Seamless Stitches: From Emptiness, Springs Form – Helene Rein's Crafted Works
14/06/2017 11:09 (GMT+7)
A long-time Vajrayana Buddhist practitioner, Helene Rein moves seamlessly between contemplation and immersion in the natural environment of tactile crafts. As a child growing up in Norway, Helene created homemade gifts, such as embroidery, cross-stitched pillows, lavender sachets, and wall-hangings. Her mother embroidered all the flowers and designs on her bunad, a traditional Norwegian costume. She attended the Waldorf High School in Stavanger which helped deepen her experience of making things by hand. Helene’s Buddhist meditation teacher Lama Padma Drimed Norbu, also likes making things. Helene says he exemplifies making practical items that are pleasing and functional as a practice, and they both enjoy arranging beautiful objects in unusual ways, from small offerings to large retreat spaces.
Dutch Entrepreneur Plans Radical Clean-up of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch
22/05/2017 15:49 (GMT+7)
The notorious Great Pacific Garbage Patch, an ugly reminder of humanity’s willful neglect of the natural environment, is big. Really big. Estimates of its extent range from the size of Texas to greater than the entire continental United States. Yet a resourceful entrepreneur from the Netherlands, 22-year-old Boyan Slat, is confident that he can halve the amount of plastic waste floating in the Pacific in as little five years using an innovative modular system that is poised to launch sooner than expected.

New Buddhist Shrine in Hebei Emphasizes Harmony Between Humanity and Nature
21/05/2017 19:12 (GMT+7)
A newly built Buddhist shrine in the city of Tangshan in China’s Hebei Province uses modern architecture and a combination of concrete and natural materials to merge the building with its surroundings. Built inside a hill and hardly visible from the outside, the shrine evokes a sense of calm and serenity.
Tibetan Buddhist Monk Offers Drug-free Medical Treatment in Northern India
17/05/2017 15:47 (GMT+7)
Yeshi Dhonden, a Tibetan monk who earned renown after working for some 20 years as personal physician to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, today continues draws visitors from the Tibetan diaspora and all over the world seeking alternative treatments for a variety of health conditions ranging from back pain to cancer and degenerative diseases. “If the sick come to me, I will take care of them,” says Dhonden from his private clinic in McLeod Ganj, a suburb of Dharamsala in the far northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. (France 24)

New “Ecodharma” Retreat Center to Open in Colorado in June
17/05/2017 15:34 (GMT+7)
HELENA, Montana—The well-known Buddhist author and teacher David Loy made the following announcement last week: “I'm pleased to inform everyone that the Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Retreat Center (RMERC) will be officially purchased early next month, and that retreats will begin later that month.” 
Western Buddhist Monks Find Spiritual Joy in the Sri Lankan Wilds
14/05/2017 16:04 (GMT+7)
Sri Lanka has long attracted Buddhist monastics and scholars from around the world with its rich Buddhist heritage and resources. While the nation’s monastic centers and universities are renowned hubs of Buddhist education, the island’s forest hermitages are also high on the list of attractions for those seeking to practice and study Buddhism. Recently, two Western monks have taken to social media to express the spiritual joy of living in the beautiful wild hills of the island’s Central Province. 

Venerable Hāsapañña: Finding Contentment in Solitude
02/05/2017 17:13 (GMT+7)
Just 45 minutes outside of Perth, the state capital of Western Australia, lies a sprawling acreage of dry forest. Fires can scorch the forest in bushfire season, but the 14 women of Dhammsara Nuns Monastery have learned to live on the land, devoting themselves to a life that is purposefully removed from the busy distractions of the city.
A Vow Without a Wristwatch: Jan Chozen Bays
06/04/2017 18:21 (GMT+7)
Jan Chozen Bays was driving through the winding country roads of Clatskanie, Oregon, to the old elementary school that she and her husband were proposing to turn into a Zen monastery. Tonight was a community meeting, at which they would explain their project to the town and hear their input on the construction plan. Expecting a polite but tense conversation, she stepped into the school cafeteria.

The Way of the Bodhisattvas
01/04/2017 13:04 (GMT+7)
It is important to ask questions of ourselves, such as is it enough to only practice meditation or sadhana on the cushion? Are we becoming self-indulging Dharma junkies unless we go out and take concrete action, caring for the poor or fighting for justice on the behalf of the weak? Since altruistic actions are an integral part of our spiritual practice, we should aspire to engage with the world and become involved in social or political issues. This can be regarded as the way of the bodhisattva.
Mindful Technology For Right Livelihood: Foundations and Examples
12/03/2017 10:07 (GMT+7)
Dharma practitioners, and many people who uphold and live by ethical values, can sometimes be far from open minded, even old fashioned to the point of having preconceptions against modern ways of life and all sorts of technology-based tools, in particular the Internet. Practitioners who seek Internet connections for their retreat abodes are often frowned upon, as if Internet connectivity somehow invalidates the integrity of their practice and the purity of their practice boundary. In this column, I will seek to defend the view that technologies are not inherently at fault, but are merely instruments that can be used ethically or unethically.

US Schools that Have Replaced Detention with Meditation Are Reaping the Benefits
08/03/2017 18:18 (GMT+7)
The far-reaching benefits of meditation and mindfulness, as long recognized by many spiritual traditions, are gaining increasing traction in the West, both within and outside the Buddhist world. Perhaps nowhere is this postivie impact being more keenly felt, and with the greatest potential to improve the future, than at the growing number of schools that are incorporating these practices into their daily curriculums.
When All Else Fails, Exhale
06/03/2017 18:43 (GMT+7)
I once had a dance teacher who shared with us his trick for ensuring a successful performance: he would rehearse his dance company enough to know the piece, but also to be just a little tired. If they were not tired enough, they would try too hard and the beauty of the performance would be lost. As exhaustion is not helpful to performing, I had imagined that any fatigue would be an impediment, so I was surprised that his technique for “just right” was to ensure that the dancers were a little tired. Then I saw the wisdom in his method. As this teacher worked with us to create our own choreographies, he was always finding ways to get us out of our heads and into the movement. It turns out that “a little tired” does this automatically. The lesson has stayed with me long past my life as a dance student: ease is more beautiful than striving; it is also more enjoyable and thus applies to all of life.

Buddhist Monk Highlights Need for Conservation on the Tibetan Plateau
01/03/2017 18:56 (GMT+7)
The Tibetan Plateau is home to some of the world’s rarest wild species, among them the elusive snow leopard. With estimates for the total global population ranging from 3,920–6,390 in the wild, snow leopards are classified as endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.* In recent years, however, an unlikely wildlife activist has embarked on a self-imposed mission to record the declining biodiversity of the Tibetan Plateau. The Buddhist monk, who comes from a traditional Tibetan nomadic community and goes by the name Drukyab, travels through the Himalayas documenting the snow leopard, along with other other flora and fauna in the remote region, seeking to raise awareness about threats to the region’s delicate ecological balance.
The Fiction of the Self: Ruth Ozeki
24/02/2017 15:20 (GMT+7)
“Ultimately, all the creative arts are testaments to the foundational truths of Buddhist principles,” says Canadian-American writer Ruth Ozeki. Whether tracing the themes of interdependence and non-attachment, crafting characters who are Zen Buddhist nuns, or using her meditation practice as a springboard for new work, Ozeki has become a uniquely Buddhist voice in modern fiction.

Anam Thubten Rinpoche On Non-attachment, Being a Buddhist Gypsy, and Impermanence
14/02/2017 10:55 (GMT+7)
I truly enjoy my conversations with the quiet, authoritative Anam Thubten Rinpoche, and I was glad to learn last year that he likes coming to Hong Kong to teach. This patient and soft-spoken Nyingma master has a devoted, urbanite, and educated following in the cosmopolitan enclave. “I really enjoy being in Hong Kong and I feel that I’m learning how to teach in Hong Kong and understand more about the culture and people. The people have been wonderful, and the learning experience for me overall and sharing the Dharma has been a source of joy. The people who come to my teachings have been very sincere and intelligent, and I feel that these people really have the capacity to understand the depth of Buddhism,” he told me when we met in December.
Pristine Mountain Ecosystems Under Threat from Climate Change, Study Shows
13/02/2017 23:59 (GMT+7)
A new study from an international team of researchers indicates that climate change poses a direct threat to fragile mountain habitats, affecting both glaciers and the proliferation of high-altitude species. The international study, which examined seven of the world’s major mountain regions, which are warming twice as fast as the global average, found that higher temperatures are speeding up microbial activity, and leading to fundamental changes that could displace some plant life and dramatically alter the habitat of others.

Self-reflection in Kashmir
07/02/2017 17:26 (GMT+7)
The world is beset by what are often called “intractable problems.” Agitation and response seem to run in circles of escalating violence, with little apparent creativity in the attempts to resolve these issues. Perhaps it is time to take a moment to pause, to self-reflect on what it would take to change a discussion, to offer a way forward that is not merely a self-righteous rehash of the past? While I was working in the Vale of Kashmir in the summer 2016 with a 700-year-old tradition of satirical performers known as Bhand Pather, whose plays are based on Sufi poetry and social observation, these simmering tensions took a turn for the worse. Eight Indian soldiers were murdered on a bus when militants ambushed an official convoy. Several days later, Burhan Wani, a popular young militant leader, was killed in a gun battle with security personnel, unleashing years of pent-up frustration among the populations of villages in Kashmir as well as the Indian security forces. In this ongoing cycle of violence and retribution, Kashmir is, regrettably, not so unique in the world, but perhaps the world has forgotten the suffering of Kashmir?
Myanmar Buddhist Recognizes the Right of All Children to Receive an Education
04/02/2017 12:49 (GMT+7)
In Myanmar’s strife-torn Rakhine State, where ethnic and religious tensions continue to simmer and segregate the Buddhist and Muslim communities, at least one ethnic Rakhine Buddhist, a 46-year-old school teacher, is willing to bridge this tragic divide that has been defined by violence and bloodshed. Since 2014, Maung Than Shwe has been the headmaster of the Basic Education High School (BEHS) in Thet Kay Pyin village, which is attended by children from one of the state’s biggest internment camps for displaced Muslims.

Dharma In The Digital Age: Susan Piver
02/02/2017 21:34 (GMT+7)
“It’s not a thrill a minute. You’re not seeing auras and jumping into other dimensions,” says Susan Piver. “Meditation is not a life hack. . . . It’s a way to see clearly.”
Animal Lovers Knitting Winter Jumbo Jackets for Abused Elephants in Mathura, India
30/01/2017 11:27 (GMT+7)
In Mathura, India, kind-hearted villagers and animal lovers are weaving colorful sweaters (calling them jumbo jackets) for elephants at the Elephant Conservation and Care Centre, a project of Wildlife SOS 30 miles north of Agra city. As temperatures in north India drop dramatically during this month, the garments will keep warm the rescued elephants, which suffer from blindness, disabilities, or other conditions caused by their abusers’ appalling treatment.

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