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Buddhadharma : Spring 2008
spring 2008| 88 |buddhadharma mahasangha news Buddhist Federation held a joint ceremony in October to open the restored shingyE-sA tEmplE, one of the four largest temples in Korea’s Kungyang, or “Dia- mond,” Mountains, which stretch along the east coast of the Korean peninsula. This first joint effort between the North and South Korean regimes took almost four years to complete. The Shingye-sa Temple, located in modern North Korea, was built in 519 BCE and has been renovated several times over the centuries. It was destroyed during the Korean War. ■ Inspired to examine the Bud- dhist teaching that desire leads to suffering, artist gAil mArtin spent a year painting the accumu- lated “stuff” in her home. The result was an exhibit of 365 small paintings (example below) at the Broomfield Art Gallery in Boston entitled “Precious: A Year of Looking at My Stuff.” Martin didn’t just paint the most interest- ing or prettiest things, but rather a “fair representation” of each room—whether it was a tube of toothpaste, her husband, the cat litter box, a sculpture, or the remote control. The student of Theravada Buddhism says, “When I finished the project there was definitely a bit of disenchantment with possessions and a bit of an abatement of the urge to acquire more things.” ■ A groundbreak- ing ceremony at KTC in November marked the beginning of construc- tion of the mAitrEyA cUltUrAl cEntEr (site pictured below, with the Enlightenment Stupa for World Peace in the background). The 35,000-square-foot monas- tery will be a place of study and practice for both lay practitioners and monastics. The center’s sec- ond floor will include living quar- ters for abbot Lama Norlha Rinpoche and a self-contained apartment that will serve as pri- vate accommodations for visiting teachers. KTC is soliciting contri- butions to the MCC capital cam- paign. ■ In October, nAropA UnivErsity received a three- year grant from The Frederick P. Lenz Foundation for American Buddhism to support visiting fel- lows and a distinguished speaker series. The grant will help develop a program of study in American Buddhism at Naropa and will pro- vide for three residential fellow- ships in each academic year from September 2008 through 2010– 2011. Scholars, artists, social acti- vists, and practitioners can apply for a one-semester stay at the uni- versity, where they’ll work on a project involving Buddhist thought and practice. They’ll be expected to implement their projects after returning to their home institu- tions or communities. Application information is available at naropa. edu/cace. ■ The life story of Lama Norlha Rinpoche is being docu- mented by filmmaker Christopher Allen, who recently accompanied Lama Norlha to China, Tibet, Nepal, and India to film various sites significant to the lama’s life. KTC screened a preliminary cut of the film in November. ■ The AmidA trUst will host its next conference in a series of five semi- nars on “Living Buddhism” from May 1 to 4 in Narborough, Eng- land. The Amida Trust is a Pure Land sangha with links to a “wide and creative network of spiritually inclined ordinary people from many orientations.” The confer- ence will discuss the ways in which Buddhism is changing and adapt- ing as it enters the Western world. ■ The 25th annual kAgyU monlAm was held from Decem- ber 17 to 24 in Bodhgaya, India, presided over by the 17th Kar- mapa, with senior lamas and tulkus in attendance. This year’s BUddhA on thE BEAt By Scott Armstrong new york police officer Jeff Thompson sat among twenty-two new york Buddhist community leaders at a private breakfast with Mayor Michael Bloomberg at Gracie Mansion on october 12. He was joined by representatives from the various Buddhist traditions prac- ticing in new york, including Tibet House executive director Ganden Thurman; Reverend T.K. nakagaki, the head resident minister of the new york Buddhist church; and Bhante Piyatissa, the abbot of the new york Buddhist Vihara. The Dalai Lama, in town for a gig at Radio city Music Hall, was also a surprise guest. Jeff Thompson, a liaison officer with nyPD’s community Affairs Bureau, had organized the breakfast meeting and was there to soak it all in. A student of Thich nhat Hanh and member of the community of Mindful Living, Thompson relishes a role that allows him to reach out to new york’s Buddhist community on behalf of the police and the city. “I can’t picture a better job than what I’m doing,” he says. Thompson sees both Buddhism and police work as a means to spread happiness and compassion. “I wanted to be a cop because I’m able to help people when they need help the most,” he explains. Thompson organized the “getting to know you” session with the mayor in order to open a connection between the Buddhist commu- nity and city Hall. And although the breakfast was planned months in advance, Thompson says the Dalai Lama’s presence that day in new york was a happy coincidence. He didn’t know the Tibetan leader would attend until staff from the mayor’s office pulled him aside that morn- ing to ask him if he would give up his seat at the breakfast table for a “special guest.” Thompson was glad to oblige. Thompson welcomes e-mails. contact him at email@example.com. KRISTEnARTz,nEWyoRKMAyoR’SoFFIcEKAGyuTHuBTEncHoLInG NYPD’s Jeff Thompson (left) with Mayor Michael Bloomberg.