Q There are times on the path when I feel isolated from society and the people around me. Perversely, this always seems to be when I am meditating the most and really clearing my head. Superficialities and consumptive tendencies seem very exaggerated, and I find myself feeling alien in the world around me. I don’t think this is the proper response. What can be done to combat this?
Ralph Steele asks us to consider what a racially and culturally diverse American Buddhist community would be like.
I remember the days of being a retreat addict, chasing that sweet sensation of getting high. The dharma teachings often tasted dry, like dust in my mouth. However, hearing teachings was not my primary motive in attending Vipassana, Zen, and Tibetan retreats for more than four decades. Doing ngondro practices, chanting 108 Hanuman chalisas, sittin g long hours in sesshin, practicing vipassana right through lunch, sitting and walking until 10 p.m. or even through the night—these were sweet times of being neck deep in the addiction of making love to, or getting drunk on, God.
Buddhism In the Modern World
Edited by David L. McMahan
$39.95; 352 pages
Reviewed by Annabella Pitkin
For years a private entertainment of many Buddhists I know has been to collect funny or irritating instances of collisions between the mass media and Buddhist images, words, and ideas. There is in fact a website partly devoted to this pursuit, theworsthorse.com, whose author, Rod Meade Sperry, has immortalized such collisions under the label “Dharma-Burgers.”
by Michael Sheehy
Norman Waddell translates the letters of the seventeenth-century Japanese Zen master and revitalizer of the Rinzai tradition, Hakuin Ekaku (1685–1786), in his new book, Beating the Cloth Drum (Shambhala 2012). The letters are Hakuin’s personal correspondence with monks and lay practitioners, as well as his dharma heirs. Described by one of his chief disciples as having the gaze of a tiger who moved like an ox, Hakuin was likely an intimidating character. However, what becomes evident through reading his letters is the extreme care and concern he expressed toward his community.
Wisdom Mind and the Birth of Samsara
I bow to my own Wisdom Mind
which is my best wisdom teacher,
the source of all visible and invisible qualities.
Sentient beings are always in time and place.
by Rita M. Gross
Sometimes I am accused of “genderizing the dharma.” It is true that I have taught and written extensively about Buddhism and gender, including in my book Buddhism After Patriarchy: A Feminist History, Analysis, and Reconstruction of Buddhism. But why leap to the claim that I’m genderizing the dharma in that work? How could anyone possibly genderize the dharma if the dharma were gender neutral and gender free, if there were no gender biases and hierarchies in its institutional and doctrinal expressions?
By Julianne Victoria
Sometimes a teacher will come into our lives at just the right time, regardless of whether we’re looking for one or even know we need one. Two years ago this happened to me, quite unexpectedly, when I met Simba. My teacher wasn’t a Zen master, or a lama at the local Buddhist center. He was a dog.
By Andrea Miller
Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche was inspired to teach Western students by his own teacher, the Sixteenth Karmapa. “He told me many times that you’ve got to teach whoever is interested in the dharma,” says Chokyi Nyima, “and Westerners are really hungry.”
The firstborn son of Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, Chokyi Nyima was twenty-five when he became the abbot of Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling Monastery in Boudhanath, Nepal, in 1976. He soon began to give weekend teachings to Western travelers, but thought it was important to offer nonmonastics (Western and otherwise) a more comprehensive Buddhist education.
What inspired you to make a film about your teacher, Chögyam Trungpa?
In 1983 I was in Boulder editing the film The Lion’s Roar. At a private interview with Rinpoche, he asked me to make a “Shambhala film.” Frankly, I didn’t know what a Shambhala film would or could be, but I said yes. Four years later, he was gone. I directed the filming of his cremation and made a short edit from the sixteen-millimeter footage, but there was no funding to develop a proper film. Years went by, during which I taught a lot of Shambhala training. Then one day I woke up and realized what my Shambhala film had to be.
by Michael Sheehy
What’s striking about Tsoknyi Rinpoche’s new book, Open Heart, Open Mind (Harmony Books 2012), is that it’s so personal. It’s unusual for a lama to open up about his own vulnerabilities and fears, particularly in print, and Tsoknyi Rinpoche does so in a way that is both touching and reassuring for practitioners. He writes about being a father, husband, and Dzogchen teacher, and growing up among some of the legendary Tibetan meditation masters of the previous generation.