"A ZEN LIFE - D.T. Suzuki" is a 77-minute documentary about Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki (1870-1966), credited with single-handedly introducing Zen Buddhism to the West.
D.T. Suzuki was highly successful at getting Westerners to appreciate the Japanese mentality, and Japanese to understand Western logic. The effect he had on Western psychoanalysis, philosophy, religious thinking, and the arts was profound. His numerous writings in English and Japanese serve as an inspiration even today. Dr. Suzuki message is all the more important now, in light of contemporary conflicts stemming from divergent ways of thinking.
Gary Snyder calls Dr. Suzuki "probably the most culturally significant Japanese person in international terms, in all of history."
Along with Gary Snyder, there are exclusive interviews of many people, respected in their own right, who knew D.T. Suzuki in person, including Huston Smith, Mihoko Okamura, Dr. Albert Stunkard, Elsie Mitchell,
Robert Aitken, Donald Richie, Wm. Theodore de Bary, and rare footage of Thomas Merton, John Cage, Erich Fromm, and Suzuki himself.
The DVD contains an additional 10-minutes from a hitherto unknown interview of Daisetz Suzuki by Huston Smith. There is also a printed "Supplementary Text" inserted in the case, with quotes from Dr. Suzuki's talks in English never before published.
"A ZEN LIFE - D.T. Suzuki" can be ordered at:
Looking for quick cup of tea and enlightenment in Tokyo? Why not try a restaurant in the area called “Café de Shinran”. Patrons can enjoy organic food and the temple’s Buddhist atmosphere. By the way, what are those monks drinking?
Tsukiji Hongwanji Temple held an innovative and very extraordinary event called Tokyo Bouz Collection. This event is supposed to introduce Buddhism more casually to today’s people to make them feel that Buddhism is relevant by showing live music which is a mix of sermon and rap, bonzes’ costume display and meditation.
Japanese monks try to promote Buddhism through fashion, rap music
International Herald Tribune
December 15, 2007
In the "Tokyo Bouz (monk) Collection" held at Tsukiji Honganji, nearly 40 monks and nuns from eight major Buddhist sects joined in the event aimed at winning back believers.
Following a rap version of a Buddhist sutra, five monks from each school walked on the runway, then chanted prayers and wrapped up in a grand finale with confetti resembling lotus petals.
"We wanted to show the young people that Buddhism is cool, and temples are not a place just for funerals," said Koji Matsubara, a chief monk at Tsukiji.
More than 1,200 years after it first arrived from mainland Asia, Buddhism in Japan is in crisis, priests say. Almost three-quarters of Japan's population of 120 million are registered as Buddhist, but for many, the only time they enter a temple is to attend a funeral. That has sent many of the country's 75,000 temples into financial trouble.
"Many of us priests share the sense of crisis, and a need to do something to reach out to people," said priest Kosuke Kikkawa, 37, one of the organizers of Saturday's event. "We won't change Buddha's teachings, but perhaps we need a different presentation that can touch the feelings of the people today."
The Tsukiji Honganji offers theological seminars in English for foreign visitors, and has fitted its main hall with a pipe organ for Western-style weddings to attract young couples. Some other temples have also introduced cafes, art galleries and other innovations to reach out to young people who are interested in a different lifestyle.
Japan's aging population has meant more funerals, but the declining population and birth rate means fewer young people to share the bill to keep temples afloat.
Buddhist monks traditionally wear simple black robes. But to appeal to more fashion-conscious youth, the monks wore green and yellow clothes, some with gold embroidery. Others wore elaborate, multilayered robes.
"Their robes were gorgeous," said Sayaka Anma, one of the audience in her 20s, after the monks' show. "I was a bit surprised in the beginning, but it was very moving."
READ MORE FROM THE INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE...
Here is one person's recollection from the first time the group did it in 2005:
"Its hard to put into words this experience. There is much joy… as one settles into the nembutsu there are periods when everything else falls away; you become a communal act of worship, a coming together of people who share a similar path. The sound of the nembutsu at times almost shimmers around the hall. It is quite beautiful.Then there are times whem bombu nature kicks in. “Why are we doing this… I’m hungry… so-and-so is chanting flat… our team is struggling - why doesn’t someone from the other team swop and help us…. namo amida bu namo amida bu… i’m tired… namo amida bu… namo amida bu….”There’s a whole soap opera going on in one’s head, in each other’s heads and yet it is all held by the communal nembutsu… just as you are, just as it is. There are times when it may feel like the practice is very goal-oriented, about trying to last the whole 24 hours, or as long as one can, and then there are times when you realise that you have completely missed the point, that no one can do this by their own, unaided. That the whole twenty four hours enacts out our dependence; on Amida, on each other. The whole experience is transformed into a collective thank you! "
The Bombers play the Montreal Alouettes in the East Division semifinal in Winnipeg on Sunday. The exiled Tibetan leader signed the helmet and an official CFL football as he flew to Ottawa two weeks ago.
READ THE ARTICLE IN THE WINNIPEG FREE PRESS...
On October 27th the elders enjoyed a delicious meal at the month end luncheon followed by cake in celebration of Mr. Hisao Kondo’s 90th birthday. Also in attendance for this joyous occasion was his wife Kay and daughters Shirley Teranishi and Brenda Marks.
From the October issue of the Hikari - Newsletter of the Buddhist Federation of Alberta:
As everyone is aware, the Taber Buddhist Church has been sold with possession by the new buyer to take place on October 1st. Monday, September 17th was a sad day for Taber members as a group of volunteers gathered to dismantle the Butsudan. The only bright spot was that The Galt Museum has indicated that it will be honoured to accept donation of the Butsudan and will develop a display where it will be available to members well into the future. The kansho (bell), reputed to have the best sound of all the bells in southern Alberta has been selected for the new temple.
Over furious objections from China and in the presence of President Bush, Congress on Wednesday bestowed its highest civilian honor on the Dalai Lama, the exiled spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhists whom Beijing considers a troublesome voice of separatism.
READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES...
Relics of Shakyamuni, the historical Buddha who lived 2,500 years ago
The Maitreya Project has been controversial. Villagers and farmers are worried about being displaced by the giant statue. The project has also been accused of being materialistic.
Maitreya is the name of the expected next Buddha, and the tour and yet-to-be funded, $200-million statue are part of the Maitreya Project.
"Throughout his life, it was his strong belief in his Buddhist faith, and the grace of his living that enabled Yoshimaru to not only survive, but to flourish as a uniquely accomplished and caring individual." -excerpt from the book, "Shaku of Wondrous Grace"
Book signing by the authors at the Manitoba Japanese Cultural Centre
The book is written by Art Miki, Henry Kojima and Sylvia Jansen. It contains many photos from his life. As well as, many of the sketches that Abe drew and kept.
Sensei Ulrich believes Abe lived his life by the Universal Vow, I refuse to enter Nirvana until all other beings have entered first, before me. In the book, Sensei explains that the irony of this belief is by refusing salvation for oneself alone, one is saved. This is the grace that Abe-san lived in.
In 2006, when Yoshimaru Abe died, he received his Buddhist name from Sensei Ulrich. And now, that name is the title of the book, "Shaku of Wondrous Grace."
CLICK HERE TO GET MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE BOOK...
As they marched through the streets of Myanmar’s cities last week leading the biggest antigovernment protests in two decades, some barefoot monks held their begging bowls before them. But instead of asking for their daily donations of food, they held the bowls upside down, the black lacquer surfaces reflecting the light. It was a shocking image in the devoutly Buddhist nation. The monks were refusing to receive alms from the military rulers and their families — effectively excommunicating them from the religion that is at the core of Burmese culture. That gesture is a key to understanding the power of the rebellion that shook Myanmar last week.
READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES...
At our Sunday service today, Sensei Ulrich wanted to discuss the situation in Burma. He wanted to hear our thoughts on religion and politics. Are church and state separate? Sensei told us some of the background on the how monks fit into Buddhist societies. As the monks beg for food in the streets, he described a relationship that evolves between the people, the monks, and the rulers (government). The monks count on the people for food. The people rely on the monks for dharma. The monks listen to the people. The monks become the voice of the people. The government listens to the monks so that they understand what is required of them. Their relationship is a triangle of interdependence and is well explained in the classic "The Buddha" by Trevor Ling (Penquin, 1973).
Unless you have a situation that is corrupt. (See wedding video of multi-million dollar wedding of Thandar Shwe, daughter of Burmese dictator Than Shwe)
The Burmese monks needed to help the people and make a stand. Sensei Ulrich ended our talk by asking us another question, how far we would have to be pushed before we took action?
Show support for the people of Burma.
Bonnie-Blake-Tittaferrante of the Jodo Shinshu Buddhists of Thunder Bay sent us this link to an online petition on Amnesty International web site.
The Buddhist Channel website has created this online petition:
A Petition Campaign for Buddhist Solidarity with the Monks and Nuns of Burma
"Love and kindness must win over everything"
We, the Buddhists of the world, implore the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC, the official name of the military regime of Burma (Myanmar)) to refrain from taking any actions that:
1. Physically harm the Buddhist monks and nuns participating in the protest marches currently taking place in major cities and towns in Burma
2. Infiltrate the protesting groups by pretending to be monks and nuns (via having the head shaven and dressing in monks' robes) and then instigitating violence from within through such pretension
3. Offer poisoned foods as alms (Dana)
4. Arresting and beating up people or persons who offers food and water (dana) to the monks
5. Arresting the protesting monks and treating them like criminals, such as catching the monks by lariats and ropes, tying them up with wires and strapping them onto electrical poles, slapping their cheeks, kicking them with military boots and hitting their heads with rifle butts.
We appeal to the members of the military regime to act in accordance with the sacred Buddha-Dharma, in the spirit of loving-kindness, compassion and non-violence.
We implore the millitary regime to accede to the wishes of the common people of Burma, to establish the conditions for the flowering of justice, democracy and liberty.
We wish to convey our admiration and support to the large number of Buddhists monks and fellow Dharma practitioners for advocating democracy and freedom in Burma, and would like to appeal to all freedom-loving people all over the world to support such non-violent movements.
We pray for the success of this peace movement and the early release of Nobel Peace Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.
Show your support to the Burmese Sangha!
Please copy and print the above and galvanise a signature campaign within your community. Collect your list of signature and together with the message above, send it to the nearest Burmese Embassy in Ottawa.
Embassy of the Union Of Myanmar
Sandringham Building, 85 Range Road, Suite 902-903, Ottawa, Ontario K1N 8J6
Office hours: (Mon - Fri)
Fax: 00-613- 232-6435
"We are against the provision of venues by foreign countries to the Dalai Lama's secessionist activities and also against foreign dignitaries meeting with him." -Statement by Chinese officials to the Globe and Mail
The Dalai Lama is welcomed to the White House by President Bush on September 10, 2003. (White House)
The New York Buddhist Temple is led by Sensei Nakagaki. He has been called upon to lead the lead the Buddhist and interfaith community during the memorials of 9-11.
Sensei Nakagaki and Socho Ogui at the 9-11 ceremony, 2002
Every year, since 9-11, the New York Buddhist Temple has Memorial Floating Lanterns Ceremony. It is an ancient Japanese custom of floating lighted lanterns in waterways. It symbolizes respect for the lives of people who have gone before us (Obon). It is a quiet and serene ceremony that provides a place to reaffirm our commitment to building a peaceful future and to pay respect to the lost lives at the World Trade Center.
9-11 Memorial Floating Lanterns Ceremony in New York
Hongwanji, the headquarters of Jodo Shinshu in Kyoto, has asked Canadians to assist these temples by contributing to the Tasukei Campaign. Your support will make a tremendous difference and will be wisely spent to rebuild these wooden structures. To help, make a donation to your local temple by October 16, 2007. Tax deductible receipts will be issued.
Q: Why couldn't the Buddha vacuum under the sofa?
A: He had no attachments.
Throughout his talk, Dr. Tanaka lightened the mood with Buddhist humor while enlightening the audience on Shin spirituality. The event ended a weekend of listening and sharing the dharma.
MORE FROM THE CALGARY BUDDHIST TEMPLE...
Socho Ogui became minister of the Cleveland Buddhist Temple in 1977 and of the Midwest Buddhist Temple in Chicago in 1992. In 2004, he was appointed Socho (Bishop) of the Buddhist Churches of America and has been instrumental in the ongoing revitalization and outreach efforts of that organization. THe is the author of "Zen Shin Talks", and now lives in San Francisco.
For an interesting article on Socho Ogui's view on Jodo Shinshu and meditation, read this recent article from tricycle Magazine.
Ovolio writes in his conclusion:
It's something to think about as we continue into the future.
The difficult situation that the MBC (Montreal Buddhist Church) finds itself in today is largely a consequence of the fact that the experience and function of Jodo Shinshu in North America has been more or less the opposite of other Buddhist schools that migrated here in the twentieth century, such as Zen and Tibetan Buddhism. Where others were welcomed by and opened up to affluent North American culture, Jodo Shinshu was the focal point of an oppressed, alienated and far from wealthy demographic. Even its Christianization, paradoxically, was part of the effort to preserve a Japanese national consciousness. However, with this experience receding further from the present reality for Japanese Canadians and turning more and more into history, Jodo Shinshu temples and churches no longer need to function as the anchors of their communities’ social life and culture. If the Montreal Buddhist Church and others like it are to survive, they will have to shed the skin of their former functions and discover a new niche in North American society.
I read through the temple website recently and was stunned to find my favorite poem! I first heard the poem featured at a funeral of a character on the TV soap, Coronation Street. I researched a bit and found that the author is supposedly Mary Elizabeth Frye (1904-2004) but no one is really sure she wrote it originally.
I would nominate the Elora and Ajanta caves in India as potential Buddhist wonders of the world. There is a Hindu element there as well, but you can't really escape that in India. I've been there and have been in awe of what these stone carvers have done. It's all made of one rock and has been carved into the cliff. Nothing was brought in. The other interesting feature is that is shows a transition in Buddhist thinking where originally the depiction of living beings was forbidden, and then later approved and utilized.
A first-hand account is always good. Thanks for your e-mail.
1. Potala Palace, Lhasa, Tibet, China
This was the chief residence of the Dalai Lama. The 14th Dalai Lama fled to Dharamsala, India after a failed uprising in 1959. Today the Potala Palace is a state museum of China. It is a popular tourist attraction, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The largest Buddhist temple in the world comprises six square platforms topped by three circular platforms, and is decorated with 2,672 relief panels and 504 Buddha statues.
Evidence suggests Borobudur was abandoned following the fourteenth century decline of Buddhist and Hindu kingdoms in Java, and the Javanese conversion to Islam. It was rediscovered in 1814 by Sir Thomas Raffles, the British ruler of Java.
The monument is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Borobudur is still used for pilgrimage, where once a year Buddhist in Indonesia celebrate Vesak at the monument, and Borobudur is Indonesia's single most visited tourist attraction.
REM's Michael Stipe narrates this PSA for Aung San Suu Kyi, the world's only imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize recipient. Produced in association with MTV UK
The Online BCA Bookstore is virtual, open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It's a great online store to purchase books on Jodo Shinshu and other Buddhist merchandise. The prices are in US but there is little difference now between our loonie and the American dollar. So another good reason to shop.
They will be adding extra features as new items are introduced, so they request you come back regularly.
You can online order from their web site or contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone (510) 809-1435, Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. PT.
By the way, in the bottom left corner of the web site there is an odd reminder for a Buddhist store.....
Are You Ready?
Just 203 days 'til Christmas!
They took all the trees
Put 'em in a tree museum
And they charged the people
A dollar and a half just to see 'em
For us, it will mean a new address. Our front street will become Tecumseh Street, instead of Winnipeg Avenue. To accommodate a drop-off point and special events parking, there will be a small road built to the east of the temple garage, running south to what was Winnipeg Avenue. Eventually, there will also be a signal light placed at the corner of Tecumseh and Notre Dame. The project is scheduled for completion in September 2008.
Don't it always seem to go
That you dont know what youve got
Till its gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot
And while there will be more traffic and we may lose some sunshine, it will clean up the area a bit. Beyond all that, I'm sorry, I just can't get that song out of my head every-time I walk by the construction site. With respect to Joni Mitchell.
Instead of a sod turning, Health Sciences Centre will be hosting a "Mother Earth event" for the parkade. It will take place Friday, June 8th at 9:00 am. The public is invited.
Monks are bald, so they couldn’t rip their hair out. But were they angry? Did they curse?
READ THE ARTICLE AND WATCH THE VIDEO...
The writer goes to the Koganji Temple in Nagato, Japan. He speaks to Buddhist monk, Kensai Matsumura to explain the history of whaling and Buddhism in this fishing village.
This tells a story concerning Shinran Shonin (the founder of the sect). "He was in a fishing village in 1207. A fisherman and his wife approached him and told of their worries, saying 'we live on catching fish and eating them and selling them - would we go to hell after we die?' "And monk Shonin said, 'if you thank them and give proper service to them, praying for the resting in peace of those fish, then there will be no problem at all'. The husband and wife listened and cried with relief on hearing this."
"That this Conference of the World Fellowship of Buddhists, while recording its appreciation of the viscous act of His Majesty, the Maharaja of Nepal in making the full-moon day of Vesak a Public Holiday in Nepal, earnestly requests the Heads of Governments of all countries in which large or small number of Buddhists are to be found, to take steps to make the full-moon day in the month of May a Public Holiday in honour of the Buddha, who is universally acclaimed as one of the greatest benefactors of Humanity."
"Exhilarating...abounds in beautiful images..." VARIETY
"Unexpected and exhilarating... ” THE NATION
"One of the best films of the year..." NEW YORK TIMES
Our friends at the Cinematheque Theatre in Winnipeg invite you to see "Into Great Silence". Its the first film ever made chronicling life inside the Grande Chartreuse, one of the world's most ascetic monasteries. Monks dedicate themselves entirely to the service of God and to spiritual life, in complete silence. A filmmaker and his crew live in the monks' quarters for six months. They record their daily prayers, tasks, rituals and rare outdoor excursions. This transcendent, closely observed film seeks to embody a monastery, rather than simply depict one. it has no score, no voiceover and no archival footage. What remains is stunningly elemental, just time, space and light.
Into Great Silence (2006) (164 mins.) By Phillip Groning
June 4-7 at 7:00 PM, Cinematheque Theatre in Winnipeg, Manitoba
INCENSE drifts through this small school overlooking a white Buddhist temple in Nuuanu. Students and faculty bow their heads before and after class, and misbehaving children must do yoga and meditation as an alternative to suspension. Four years after opening, the Pacific Buddhist Academy, the only Shin Buddhist high school in the country, will graduate its first class Friday. Fourteen seniors will get their diplomas and chant in a ceremony at the Honpa Hongwanji Hawaii Betsuin temple, just steps away from a college preparatory school that taught them as much about math and science as it did about respect, gratitude and peace.
As the sensei said in temple, your practice should be whatever floats your boat, but I'm talking about the kind of yogi who spends 400$ on a new meditation cushion or yoga mat and another 1,500 dollars on their yoga clothes.
The sensei seemed real, honest, intelligent and content. It did not bother him that the folding chairs were only 1/5th full. I got the sense that he might actually have some inner peace.
We would also like to thank Calgary for creating at link on their web site to us. So right back at you, go to the Calgary Buddhist Temple web site for more information on Jodo Shinshu Buddhism in the Calgary area.
In the next phase of this web site, we hope to introduce more people to the Jodo Shinshu sect of Buddhism. This will be a place for the editors of this web site to share their thoughts, web sites, and recent news of the world.