Monday, September 30, 2013

Uncovering the Lamp

by Harsha Menon

Book review of Wisdom Publication’s The Hidden Lamp: Stories from Twenty-Five Centuries of Awakened Women (scheduled to be released by Wisdom Publications November 12, 2013), compiled and edited by Zenshin Florence Caplow and Reigetsu Susan Moon.

The upcoming publication of The Hidden Lamp could be said to be a before-and-after moment of female representation in Buddhist literature. This unparalleled volume of one hundred koans featuring women, with additional reflections by present-day female Buddhist teachers is an incredibly well-researched, original, and heartful offering to not just Buddhists, but to spiritual seekers everywhere.

The Hidden Lamp’s diverse collection of contributors ranges from priests and teachers, not just from Zen lineages, but from across the full spectrum of Buddhism. The contributors are professors, authors, monastics, scholars, teachers, anthropologists, activists, attorneys, physicians, librarians, poets, artists, filmmakers, midwives, and therapists. By compiling 100 koans and other stories (the words koan and story are used interchangeably in The Hidden Lamp) of the Buddhist female experience, editors Caplow and Moon create a text that penetrates intentionally, the same way a koan has been traditionally employed in Zen Buddhist practice.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Leaping Off the Wheel

by Ven. Tenzin Chogkyi

In order to answer the question, “How does one know that one is ready to be a monastic?” I would like to share a bit of my own circuitous path towards ordination. I had been a serious practitioner of Tibetan Buddhism for about twelve years before deciding to ordain. For most of that time, I had the attitude, “Oh, I just don’t have the karma to be ordained in this life. In fact I think it’s even more beneficial to show people the aspect of being a serious lay practitioner, so that people like me who don’t have the karma for ordination will have an example to follow.” I actually fooled myself with this rationalization, which was only the flimsiest way of covering up the fact that I really didn’t have any renunciation and was still trying to find happiness in samsara!

Monday, September 16, 2013

A Himalayan Girl: Lhakpa Dolma Lama

Lhakpa Dolma Lama (right) with friends from SMD School in Kathmandu, Nepal

My name is Lhakpa Dolma Lama and I am a student from Nepal currently studying in Melbourne, Australia at Ivanhoe Grammar School under a full scholarship for year eleven and twelve. I want to be a health worker when I grow up. I am the only member in my family who has been to school. For that reason I do work hard on my studies and English is my fifth language after my mother tongue Nubri, Tibetan, Nepali, and Hindi.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Maranasati for the Modern World

by Kim Allen, with contributions from Shaila Catherine

Mindfulness of death, when developed and cultivated, is of great fruit and benefit, culminating in the deathless, having the deathless as its consummation. Anguttara Nikaya 8.73

Image originally appeared in
East County Magazine

Our Western society has become particularly adept at hiding death. It occurs behind closed doors or in "sanitized" locations like hospitals and nursing homes. We rarely see corpses, much less the process of dying itself. More seriously, death is often interpreted as a kind of failure or something gone wrong, completely ignoring its spiritual dimension.

In our time and place, Buddhist contemplation of death may be more relevant—and spiritually potent—than ever. The Buddha's teachings encourage people to contemplate, deeply investigate, and directly understand death for themselves, for it is a path to liberation.

When the Buddha embarked on his spiritual quest, one of the most powerful prompts was seeing a corpse and understanding that he too would die. He set out to discover that which does not age, sicken, or die: Nibbana, the Deathless Liberation.

Monday, September 2, 2013

From Dongyu Gatsal Ling Nunnery

The following article was originally featured in the May 2013 issue of the Dongyu Gatsal Ling Nunnery Newsletter. On April 18, 2013, the main temple at DGL underwent a consecration ceremony, which was officiated by Kyabje Khamtrul Rinpoche with Kyabje Dorzong Rinpoche, Kyabje Dugu Choegyal Rinpoche and other lamas and monks including five togdens from Khampagar Monastery and the monks of Jangchub Jong Monastery. The nuns of DGL displayed their confidence in ritual by enacting the roles of chant leader, sacristan, and musicians.

Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo with monastics after Guru Rinpoche Padmasambhava Puja on
day three of temple consecration

Temple Consecration & Celebration

The following is a compilation of accounts written by various nuns. Their words have remained unedited as to showcase their true voices during this momentous occasion.

How lucky we are! It has taken some years to build our temple and finally the opportunity came for consecration by His Eminence Khamtrul Rinpoche with H.E Dorzong Rinpoche, H.E Choegyal Rinpoche and some other tulkus. All nuns were very busy up to this day and everyone very excited. The temple has been very nicely painted from inside and outside. It had also been beautifully decorated. On the morning of April 18th we were ready to welcome H.E. the 9th Khamtrul Rinpoche, Shedrup Nyima, the Spiritual Director of our nunnery.