The connection between Buddhism and photography might not be obvious at first glance, but Buddhists have studied the mind and heart and applied their understanding and practices to the challenges of life for more than twenty-five hundred years. Continued »

From The Under 35 Project: “Fame in My Brain”

Together with friend and author Lodro Rinzler, the Shambhala Sun is bringing you weekly selections from Shambhala Publications’ Under 35 Project, which gathers original writings by younger Buddhist practitioners. The latest is Sarah Jackson’s funny and honest “Fame in My Brain. ”Read on, then learn how you too can participate in The Under 35 Project.

Comfort levels were at a dangerously high level that day, due to heavy rain and depression.

I am not going to tell you how long I had my pajamas on that weekend, but please know it was beyond my control as I am a licensed practitioner of Maximum Comfort. Qualifications include certificate in Comfy Baking, (specializing in homemade brownies and poundcake) degree in Comfy Fashion Design, (working mostly in yoga pants and found/”borrowed” t-shirts, including my favorite Les Miz t-shirt with the neck cut out like Pat Benatar), and my own bed Feng Shui called “Sleep Lasagne” (a complex self tuck-in system that ensures a perfect night’s sleep).

On the best of days — when you’re in a relationship with a blue-eyed man who always smells like wood and Kombucha, like one of the old school health food stores — Maximum Comfort is heaven.  But on that Saturday and many weekends after I broke up with Blue-Eyed Kombucha man, it was nothing but a paralyzing hell. Continued »

“Embracing Change in Your Life: What the Buddhists Teach”

This year’s Shambhala Sun summer program at the Omega Institute’s Rhinebeck, NY, campus is called “Embracing Change in Your Life: What the Buddhists Teach.” It will feature Tsoknyi Rinpoche, Joan Sutherland, and Narayan Liebenson Grady, three great Buddhist teachers representing the Tibetan, Zen, and Theravada Buddhist traditions, guiding you in embracing change through a combination of presentations, meditation, and discussion. The program will take place August 3-5 and registration is open. Click here. (And for more, check out the Change-themed May 2012 Shambhala Sun magazine, on newsstands now.) Hope to see you there.

“Metta” and Metta World Peace: What’s in a name?

Photo via Mister 536 (on

Sports fans, especially NBA fans, are outraged by the cheap shot taken by Metta Word Peace — i.e., the Lakers forward formerly known as Ron Artest — that left Oklahoma City’s James Harden with a concussion on Sunday night. Though, ultimately, few are surprised. When Artest/World Peace announced his name change, many scoffed; the infamous player was kidding everybody, it seemed, if he thought a name-change would amount to a bettering of his reputation or his behavior. And let’s face it, the punishing blow Harden absorbed hardly says “peace,” much less “World Peace.”

Nor does it say “Metta.” The question is: What is metta? Continued »

Updated, with more video: Piers Morgan interviews the Dalai Lama

[Update: Click for a report from CNN, about/from the Dalai Lama's interview on "Piers Morgan," which we shared a bit about here in the following. We have also included three video clips from the interview below.]

Last night on CNN at 9 pm EST, Larry King successor Piers Morgan interviewed the man he calls “the most famous person I’ve ever interviewed” — His Holiness the Dalai Lama. In the below clips, His Holiness talks about “impressive people” he’s met, including Nelson Mandela and George W. Bush, plus his thoughts on worldly temptation, and the Arab Spring.

Click through here for more video from the interview. Continued »

Video: Born I Music’s “Number One” lands on “Occupy” album

If you’ve been a SunSpace reader for a while, you likely remember Born I Music, aka Born Infinite, the rapper, musician, meditation teacher, and all-around force for good I interviewed here back in February of 2011. Well, Born’s got some good news: his single, “Number One” has just been selected for the official “Occupy Wall Street” compilation album.

He’s in some serious company, too. The album will feature “fan favorite and never-before-released tracks” from Ani DiFranco, UNKLE, Joan Baez, Tom Chapin, Willie Nelson, Patti Smith, Anti Flag, Girls Against Boys, Yoko Ono, Amanda Palmer, Mogwai, The Mammals Featuring Pete Seeger, David Crosby & Graham Nash, and more. Hear the song (or, that is, watch the video) and learn more after the jump: Continued »

Mind & Life Institute’s sold-out International Symposia for Contemplative Studies: Watch online

The Mind & Life Institute‘s sold-out International Symposia for Contemplative Studies in Denver will now offer its plenary and master lectures via livestream on April 26-29.

Symposia speakers will include luminaries from the world’s most prestigious institutions, such as Harvard, Brown, the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research in Zurich, and the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Paris. See the complete list here (including Jon Kabat-Zinn, Richie Davidson, Sharon Salzberg and Marsha Linehan). Continued »

Director Ron Fricke to deliver Samsara, the movie (Updated)

Update: The trailer for Samsara, detailed below, is now online via iTunes. Click here to watch it.

This is going to be good.

If you’re a film buff, you probably recall director Ron Fricke’s fantastic, visually stunning outings like Koyaanisqatsi or Baraka. Fricke’s newest work is a sequel, of sorts, to the latter. Entitled Samsara, the film is described by the director as a “guided meditation on the cycle of birth death and rebirth.” It was shot on 70mm film — one of just a handful of films to be shot in such a loving way over the past forty years — in some 25 countries. Continued »

Tuesday: Dalai Lama to take part in livestreamed Mayo Clinic mindfulness discussion

The Dalai Lama is currently in Rochester, MN, and tomorrow will be taking part in a panel discussion about “resiliency through mindfulness” at the Mayo Clinic.

The two-hour discussion will be livestreamed, starting at 10 am CDT on Tuesday. Click here to watch “Integrating Mindfulness in Healthcare.”

Interest in meditation increasing among yoga students

Read the story behind Cyndi Lee's new tattoo in "Never Too Old," on page 58 of our current issue.

Anyone who’s been to yoga class lately probably recalls doing some variety of actual meditation practice during their sessions, but a new New York Times story documents the recent “return” of meditation to the yoga class. Among those featured in the story is Cyndi Lee — author of Yoga Body, Buddha Mind, and founder of NYC’s OM Yoga (which, incidentally, will be closing its doors in late June). As Cyndi, whose “Never Too Old” can found in the current, “Embrace Change” issue of Shambhala Sun, says:

“The yoga community in New York City has matured,” Ms. Lee said. “I remember a time when we started with five minutes of meditation and a woman got annoyed and said: ‘I want to move. I want to sweat.’ Now they want to meditate.”

Read more “Putting Meditation Back on the Mat” via the New York Times online, and then let us know” Do you go to yoga class to “move” and “sweat” or to connect on a more contemplative level? Have you found one discipline to be a “gateway” to the other? Let us know.

See also our Yoga and Buddhism Spotlight page featuring Cyndi Lee, Rodney Yee, Shiva Rea, Frank Jude Boccio and more.

Will this “Buddhist Kung-Fu Policeman” save London?

The scifi/futurism site io9 is reporting on the coming premiere of Phoo Action, “a new BBC pilot adapted by Doctor Who director Euros Lyn from a semi-forgotten strip by Tank Girl co-creator Jamie Hewlett. Influenced by the sixties Batman TV show, the odd Buddhist-futurist series just might be the next cult hit or, if nothing else, an interesting televisual oddity.” Here’s the trailer:

For more, check out io9′s post.

From The Under 35 Project: “The Dharma of Desire”

We at the Shambhala Sun are partnering with friend and author Lodro Rinzler to bring you weekly selections from Shambhala Publications’ Under 35 Project, which gathers original writings by younger Buddhist practitioners. The newest is Rebecca Jamieson‘s “The Dharma of Desire,” about which Lodro says, “Rebecca has written a beautiful piece about love of all sorts, and her balancing stories of romantic and familial relationships really spoke to me.” Read on, then learn how you too can participate in The Under 35 Project.

From my experience, intense attraction to anyone or anything is a sign that there’s a lot of juiciness there – be it bitter or sweet. Whether it’s an old pattern that sucks us into painful thoughts or behaviors, or it’s something new that we’re excited about inviting into our life, attraction is a huge blinking sign that there’s something there to learn.

The key to working with attraction seems to be curiosity. Continued »

This weekend, Oprah interviews Ram Dass; Watch a clip online now

On her show Super Soul Sunday, Oprah Winfrey will meet and talk to Ram Dass in an exclusive interview in Maui, paired with the documentary on his stroke “Ram Dass: Fierce Grace.”

Click through here for more information and to watch the first minute of the interview.

Click here to watch the first minute of “Super Soul Sunday” with Ram Dass.

Super Soul Sunday airs on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network Sundays at 11am ET/10am CT. Future interviewees include Deepak Chopra and Thich Nhat Hanh.

This week on Parks & Rec: Ron Swanson did not meditate

Two weeks ago on 30 Rock (one of the big Thursday NBC comedies), main character Liz Lemon meditated. This week, on Parks and Recreation (another big Thursday NBC comedy), Ron Swanson, played brilliantly as always by Nick Offerman, did not meditate. Repeat: Did not.

Yes, the “Don’t Tread on Me”-government-hating government worker did go to a meditation center of some kind, in a rare moment of deference to his health-nut pseudo-boss Chris (Rob Lowe), who sometimes goes in for spiritual or even New Agey stuff. But Ron’s only along to get chummy enough with Chris that he can keep his plum job of being paid to do as little as possible.

So what did Ron do in there if he wasn’t meditating? Chris may think that a post-sit Ron “radiates mindfulness” but as Ron himself puts it: Continued »