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Friday, May 20, 2016

On Vesak: Venerable Patacara

Author Anonymous

Vesak Day honors the birth, Enlightenment, and death of the Buddha.

It is very useful to regularly reflect on how the things we do affect our minds. When you have done something well, how do you feel about it? There is a feeling of satisfaction and happiness. In turn, this feeling of happiness supports your daily practice, as well as a cause for a successful meditation practice. When we know what habits support the generation of good states of mind we are inclined to develop those habits.

Again and again, looking at the mind, we can see that the actions, tendencies, and habits are very important. The actions and habits we cultivate in the mind are all important factors contributing to the success of our meditation.

Illustration from thebitterstickgirl.sg
Today being the day we commemorate the birth of the Buddha (Vesak), I want to recount a story that will remind us of the qualities that the Buddha possessed. 

This is the story of Patacara, a very important female disciple of the Buddha. In fact, she became the chief disciple of the Buddha with the role of taking care of the training of the monastic rules (vinaya) for female disciples, i.e. the bhikkhuni sangha. According to the story, once she realised all that had to be realised, she became the vinaya expert. Over time Patacara had a huge following of female disciples and students, all of whom also bore the name of Patacara.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Nuns at Yarchen Gar Monastery in Sichuan Province Defy Poverty in Pursuit of Learning

Craig Lewis

 Yarchen Gar Monastery in Gandze Prefecture, Sichuan Province. From smh.com.au

Situated high on the Tibetan Plateau, Yarchen Gar Monastery nestles at an elevation of more than 13,000 feet in a remote valley of the Hengduan mountain range in China‘s southwestern Sichuan Province. With a monastic population numbering about 10,000—most of them nuns—Yarchen Gar is widely considered to be the world’s largest monastery.

Monday, April 18, 2016

15th Sakyadhita International Conference: Call for Papers


The 2017 Sakyadhita International Conference theme, “Contemporary Buddhist Women: Contemplation, Cultural Exchange & Social Action,” highlights the diversity of contemporary Buddhist women throughout the world.

Buddhism is a significant cultural force in our world, influencing virtually every sphere of human activity from business to popular music. This global spread of Buddhist ethics, iconography, meditation, and philosophy is having an impact on science, psychology, government, and the arts. Today, women have more pathways to self-enrichment than at any time in recorded history. Whether the choice is career, family, or monastery, women are expanding beyond traditional roles in creative and beneficial ways. Women also take different paths and approaches to spirituality. Depending on their cultural backgrounds and personal interests, they may be inclined to meditation, scholarship, social activism, or the arts. The 2017 conference theme is broad enough to encompass the many aspects of what Buddhism means to women and to embrace the range of Buddhist women's experiences.

Monday, April 4, 2016

The Sweetest Daughters of the Buddha

by Dita Sudarmawan 

Indonesian Volunteers with Ven. Karma Lekshe Tsomo at the 14th Sakyadhita International
Conference held inYogakarta, Indonesia during the summer of 2015.

Imagine that you are a young woman with a very limited view of yourself and your future. And then one day, you learn that an organization is having their international gathering in your hometown. They put a call out for volunteers, and you find yourself saying “yes” to their request for assistance. And that “yes” leads to a chance encounter that alters your view of the world and what you choose to do with your life.

Hardita “Dita” Libriasanti Sudarmawan was 23 years old when she agreed to volunteer at the 14th Sakyadhita International Conference held just outside of her hometown, Yogyakarta, Indonesia, in June 2015 where she lives with her mother and brother. As the conference planning evolved, she found herself leading a culturally diverse group of dedicated volunteers in an uncharted adventure. Together, they created fond memories for all!

This is her story.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Curiosity and Doubt: The Spiritual Career of Judith Simmer-Brown

By Caitlin Dwyer
 
Teaching on the Dakini in Tibetan Buddhism at Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat.
Watch teaching on YouTube.

Small-town Nebraska is about as far from India as a person can get, but for Buddhist scholar and acharya Judith Simmer-Brown, who grew up there, that faraway place always had a particular draw. Located in the Midwest of the United States, Nebraska has wide swaths of flat farmland sliced by paths for pickup trucks, wind plucking through the fields of corn.

“As a child, I had tremendous religious and spiritual curiosity,” recalls Simmer-Brown, the daughter of a Methodist minister. “I asked a lot of people, I read biographies . . . I started a methodical prayer practice. I feel like I had some kind of past-life affinity for meditation.”

That curiosity has carried Simmer-Brown through a lifetime of religious study—leading her to India, where she was first exposed to meditation, to an early devotion to Zen, to a doctorate in Buddhism, and eventually, to a position as an acharya, or senior Dharma teacher, in the Shambhala lineage of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche and to a teaching role at Naropa University in Colorado. Curious and questioning, her spiritual intellect has driven her to embody a unique position bridging the divide between the practice of Dharma and the analytical study of religion.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Announcement: 2016 Numata Center for Buddhist Studies E-Learning Course

Photo: Anandajoti Bhikkhu

The University of Nuremburg's Numata Center for Buddhist Studies in cooperation with Dharma Drum Institute of Liberal Arts offers an e-learning course on the topic of Asian Buddhist Women. The course consists of a series of lectures by a group of international scholars who will present their research on the situation of women during various periods in the history of Asian Buddhism, based on textual studies and archaeological evidence. Participation is free of charge but requires online registration. The registration period will be from the 15th of February until the end of March.