You may remember the Buddhist statues destroyed by the fundamentalist Taliban army in 2001. Many around the world were horrified that these ancient monuments were attacked. And while that event was not long ago, the incident is part of a long history that has seen these two faiths clash for centuries.
In an effort to bring peace to these two communities, the Manitoba Buddhist Temple invited members of the Muslim community to an interfaith service on Sunday, November 27, 2011.
Hammad Ahmad represented the Winnipeg Ahmadiyya Muslim community. He spoke on how the Buddha was not any different from other prophets of God, that have appeared throughout the world. And that the fundamental beliefs of Buddhism are at one with the rest of the other world faiths.
It is hoped the service will initiate a healing movement between the two faiths of Islam and Buddhism and help to promote a mutual understanding and respect between the followers of the faiths.
LEARN MORE ABOUT AHMADIYYA MUSLIMS JAMA'AT...
Our weekend with Jeff Wilson was a resounding success! Whenever our temple has a special guest like Jeff Wilson I am always amazed at the work that goes behind the scenes.
The planning for Jeff’s visit began over one year ago. Finally, he had an open weekend in June of 2011. We had to worry about promotion and advertisement. Luckily, the late, Dr. Leslie Kawamura promised to have the Living Dharma Centre in Toronto help our temple with Jeff’s travel and accommodations. Our temple Board had to meet to iron out the details of the visit such as the fundraiser lunch, the cleaning of the temple and temple grounds, transportation, clean-up after the event and meals for our guest. Then there was the matter of how to plan the service for Sunday as well as the format for the Saturday evening lecture. Posters were designed and distributed and notices in the Winnipeg Free Press were arranged. Sections of our wonderful website were devoted to Jeff’s arrival. These were some of the activities required for Jeff’s visit. Many people, who prefer to remain unnamed, worked diligently behind the scenes to prepare for this important visit.
Then Saturday and Sunday arrived. We were privileged to hear two remarkable presentations. They were remarkable because our guest Jeff Wilson was a top-notch scholar who was able to relate the basics of our wonderful Nembutsu teaching in clear down-to-earth language. To be able to do well in both worlds - the academic and the world of the average temple member - is a genuine gift. It is nice to know that our tradition has academic respectability. It is touching to know that we who live outside the walls of a university can understand and live this important teaching of the Nembutsu.
On Sunday, June 12, Jeff talked about three hallmarks of Shinran’s teachings: Relax, Trust and Thank. I could never do justice to his talk. It was the kind of presentation that requires being-there, with Jeff himself present. So to paraphrase:
Relax, because our Nembutsu teaching gives us permission to be ourselves just as we are in the flow of our natural lives. Amida’s Vow to bring spiritual fulfillment to all beings is just for us. Flowing beneath the events of our daily lives is a warm nurturing presence—even in the most difficult of times.
Trust is not only found in the Vows of Amida but also in the Sangha, our community. Finding true words worthy of trust, a community of trust and people to trust is a deep need for all of us. When we cannot have them, life seems a joyless affair, scary even. We find these things in the Buddha, Dharma Sangha and in the Nembutsu.
Thank, gratitude is also found when we become aware of all the causes and conditions that support us.
It is really a great privilege to arrive at a place in our journey of life where we can relax, find something worthy of trust and give expression to our gratitude. Please read his book, "Buddhism of the Heart" for further explanations. I am sure everyone there would have their own story about Jeff’s visit. Please reflect on his words and feel free to share your experiences with each other.
I am always proud of our community. Our ability to work in a relaxed friendly manner with trust and gratitude is an amazing feature of our experience together. Remember how we close our chanting? “Together we all share the truth of this Dharma, which gives rise to Bodhi mind (bodaishin) and birth in true serene joy.” How true, how true.
In deepest gratitude.
READ AN ARTICLE ABOUT JEFF WILSON IN THE WINNIPEG FREE PRESS...
What about today? What about female clergy in the institution?
"My own experience has been very positive. Perhaps when you start from the understanding that the Primal Vow is meant for all people without discrimination, and that it works in your life regardless of distinctions that include such dichotomies as good and evil or priest and lay practitioner, then how could the question of gender possibly be a consideration? This should be empowering to anyone. As a consequence, when social stumbling blocks occur— and sometimes they do—it’s easier to realize that the institution is made up of human beings, and human beings are imperfect. That’s why an individual like Shinran or me or you cannot hope to realize the mind of nirvana through our self-power alone."
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Discover how Shin Buddhism may have become the religion “best adapted to life in North America.”
Learn how your life can be full of grace, despite blind ambitions and foolish passions, by just entrusting ourselves to the compassion that exists in our interdependent universe.
Saturday, June 11th, 7:00pm at the Manitoba Buddhist Temple, 39 Tecumseh Street.
Admission is free. Donations accepted.
Jeff Wilson is an Assistant Professor of Religious Studies and East Asian Studies at Renison University College at the University of Waterloo. He is also the founder of the “Buddhism in the West” program unit at the American Academy of Religion and author of numerous books and articles on the development of Buddhism in North America. His most recent books include: Mourning the Unborn Dead: A Buddhist Ritual Comes to America (Oxford University Press 2009) and Buddhism of the Heart: Reflections on Shin Buddhism and Inner Togetherness (Wisdom Publications 2009). His next book, with University of North Carolina Press, will examine Buddhism in the American South.
Yasuko Akiyama is a Japanese woman living in London. She was haunted and moved by the recent disasters in Japan, and decided to undertake a fundraiser for the people who were hurt and displaced by the tsunami, quake, and nuclear disaster.
She along with several others around the world, including Manitoba's Sensei Ulrich, translated Miyazawa Kenji's beautiful poem "Unbeaten By Rain" into English. She then produced a beautiful poster with a lovely typographic treatment of the poem. She's selling the poster as a fundraiser for £20, with all net proceeds go to Ashinaga, a 40-year-old Tokyo nonprofit that provides "education-focused financial and emotional support to children who have a parent/guardian with a serious disability, or who have lost one or both parents/guardians due to illness, accident, disaster, or suicide."
MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE POSTER...
Dr. Kawamura receiving the Order of the University of Calgary in June 2010
Danny Fisher has posted interviews with two men who knew Rev. Leslie Kawamura very well. The article was written for "Buddhadharma: The Practitioner’s Quarterly Online" and features John Harding, Associate Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Lethbridge, and a co-editor of "Wild Geese: Buddhism in Canada" and Charles Prebish, the recently-retired Charles Redd Chair in Religious Studies at Utah State University, and author of "Luminous Passage: The Practice and Study of Buddhism in America".
The highlight of my time in Calgary was our daily lunches. Usually, around noon, Leslie and I would meet in his office, often with other faculty members and students included, and just brainstorm about all things Buddhist. Nothing was ever pre-planned. We just spontaneously discussed whatever came up on any specific day. It didn’t matter whether it was Vinaya or Vimalakirti, monasticism or meditation, the discussions were lively and free-spirited. --CHARLES PREBISH
READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE AT BUDDHADHARMA...
Rev. Leslie Kawamura’s influence goes beyond his role with the Raymond temple and includes important innovations at the Honpa Buddhist Temple of Lethbridge from the end of the 1960s to the mid-1970s when he took an academic position. This history deserves more attention as does the more recent period in which Leslie served Jodo Shinshu in Canada as the Director of the Jodo Shinshu Buddhist Temples of Canada – Living Dharma Centre. --JOHN HARDING
Actor, Ken Watanabe has recited the poem as a tribute to the people of Japan. But thats not all. He has also created a web site that hopes to heal Japan and bring a smile back to the people. He calls it Kizuna311. Kizuna means “bonds” or “ties” and 311 is for March 11th, the date of the earthquake and tsunami.
To overcome this painful catastrophe, we must find a way to unite and find our Kizuna among people. We decided to create a video library showing the power and benefits from voluntary work efforts. We wish to deliver the message of hope to the victims and kindle a light in each one's heart.
We understand that each medium has its role. We would like to show a different point of view from what the mass media reports everyday. Our hope is that our message will show the uplifting efforts we Japanese are making to come together and help one another rebuild our lives after the earthquake and tsunami. We believe that this message inspires the power of Kizuna among the victims of these tragedies, and demonstrates our Kizuna to the world.
Dr. Leslie Kawamura — one of the titans of modern Buddhist Studies, Professor of Religious Studies and Holder of the Numata Chair in Buddhist Studies at the University of Calgary – has died. --DannyFisher.org
For more than two terrifying, seemingly endless minutes, the most powerful earthquake ever recorded in Japan shook apart homes and buildings.
Then came a devastating tsunami that slammed into northeastern Japan and killed hundreds of people. The violent wall of water swept away houses, cars and ships. Fires burned out of control. The magnitude of the devastation and flooding is extensive. Now, over 10,000 people are feared dead.
Nuclear explosions and the chance of meltdown burden the earthquake-stricken country.
In Canada, many members of the Manitoba Buddhist Temple still have friends and family that live in Japan. Our sect of Buddhism originated in Japan over 800 years ago. We continue to have a very close relationship with the country where Jodo Shinshu Buddhism began. To be able to help is a privilege. It is now time to show compassion and help the people of Japan.
Speaking at the Sunday service following the earthquake, the Minister of the Manitoba Buddhist Temple, Sensei Fredrich Ulrich told the congregation,
“The best part of ourselves is each other. It’s the compassion we show after a tragic event like this that shows just how close the we and the other really are.”
On Wednesday, March 16, 2011, the Manitoba Buddhist Temple welcomed multi-faith groups from around Winnipeg to learn more about Karen Armstrong's "Charter for Compassion."
In 2008, Karen Armstrong won a prize to make her dream of a charter for compassion a reality. The Charter was crafted by people of different faiths from all over the world. It wanted to change toe conversation so that compassion becomes a key word in private and public discourse, making it clear that any ideology that breeds hatred or contempt, be it religious or secular, has failed the test of our time.
The night featured a video from Buddhist Tenzin Robert Thurman, guest speakers and shared conversation from the different multi-faiths in attendance.
Guest speakers included Sensei Fredrich Ulrich of the Manitoba Buddhist Temple, Bllquis Khan, and Rev. Angie Desrochers-Emond
Thanks to Lynda Trono for her good work organizing this event.
Now, more than ever, the time is right for the world to focus on compassion.
LEARN MORE ABOUT THE CHARTER FOR COMPASSION...
LEARN MORE ABOUT THE MANITOBA INTERFAITH COUNCIL...
“When I won the TED prize in 2008, I asked TED to help me create, launch, and propagate a Charter for Compassion that would be composed by leading thinkers and activists in a range of major faiths. Hundreds of thousands people contributed their ideas to a draft charter online, and with the aid of a council representing six of the major world religions, together we crafted the charter.”
Scientists say that meditators may be benefiting from changes in their brains. The researchers report that those who meditated for about 30 minutes a day for eight weeks had measurable changes in gray-matter density in parts of the brain associated with memory, sense of self, empathy and stress.
READ THE FULL ARTICLE IN THE NEW YORK TIMES...
Full of authenticity and charm, “Abraxas” is a subtle exploration of a man’s journey to reconcile the spiritual and secular. Director Naoki Kato cinematically renders the film to complement its philosophy by uniting the everyday and the transcendent. Rich, rewarding, and profoundly moving, Abraxas affirms peace and happiness within and posits “once a punk rocker, always a punk rocker.” ----- IndieWire
Created by Alex Tew, this website features an image of a sunset, the ocean, the sound of crashing waves and a small clock.
Try relaxing for the next two minutes. If you nudge your mouse or press a key on your keyboard, the clock resets.
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Going nowhere, being nobody, doing nothing... try it here.