In Buddhism, people who are transformed become selfless and dedicated to serving others. This is what many people felt when they watched the broadcast of Obama giving his somber, determined victory speech in Chicago on election night.
It may seem incredible that a person with such a humble beginning as Obama could have made it this far. Yet, when looking through the lens of Buddhism, it should not come as a surprise. This is a mindful and humble candidate with a deep understanding of dhamma running a thoughtful and honourable campaign, encouraging people to be selfless and join forces to create good karma for the purpose of lifting others out of suffering.
But, it also brings into light, the subject of gay marriage from a Buddhist perspective. Jodo Shinshu Ministers have been performing same-sex marriages for thirty years. Rev. William Briones is the first Mexican-American Jodo Shinshu Minister in America. He is also the person who officiated the marriage of Takei and Altman. He writes in November's BCA newsletter that Amida's Primal Vow does not discriminate.
"Within our teachings of Jodo Shinshu Buddhism, there are no doctrinal grounds that exist the prohibits neutral-gender marriage. Within the compassionate light of the Amida Buddha, all beings are equally embraced."
Dear President-elect Obama,
Congratulations on your election as the President of the United States of America.
I am encouraged that the American people have chosen a President who reflects America's diversity and her fundamental ideal that any person can rise up to the highest office in the land. This is a proud moment for America and one that will be celebrated by many peoples around the world.
The American Presidential elections are always a great source of encouragement to people throughout the world who believe in democracy, freedom and equality of opportunities.
May I also commend the determination and moral courage that you have demonstrated throughout the long campaign, as well as the kind heart and steady hand that you often showed when challenged. I recall our own telephone conversation this spring and these same essential qualities came through in your concern for the situation in Tibet.
As the President of the United States, you will certainly have great and difficult tasks before you, but also many opportunities to create change in the lives of those millions who continue to struggle for basic human needs. You must also remember and work for these people, wherever they may be.
With my prayers and good wishes,
THE DALAI LAMA
The third annual Calgary Buddhist Film Series kicks off on Thursday, October 30. It features seven films followed by discussions led by Ministers of the Jodo Shinshu sect of Buddhism including Sensei Ulrich of the Manitoba Buddhist Temple. It's probably the best deal in town... FREE!
Also check out DharmaFlix. Its a new collaborative wiki web site listing films with Buddha dharma content. It also features a top 100 list based on participants' reviews. So what's your favorite Buddhist film or TV series?
VISIT THE CALGARY BUDDHIST TEMPLE WEB SITE...
SEE THE TOP 100 BUDDHIST FILMS AT DHARMAFLIX....
Canada's current Bishop, Socho Fujikawa writes, "He will be remembered as the Bishop who had helped the 1990 World Buddhist Women’s Convention in Vancouver."
After serving the BCC for seven years, Rev. Murakami served the Australian Jodo Shinshu community. He would eventually retire as the minister of the Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii, but continued to be the resident minister of the Pearl City Hongwanji Mission.
His funeral was held on June 6, 2008 at the Honpa Hongwanji Hawaii Betsuin. It was officiated by Bishop Thomas R. Okano and sponsored by both the Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii and the Pearl City Hongwanji Mission.
Rev. Murakami leaves behind his wife, Yoko, two daughters, Mari and Rumi and two grandchildren. If you would like to make a donation, the Murakami family has requested that it should be made directly to the Pacific Buddhist Academy.
"As a participant, I found the 10 week course informative and thought provoking. I felt the experience served to deepen my appreciation and understanding of Jodo Shinshu and ignited a desire to continue the studies. I am eagerly waiting to enroll in the fall courses." --Renae Barlow, Lethbridge, Alberta
Join us for a celebration of the birth of the Buddha! The event takes place at the St. Norbert Arts Centre on Sunday May 31 starting at 7:00pm. The program includes a Parade of Lanterns, spiritual dance and music and features a Dharma Talk by Sensei Ulrich.
So what's his secret?
Meditation. This is an excerpt from an article from the UK Times web site:
READ MORE IN THE TIMES...
Woods does not talk much about the fact that he meditates, something he learnt from Kultida, his mother, who is a Buddhist. “In the Buddhist religion you have to work for it yourself, internally, in order to achieve anything in life and set up the next life,” he said. “It is all about what you do, and you get out of life what you put into it. So you are going to have to work your butt off in every aspect of your life. That is one of the things that people see in what I do on the course.”
"Since China wants to join the world community," the 14th Dalai Lama said as I was traveling across Japan with him for a week last November, "the world community has a real responsibility to bring China into the mainstream." The whole world stands to gain, he pointed out, from a peaceful and unified China—not least the 6 million Tibetans in China and Chinese-occupied Tibet. "But," he added, "genuine harmony must come from the heart. It cannot come from the barrel of a gun."
READ MORE FROM TIME MAGAZINE...
Like the Buddha, Barack Obama learned in his early adult years as a community organizer that poverty is the root of much suffering in the world. He saw how poverty seeps into people's lives like a poison that drives people into a life of crime and overall suffering. He understands that to bring people out of poverty is to improve society as a whole. He is known as a uniter, he is quite gifted at being able to bring about compromises that work for all sides involved.
Hindus Thrive as Buddhists Struggle to Pass on the Faith
by Andrea Useem, Religion News Service
There is good news, 44 percent of Americans say they're no longer tied to the religious or secular upbringing of their childhood. They've changed religions or denominations, adopted a faith for the first time or abandoned any affiliation altogether which could lead to more people looking into Buddhism as a choice for religious beliefs.
For Buddhists, the data show "convert Buddhist communities face a significant challenge in engaging their children and keeping them in the tradition," said Thomas Tweed, a professor of religious studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Many Buddhist converts "didn't really attempt to bring their children into Buddhism," added Robert Seager, a religious studies professor at Hamilton College in Clinton, N.Y. "They said, `I don't want to lay my trip on my kids."
Filmmaker Doris Dörrie turns her attention to Buddhism and that age-old saying, you are what you eat. In How To Cook Your Life, Dörrie enlists the help of the charismatic Zen Master Edward Espe Brown to explain the guiding principles of Zen Buddhism as they apply to the preparation of food as well as life itself. “How a person goes about dealing with the ingredients for his meals” explains Dörrie “says a lot about him. How To Cook Your Life teaches us to be attentive in our everyday dealings with the most mundane things and also open our eyes to one of the most beautiful occupations: cooking.”
Now playing until February 27 at the Winnipeg Cinematheque Theatre
A gift from a Dharma Class Student
Visitation to the Dharma school class was done during the adult meditation session. During my visit, many good ideas of how the LDC could gain from and contribute to the Manitoba Buddhist Temple Dharma Classes were exchanged These ideas will be compiled and circulated among the temples so that exchange of ideas can take place.
During the “pot luck” lunch, an opportunity was provided to share the intent, structure, and wish of the LDC for each person’s participation in its work.
Lunch is served
Sensei Ulrich meets a visitor
A sample brochure of the LDC was distributed to those in attendance. This brochure is a “work in progress” in that it contains some information about the structure and working of the LDC, but hopefully it will prompt comments from the members of the BCC at large so that when the brochure reaches its more mature state, it will contain the information that responds to the members’ wishes.
The brochure is in such an infantile stage that some of the Winnipeg members had to practice “origami” (the art of paper folding) to get into shape for handing out.
Watch for more from my next visits:
February 23 - West Coast Temples
March 16 - Southern Alberta Temple
Calgary, Interior BC and East Coast temples are still pending.
Dr. Leslie Kawamura
February 17, 2008
READ MORE AT THE LIVING DHARMA CENTRE WEB SITE...
The Interfaith tour began on Thursday, January 17 at our own Manitoba Buddhist Temple. The turnout was overwhelming. Over 200 people filled the temple to observe how a Buddhist service is performed. The enthusiastic crowd showed a genuine interest by participating in the meditation and chanting exercises.
The series is organized by the Winnipeg Free Press "Faith Columnist", Brenda Suderman. She describes the tour as "prying open our comfort zones, experiencing each other at worship, prayer and other rituals, and learning just a bit more about ourselves and our neighbours in the process." She wrote in her column following the session:
Last Thursday night, more than 150 people packed the 60-year-old Buddhist Church near the Health Sciences Centre for an introduction to Buddhism, the first stop on a six-session interfaith course co-sponsored by the University of Winnipeg and the Manitoba Interfaith Council. That enthusiastic response astounded organizers, and proves to (Sensei) Ulrich that people are convinced of the need for interfaith dialogue and co-operation.
"You're here because there's a grassroots interest in this, it's a lay movement," the former Methodist minister turned Buddhist sensei told the audience during the three hours of chanting, singing, explanations, and questions. "In a pluralistic, multi-faith society, we end up with pluralistic, multi-faith individuals."
The Manitoba Buddhist Temple is offering an introductory course on Buddhism. The course will be held at the temple on four alternate Thursday evenings from 7:00-9:00pm.
Feb. 7 - Basic Introduction to Buddhism
Feb. 21 - Buddhist Psychology of Mind and Meditation
March 6 - Three Buddhist Meditations
March 20 - Meditation Practice and Sharing Circle
Donations gratefully accepted. This is an interfaith, non-evangelical presentation by Fredrich Ulrich, Sensei. Parking behind the temple accessed by the back lane to the north of the temple, in the community, and in the HSC parking lot on the SE corner of Notre Dame and Tecumseh, as provided by a gracious agreement with the HSC for evening special events only.
CBC Radio and CBCNews.ca are exploring the question "Where is God today?" Commentators, religious thinkers and ordinary Canadians give their thoughts. Among the particpants is our own Sensei Ulrich. He was interviewed about how he came to become a Jodo Shinshu Minister and was featured in a photo slideshow.
LISTEN TO THE CBC REPORT...
WATCH THE SLIDESHOW (Sensei Ulrich is the fourth person presented)...