a timely critique of American Buddhist lifestyle and ecological awareness...

An interesting opinion piece and comment discussion by Waylon Lewis of Elephant Journal regarding American Buddhism and environtmentalism.

7 Reasons Buddhists don’t give a shiite about the Environment.

My response:
I like this. For me it comes down to this: Derrick Jensen's Endgame Premise #8:
"Premise Eight: The needs of the natural world are more important than the needs of the economic system. Another way to put premise Eight: Any... economic or social system that does not benefit the natural communities on which it is based is unsustainable, immoral, and stupid. Sustainability, morality, and intelligence (as well as justice) requires the dismantling of any such economic or social system, or at the very least disallowing it from damaging your landbase."

Personally I don't know how one's Buddhist practice can't take this seriously, if one is serious about one's relationship with all sentient beings as opposed to just giving that idea lip service.

the Tibetan concept of drala

"Drala is not a god or spirit, but fundamentally it is connecting the wisdom of your own being with the power of things as they are. If you are able to connect those two things, out of that, you can discover magic in everything. There are many other examples of invoking external drala. I have read, for instance, that some American Indians in the Southwest grow vegetables in the desert sands. The soil, from an objective standpoint, is completely infertile. If you just threw a handful of seeds onto that earth, nothing would grow. But the Indians have been cultivating that soil for generations; they have a deep connection to that earth and they care for it. To them, it is sacred ground, and because of that, their plants grow. That is real magic. The attitude of sacredness toward your environment will bring drala. You may live in a dirt hut with no floor and only one window, but if you regard that space as sacred, if you care for it with your heart and mind, then it will be a palace." - Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche

article by Derrick Jensen

So, this isn't a new article (it's from 2006) but I just came across it and thought it was relevant given the oil disaster in the Gulf (and the various states of our biosphere in general). I thought it was interesting, because I don't know if Jensen subscribes to any religion (if anything, he strikes me as an animist) but some of the ideas in this article seem to approach a Buddhist view (his thoughtful-critical view of hope) as well as Pagan sensibilities about our relationship with the Land.


Beyond Hope

THE MOST COMMON WORDS I hear spoken by any environmentalists anywhere are, We’re fucked. Most of these environmentalists are fighting desperately, using whatever tools they have—or rather whatever legal tools they have, which means whatever tools those in power grant them the right to use, which means whatever tools will be ultimately ineffective—to try to protect some piece of ground, to try to stop the manufacture or release of poisons, to try to stop civilized humans from tormenting some group of plants or animals. Sometimes they’re reduced to trying to protect just one tree.

Here’s how John Osborn, an extraordinary activist and friend, sums up his reasons for doing the work: “As things become increasingly chaotic, I want to make sure some doors remain open. If grizzly bears are still alive in twenty, thirty, and forty years, they may still be alive in fifty. If they’re gone in twenty, they’ll be gone forever.”
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internet broadcast of Sherap Chamma practice tomorrow, 12:30 pm eastern

Hi, I thought this may be of interest: there will be a free internet broadcast tomorrow, Sunday Oct 11 at 12:30pm by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche on the Sherap Chamma practice, a meditation that permits a deep, transformative connection with the qualities of love and wisdom.

More info below and at https://www.ligmincha.org/

During his October 11 broadcast Rinpoche will guide the practice of Sherap Chamma. This guided practice, which will take place during a break in the annual fall retreat at Serenity Ridge, will be open to our Internet audience only. More information about the fall retreat >

The teachings of Sherap Chamma (‘Wisdom Loving Mother’) comprise one of the most important tantric cycles of the Bon Buddhist tradition of Tibet. In many cultures the primordial female energy is seen as the origin of existence and the source of wisdom, love and compassion. The ancient Bon Buddhist tradition offers a method for retrieving and deeply connecting with this divine feminine energy, bringing the potential for profound healing at all levels of experience—physical, energetic, psychological and spiritual.

As always, Rinpoche presents the ancient Bon teachings in a way that is fresh and relevant to modern daily life.

If you would like to learn more about the Sherap Chamma practice, a variety of support materials are available for purchase from Ligmincha Institute's Bookstore & Tibet Shop.


(edit: direct link is https://www.ligmincha.org/retreats/live-internet-teachings-oct.-11-2009.html)
Kannon Bodhisattva

Japanese Religions & Anime Survey

As part of my upcoming panel on Japanese Religions in Anime at Anime Punch 2009, I would like to present some data on how Anime, Manga, and Japanese Pop Culture has possibly influenced the spirituality of Anime fans. If you would like to contribute I have a survey available in my LJ.

Please pass this link around to people and sites which may be interested and complete this survey no later than April 8th, 2009.

  • leaves1

live internet teaching from the Bön Buddhist tradition Sunday

FYI, this Sunday, January 4, at 3 p.m. Eastern Time, there will be a live Internet teaching by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche.

Rinpoche will be teaching and guiding the practice of Sherap Chamma, a method for deeply connecting with the immeasurable qualities of wisdom, love and compassion. For more information about this 90-minute teaching or to enter the broadcast site, please go to Ligmincha.org and click on the first "Headlines" item. Or, you can go directly to: https://www.ligmincha.org/retreats/live-internet-teachings.html

If you're in a different time zone and want to confirm the right time to view the teaching, you can determine the time conversion at: http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/converter.html

We recommend you visit the site at least a few minutes in advance of this Sunday's teachings so you don't miss any of the broadcast. Please be sure to read the instructions below the broadcast screen before participating.

Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche is the founder and spiritual director of Ligmincha Institute in Charlottesville, Va., a nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing the Bon Buddhist tradition to the Western world. Rinpoche is a beloved teacher throughout the United States, Mexico, and Europe, and a prolific author. His books include The Tibetan Yogas of Dream and Sleep (Snow Lion Publications 1998), Healing with Form, Energy, and Light: The Five Elements in Tibetan Shamanism, Tantra, and Dzogchen (Snow Lion Publications 2002), and Tibetan Sound Healing: Seven Guided Practices for Clearing Obstacles, Accessing Positive Qualities, and Uncovering Your Inherent Wisdom (Sounds True 2007). To learn more about the work of Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche go to www.ligmincha.org.
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for those interested in Bön Buddhism and/or dreaming practice

Wanted to pass this on for anyone interested:

For two weeks beginning Dec. 17, 2008, New Dimensions Media will air an interview with Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche entitled "DreamingYour Way to Higher Consciousness, " hosted by Michael Toms (Program 3263).

For information on how you can hear this program either from a local radio station or directly from your computer, visit http://www.newdimensions.org and click on "Listening Options" in the left menu.

I don't know, I'm still learning

Lately it seems all around me people are discussing religion, spirituality, the divine, and beliefs in terms of how to define it, what it is and isn't, who's a poser, what's real, etc.
So I wanted to write a little about myself and get some opinions. I'm being very raw and honest here, and I don't think I've ever really discussed this with anybody before, so I'm very interested in what people have to say.
As a child, my family was generally agnostic Christian... God, angels, jesus, but that's it. My mom and grandma grew up in a generally Mormon family but i'm thankful that they never passed it on to me, since I find it to be a lot of rubbish, but that's just me. I basically believed in God and angels because that's what I was taught but never gave it much thought. Never went to church, never prayed or said my blessings before bed, etc. Was very curious however with the supernatural, psychics, aliens, etc.
On my 13th birthday a friend of my mom's gave me a book on Wicca by Silver Ravenwolf. Now, I know a lot of people think she's a fluff bunny, etc. and generally don't like her, but damn that book hit home for me and made more sense to me than anything else I had ever read, and I do have a lot of respect for her as an author and what she teaches.
I began reading books by Silver Ravenwolf as well as Scott Cunningham, but while Wicca and Paganism rang true for me much more than anything else I'd ever learned about, it still didn't quite seem to fit. I went through my fluff bunny phase but got over it quickly.
At 16, went through existentialist Athiest phase, but shortly thereafter went through a bunch of life changes and trials that made me rethink life and my beliefs. I realized that I don't know everything, no one does, and life isn't simple and black and white, and some things are simply unexplainable by rationale and science.
During this point in my life, I was 18-19 and went through a big re-evaluation of my beliefs and spirituality. I read and read about religion and spirituality, took a Religious Studies class in college, and since then, I am 20 now and frankly I'm not sure where I fit.
I consider myself Eclectic... that's the best, most specific way I can describe my beliefs, which isn't very specific at all. I just don't know where or what I am, but unlike my younger days, i don't feel such an urgent need to define it, but curiosity and a bit of a feeling of being lost.
I believe in a lot of Buddhist, Wiccan, and Pagan teachings, a bit of Hindu as well. I do believe there is a divine force out there, I'm just not sure what or who it is. And as far as Christianity, Islam, etc. I have a lot of problems with their teachings as far as Hell, "Sin", homosexuality, etc.
I think that the deities of the world are all just facets and different interpretations of this supreme force, though I don't really know how to define this thing other than as the universe, love, life, etc. I am a very strong believer in Astrology and have been studying it for the past few months.I've been also studying and practicing Lucid Dreaming, as well as communicating with the "other side". I also believe in karma very much so as I've observed it first hand. I believe in "Magick" or however you want to define it. I also believe that Prayer and positive, proactive thinking do work. I am an artist and am learning massage therapy as well as color and crystal/stone therapy. I meditate regularly as well. My beliefs basically go off of what I have experienced and learned to be true first hand. I'm a bit of a skeptic sometimes.
I have an alter, a small one, but its mine and I cherish it. It brings me comfort and inspiration and a place to pray, spellcast, meditate, and think. It consists of a picture of my foster mom who died over a year ago, a few happy chinese buddhas (the fat ones) as they've always been very important to me as a deity, spiritual representation, however you want to call it, a Shiva Statuette, A Goddess charm (The Goddess and femininity are very important to me), some of my stones such as my rose quartz that I take everywhere for me (promotes love, calm, especially for children of abusive parents from what I've read), and my meditation balls, which are especially important to me.
I try not to judge anybody or start arguments, as I really don't like conflict or hurting others (yes, I'm a wimp). I'm somewhat of a pacifist, though I'm prone to being a typical mischevious Gemini. I try to treat others as I would like to be treated, be kind to everyone and help people when I can.I've been very much a victim to cruelty and abuse, and frankly I hate the idea of anyone suffering.  Sure I understand its a part of life and I can't help everyone, but I'm the type if you're not feeling the best I'll give you a hug, a cup of tea, and a back massage, and probably make you a bead animal full of love.
So this is my little musing and I would love some feedback, guidence, observations, advice, anything you want to offer me.