Crowdfunding works: Updates on Against the Stream’s new SF Center and “The Dalai Lama Film”

Good news: Against the Stream’s online fundraising campaign for a new meditation center in San Francisco has been fully funded. But your donation is still very much welcome. Why? As ATS tells us:

The $30,000 raised [thus far] brings us what we need for the original renovation contract, but every dollar more buys us some breathing room for any overruns. It will also helps us with some important finishing touches.

  • A gift of $30 buys a chair (and we’ll need a lot of them!)
  • $70 buys us one zafu/zabuton set
  • $150 gets us an all-in one printer or a credit card machine
  • $300 gets us a wireless microphone or a digital recorder
  • $500 gets us a PA system so everyone can hear
  • $1,000 gets us a laptop
  • $2,000 helps ensure we get the other furnishings we’ll need: racks for folding chairs, tables, rugs, lamps, and more
If you want to help, make a donation here. UPDATE: If ATS raises another $10K by August 15th, those funds will be matched. So your contribution is twice as powerful now.
And in more good crowdfunding news: Mickey Lemle’s documentary in progress, The Dalai Lama Film, has exceeded its fundraising goal by more than $20,000. Donations are still welcome (and a host of great premiums are offered) — and for other updates, follow The Dalai Lama Film on Facebook.

Our September issue is here, featuring helpful teachings on transforming anger into wisdom and compassion — plus lots more

2014-09 coverThe September 2014 Shambhala Sun now on sale. What’s inside? Well, read on and click the links found below, or click here to start browsing complete articles and excerpts on our “Current Issue” page.

* Special Section: Discovering the Wisdom of AngerMelvin McLeod on the “enlightened power of no; Judy Lief offers four Buddhist techniques to work with anger; Emily Horn teaches us how RAIN — Recognizing, Accepting, Investigating, and Not identifying with our anger — can cool the flames of anger; Norman Fischer applies five surprising mind-training slogans to anger and other strong emotions

* A Refuge from AddictionNoah Levine offers Buddhist principles and practices to help people free themselves from the suffering of substance abuse

* Is Nothing Something? Children’s questions reveal that they, like adults, are grappling with the human condition. We’ll all benefit from Thich Nhat Hanh‘s answers to their questions

More, after the jump: Continued »

A Kickstarter for Nature lovers…

From TigerLion Arts — who produced “KIPO!”, a circus of spirit, song and dance from Tibet, and the official arts component of the Dalai Lama’s 2011 Minnesota visit (the Sun was a sponsor) — comes Nature, an “outdoor play, created by Ralph Waldo Emerson’s great-great-great-grandson, about Emerson and Thoreau’s mutual love affair with the natural world.” Watch above, and kick in to the play’s Kickstarter campaign. They have just 15 days to go so your help could go a long way.

How to Meditate: Being Genuine, by Carolyn Rose Gimian

Great meditators before us have laid out the path, but how can we be sure we’re following it genuinely? There are no guarantees, but Carolyn Rose Gimian has some tips for keeping it real.

2012 07 Gimian

When the Shambhala Sun asked me to write an article about how to make meditation practice genuine and real, I wasn’t sure whether to be proud or insulted. Maybe they were asking me because they could see what a fraud I am on the meditation cushion, and they needed someone to write honestly about failure.

Well, guilty as charged. Failure to be peaceful, failure to be mindful, failure to be aware, failure to be kind, failure to think big, failure to be generous (or insert your favorite virtue/ accomplishment I’ve failed at). On the other hand, sitting on the cushion for a lot of years (if I tell you how many, it will be really embarrassing) has yielded some results. I have witnessed a whole circus of bizarre fantasies, emotions, and extreme mental states, starring anger, lust, hatred, delusion, arrogance, pride, depression, anxiety, and a host of other amazing performers. I’ve made friends with Speedy, Distracted, and Lazy, three of the seven dwarfs of meditation for small-minded people. However, I do have one genuine accomplishment: I have gotten completely and totally bored. Continued »

“No Time to Meditate?” Think again.

Just think of all the incredibly exciting things you could be doing instead!

We all think, at one point or another, that we don’t have time to meditate. But maybe time isn’t the issue. Maybe the problem is that one part of us wants to do it, while another part wants something else.

Author and meditator Tina Welling has some guidance for all of us who wish we could be more undivided when it comes to practice. Check out her Shambhala Sun article, “No Time to Meditate?”, here.

Just days left to help make “The Dalai Lama Film” a reality

Word from the people looking to make Kickstart The Dalai Lama Film (see trailer above or more info below) is that they’re “now 90% funded on with 11 days to go — but, as you know, Kickstarter is an all-or-nothing enterprise.” Meaning, they need your help, and need it now. Watch, and contribute to the Kickstarter campaign here. Continued »

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. Continued »

Subscribe to Shambhala Sun and receive the special e-book “How to Meditate” — in addition to a great discount

howtomeditateWant to learn more about how meditation can help us develop calm, awareness, wisdom and love?

Subscribe to the Shambhala Sun today; you’ll save up to 62% on your order and receive a free digital booklet of great meditation teachings from the pages of the Shambhala Sun. Click here.

Inside you’ll find great meditation teachings from Pema Chödrön, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, Joan Sutherland, and more. And you’ll save up to 62% off the newsstand price.

Want to sit in the Dalai Lama’s big, comfy chair? It won’t come cheap.

hhdl-stickleyVia the Chicago Tribune‘s “Breaking Business” section:

“The limited edition Stickley Eastwood Chair, a replica of the custom-designed model used by the Dalai Lama during several recent public appearances, will be on the showroom floor of Toms-Price Home Furnishings in Wheaton [Illinois] starting Sept. 15. The price tag is just under $10,000, including a matching ottoman.”

The chair isn’t endorsed by the Dalai Lama, and neither he or any of the organizations with which he’s involved are named as beneficiaries of the chair’s profits. See the whole story here.

How to Meditate: Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche on Mahamudra

In Buddhism, wisdom is not something we acquire or develop— it is who we really are, the true nature of mind. Through Mahamudra meditation, says Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche, we relax into the emptiness, clarity, and awareness of ever-present buddha wisdom.

Buddhism is rich in methods for working with the mind. One of the most renowned and powerful is the ancient wisdom tradition known as Mahamudra. Originating in India, the view and practice of Mahamudra gradually spread across Asia and today has reached the West. As a philosophy, it aims to communicate clear knowledge of the true nature of the mind. As a meditation practice, it is designed to bring about that experience swiftly and unmistakably.

Mahamudra is a contemplative Buddhist tradition known for its simplicity. The practice is to be genuine, relaxed, and aware in every situation in life, to accept and appreciate who we are. To engage in its profound methods, we aren’t required to change our lifestyle, and any message contrary to that is not a true Mahamudra teaching. The practice of Mahamudra is an experience of our mind that’s completely free and joyful, no matter what our life brings us. It points us to mind’s true nature. Continued »

The “Seeing Fresh” contemplative photo of the moment…


From author and contemplative photographer Andy Karr comes the latest “Seeing Fresh” contemplative photo of the week, submitted by Lis Maiz. Andy’s comment: “Seeing nature clearly is so difficult because concepts like ‘lovely flower’ come to mind so quickly, obscuring the actual form of what is seen. That’s certainly not the case in this fine image of colors and shapes. It’s a great example of fresh seeing.” Continued »

Joshu Sasaki Roshi dead at 107

jsrFrom Myoren Yasukawa & 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.

Prepare Now: Meditation teacher Allan Lokos’s harrowing, inspiring story

"Burma was just opening up so it was an honor to go, recalls Lokos of his ill-fated trip. Desmond Tutu was reported to be praying for the crash's victims and to exclaim, "Oh, thank God!" when he'd heard Lokos and his wife, Susanna Weiss, has survived. "That's like a five-star blessing," Lokos's friend and mentor Sharon Salzberg joked. (Photos: Lokos, by Donna Svennevik; Crash, by AFP/ Ye Zar Ni / Myanmar Police Force.)

“Burma was just opening up, so it was an honor to go,” recalls Lokos of his ill-fated trip. Desmond Tutu was reported to be praying for the crash’s victims and to exclaim, “Oh, thank God!” when he’d heard Lokos and his wife, Susanna Weiss, has survived. “That’s like a five-star blessing,” Lokos’s friend and mentor Sharon Salzberg joked. (Photos: Lokos, by Donna Svennevik; Crash, by AFP/ Ye Zar Ni / Myanmar Police Force.)

Death can come at any time, so the Buddha warned us to get ready now. Knowing that helped Buddhist teacher Allan Lokos after a terrible plane crash. Rod Meade Sperry tells Lokos’s harrowing but inspiring story inside the current, July 2014 Shambhala Sun — and it’s now online for you to read in its entirety. Just click here.

Cast your eyes upon the sage, there on his *silver* donut throne


Two years after the appearance of the Homer-Simpson-as-Buddha statuette, the toy is now getting a new release in a silver “Silver Anniversary” edition, marking 25 years of The Simpsons on the airwaves. From the marketing copy: “Meditating with a pretzel in one hand, and a giant donut beneath him, Homer, at long last, has found his inner peace. [...] Inspired by The Simpsons episode “Goo Gai Pan”, in which Homer poses as Buddha to gain entry into an orphanage in China.”

If you want to order one, you’ll find it (for example) here, at We won’t tell.

Novelist Rajeev Balasubramanyam takes you on a real-life “American Pilgrimage”

RajPublicity-200x300“Vegas encapsulates all the reasons why I should be going to America — fame, money, sex, glamour, the American Dream,” writes novelist Rajeev Balasubramanyam (In Beautiful Disguises; The Dreamer) on his blog about his “American Pilgrimage.” “If I want spirituality I should surely go to to India, not America, reversing the journey my parents originally made in the Sixties.”

So one might think — but in fact Balasubramanyam’s travels, which come after a dozen or so ten-day Vipassana meditation retreats, will take him to Thich Nhat Hahn’s Deer Park Monastery, and to Crestone, Colorado — a hotbed of Buddhist activity despite its “stationary population of only 73″ — as well as American landmarks like the Grand Canyon. (Las Vegas, ultimately, will get a pass.)

The trip is being made possible thanks to The Hemera Foundation, which has created fellowships for artists and writers who’ve maintained long-term meditation practices to do meditation retreats, followed by writing retreats, with a view to integrating the two practices. Each fellow is given two mentors, one for meditation, and one for writing. Balasubramanyam’s writing mentor is award-winning author and Shambhala Sun contributor Charles R. Johnson.

Follow the “American Pilgrimage” on Balasubramanyam’s blog, here.