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Buddhadharma : Winter 2007
winter 2007| 86 |buddhadharma mahasangha news have been married since 1957 and began practicing with Shunryu Suzuki Roshi in 1960. In 1973, after Suzuki Roshi’s death, they established Sonoma Mountain Zen Center, north of San Francisco. Kwong Roshi says he “couldn’t have maintained the practice here on the mountain without her.” ■ For a little bit of idle fun, browse the online “Alan Watts Theater,” where South Park animators Trey Parker and Matt Stone have brought to life the writer and philosopher AlAn WAtts. Under the Furry- Carlos Productions banner, the two have keyframed several short Watts’ recordings. See www.fresh- minds.com/animation/alan_ watts_theater.html. ■ In a September interview with Reu- ters, Buddhist actor riChArD gere (below) called for a general boycott of the 2008 Beijing Olym- pics as an opportunity to encour- age China to end human rights abuses in Tibet. “It’s probably impractical, but emotionally [a boycott] abso- lutely makes sense,” Gere says. “Why should the world reward people who are obviously so bad to their own people, so bad to other people?” As the chair of the International Campaign for Tibet, Gere himself has long been barred from visiting China. ■ inquiring minD, the biannual vipassana journal founded by Bar- bara Gates and Wes Nisker, cele- brated its 25th anniversary in July with a daylong benefit party at Spirit Rock Meditation Center. Inquiring Mind is distributed free of charge, with the bulk of pub- lishing costs funded by reader donations. The journal now boasts a worldwide circulation of more than 30,000 readers. Gates and Nisker remain at the helm as editors-in-chief. ■ The north- West DhArmA AssoCiAtion (NWDA), a voluntary association of Buddhist temples, organizations, and informal groups in the greater Pacific Northwest, launched an students opportunities to practice regularly with the Plum Village monastic sangha. Similar retreats are regularly held at Deer Park Monastery on the West Coast. ■ The Amaravati Buddhist Monas- tery community marked the 30th anniversary of the arrival of the American monk (and current abbot of Amaravati) AjAhn sumeDho in Hampstead, Eng- land. Ajahn Sumedho, who has been instrumental in establishing the Forest Sangha tradition in the U.K., traveled to Britain in 1977 with Ajahn Chah and three other monks. Ajahn Sumedho stayed on. ■ Hiroshi Sugimoto, one of Japan’s leading contemporary art- ists, showed a series of photo- graphs called seA of BuDDhA at the De Young Museum in San Francisco from July to September. The exhibit of 48 joined photo panels (above, right) captures an installation of 1,001 bodhisattva warriors in a 12th-century Kyoto temple. Each panel contains a separate and contiguous bodhisat- tva image. The 50-year-old pho- tographer, who divides his time between Tokyo and New York, spent seven years convincing the temple administrators to let him photograph the statues in the morning sunlight. (Although the statues were intended to be viewed in the early morning, this busy sightseeing spot is now only open after 9:00 a.m.) Sugimoto had to pay the temple $100 per sculpture for the right to photograph them. “The practice of Buddhism in Japan is despiritualizing,” laments Sugimoto. “Even when I explained how wonderful this particular moment in the morning is, that this is a kind of a religious ecstasy, they just did not understand it.” ■ jAkusho kWong roshi, founder and abbot of Sonoma Mountain Zen Center, named his wife, Laura Shinko Kwong, a dharma holder on June 30, the first such appointment he has made at Sonoma Mountain Zen Center. The two (pictured below) regulAting reinCArnAtion By Barry Boyce in august, the state religious affairs bureau of the people’s republic of china issued regulations, effec- tive september 1, that require any future recognition of an incarnation of a “living buddha” (known as a tulku in tibetan) to receive government approval. the regulations, which the prc said were intended to “institutionalize the management of reincarna- tion,” also stipulate that the process of tulku selection “cannot be influenced by any group or individual from outside the country.” the clause is considered a direct reference to the dalai lama, who, according to long-standing tradition, sets the terms for the recognition of his successor and is involved in the recogni- tion of other important tulkus, including most recently the 17th gyalwa Karmapa, the spiritual head of the Karma Kagyu lineage, who escaped from tibet and is living in india under the dalai lama’s stewardship. in early september, the tibetan government-in-exile in dharamsala, india, denounced the regulations as “ludicrous and unwarranted,” “replete with contradictory statements and wild claims,” and a “tool for the chinese government to brutally repress the innocent tibetans under their tyrannical rule.” tsering phuntsok, the government-in-exile’s minister of religion and culture, added, “recognition of tulkus is something that can neither be appointed from above, nor be elected by the general populace, nor be bestowed on someone as a title or position.” china has long held that it has the right to appoint important tulkus. the prc caused a scandal in 1995 when, following the disappearance of the dalai lama’s selection for panchen lama (the second most prominent tulku), it announced its own selection for panchen lama, who has since been kept in a secret location. “this order changes what was a de facto situation of china intervening in incarnations selectively to a de jure situation where they are openly proclaiming their right to manage the process altogether, which could involve a large number of tulkus if they so chose,” says John ackerly, president of the international campaign for tibet. ackerly speculates that the order’s purpose is “to control the highest reincarnations, including the dalai lama. i’m not convinced that they will do so, but i think they are laying the groundwork for exercising that option. it’s a brash and bold public statement, more than likely meant to send a message to all tibetans that china is in control.” “seaofbuddha,”1995gelatinsilverprint.privatecollection.courtesyoftheartist,hiroshisugimotobopKyonglisagaliciacourtesyrubinmuseumofartJeffbarab