Dalai Lama ‘to retire’ from government-in-exile role

From AFP

The Dalai Lama intends to retire as head of the Tibetan government in exile next year as he looks to reduce his ceremonial role and scale back his workload, his spokesman told AFP Tuesday.
The Tibetan movement in exile, based in the northern Indian hill station of Dharamshala since 1960, directly elected a political leader in 2001 for the first time.

“Since then, His Holiness has always said he has been in a semi-retired state,” spokesman Tenzin Taklha said.

“In recent months, His Holiness has been considering approaching the Tibetan parliament in exile to discuss his eventual retirement.”

Taklha stressed that his “retirement” would be from his ceremonial responsibilities as head of the government, such as signing resolutions, not his role as spiritual leader and figurehead for Tibetans.

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Book Review: The Buddhist Path

The Buddhist Path: A Practical Guide from the Nyingma Tradition of Tibetan Buddhism
Written By Khenchen Palden Sherab, Khenpo Tsewang Dongyal Rinpoche
Published by Snow Lion Publications

As the title presumes, The Buddhist Path: A Practical Guide from the Nyingma Tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, is an extremely clear depiction of this lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. The book, although a guide, does not read like a guide or instruction manual. The authors write in such a way it seems as though the reader is sitting in on a talk by these masters and receiving the teaching, rather than reading it.

The chapters are broken down into a variety of topics, such as meditation posture and breathing, taking refuge, advice on visualization and cultivating bodhichitta. The instructions on an array of meditation techniques are clear, and can be very helpful to those who are new to Tibetan Buddhism and even those that have experience. I found the following snippet to be valuable and quiet palpable…

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The Eightfold Path Pt. 3: Right Speech

Right Speech would seem like the easiest part of the Eightfold Path, but for me, it’s probably the hardest. The words that come out of my mouth are so attached to habitual profanity, often I have to reflect on the words I’ve said, because they come out quicker than I can be mindful enough to stop them.

So, what is Right Speech? Here’s a quick list I’ve “borrowed” from The Big View

Buddha explained right speech as follows:
1. to abstain from false speech, especially not to tell deliberate lies and not to speak deceitfully
2. to abstain from slanderous speech and not to use words maliciously against others
3. to abstain from harsh words that offend or hurt others
4. to abstain from idle chatter that lacks purpose or depth

Seems simple enough right? Yeah, you try it!

Let’s get into them a little deeper.

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Feds sue Walnut over denial of Buddhist worship center

I though this article was interesting, considering all the news there is about the Mosque in NY and in TN. Yes, this goes back to 2008, but I have a feeling this is just more, misunderstood ignorance that is becoming all to typical today in the US. So much for interfaith dialog eh?

From SGV Tribune

The federal government sued Walnut on Monday alleging the city violated the civil rights of a neighborhood Buddhist group by denying the group’s request to build a worship and meditation center.

The complaint by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division claims Walnut discriminated against the Chung Tai Buddhist group in January 2008 by denying the group’s permit to build a 16,000-square-foot worship center on a 2.2-acre lot on Marcon Drive just east of Suzanne Middle School.

Federal law dictates that religious groups must be treated the same as any other building applicant, according to the lawsuit.

“Defendant’s treatment and denial of the Zen Center’s Conditional Use Permit constitutes the imposition or implementation of a land use regulation that treated, and continues to treat, the Zen Center on less than equal terms with a nonreligious assembly or institution, in violation of the (Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act),” wrote federal attorneys in their complaint.

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Patheos Announces “Buddha” Book Club Discussion

I was asked to participate in a brand new book discussion, based on Deepak Chopra’s “Buddha” over at Patheos.com. The book may not be “new”, but the online group is and the idea behind it is fantastic. Many thanks to Dan for dropping a line to make me, and now you, aware of this book discussion group.

I read “Buddha” a couple of years ago, but am re-reading it now on my pc, using the Kindle software for netbooks. For those that have not read the book, until September 21st you can download the e-book free in various formats @ http://bit.ly/cl6JLY (you’ll see the option to get the e-book under the pic of the cover, either from B&N or from Border’s). The e-book also has some additions that were not in the original text of the book, so I’d recommend downloading it before they pull it.

Although Chopra’s version is more of an embellished story of the Buddha’s life, obviously for more of a novel like read, the core of the Buddha’s real life, as we know it, is in there. It is a nice, quick read, which is helpful so we are enabled to participate in this book discussion.

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Monk-y Business: Michael Roach losing it??

From The NY Post

Last November, Mia*, a comely thirtysomething yoga instructor at a studio downtown, got a strange phone call. Geshe Michael Roach, an ordained Buddhist monk and guru to many in the Union Square spirituality scene, was in town. He wanted to hang out that night with her and some of her other yogi friends, but he didn’t want to talk chakras or do vinyasas. He wanted to hit the clubs.

Later that evening, Mia met up with the 57-year-old monk at Cielo, a hip club in the Meatpacking District known for its house beats and tough velvet rope. He wasn’t wearing his usual flowing monastic robes. “It was the strangest thing,” recalls Mia. “He was in this Armani suit and with a model, and he was now saying that everyone should dress up”—strange indeed, given that thousands of years of tradition dictate that Buddhist monks live spartan, celibate lives.

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I’m More Spiritual Than You! :P

How silly does that headline sound? Really damn silly right? So how come some folks live a life believing their spiritual lives are better than others?

I, for one, know that my spiritual life is far from better, or even as good, as others. But I keep on keeping on, doing the best I can to keep this practice moving in the right direction, one that will benefit all beings.

Like the saying goes “opinions are like…” well you know the rest. And like opinions, and a-holes, we all have some sort of spiritual practice. Whether we are Buddhist (and that’s can be anything from Zen, Varjayana, Mahayana, Pure Land, etc, etc), Christian, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, Flying Spaghetti Monster, Atheist and on and on.

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String of Precious Jewels

by Nagarjuna

I’ll tell you briefly the fine qualities
Of those on the path of compassion:
Giving, and ethics, patience, and effort,
Concentration, wisdom, compassion and such.
Giving is giving away what you have,
And ethics is doing good to others.
Patience is giving up feelings of anger,
And effort is joy that increases all good.

Concentration’s one-pointed, free of bad thoughts,
And wisdom decides what truth really is.
Compassion’s a kind of high intelligence
Mixed deep with a love for all living kind.

Giving brings wealth, a good world comes from ethics;
Patience brings beauty, eminence comes from effort.
Concentration brings peace, and from wisdom comes freedom;
Compassion achieves everything we all wish for.

A person who takes all seven of these
And perfects them together will reach
That place of inconceivable knowledge
No less than the world’s protector.