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Buddhadharma : Winter 2007
winter 2007| 90 |buddhadharma mahasangha news prepare to carry out the uto- pian vision of their founder fol- lowing his death. The Dysphoria characters are forced to reconsider their faith, their sexual mores, and their community in light of their new circumstance without a teacher. One New York critic called the play “both entertaining and intellectually invigorating.” ■ American artist lois Con- nor, a specialist in ultra-large- format photography, showed her panoramic photographs of China, Nepal, Tibet, and Japan at a Lon- don gallery in November. The “Twirling the Lotus” exhibit includes some 25 platinum-and- pigment ink prints (excerpt from the series, above) taken with 7”x17”, 8”x20”, and 12”x20” cameras, which Connor tends to transport around by bicycle. The exhibit includes a number of stud- ies of the lotus, taken during dif- ferent seasons and at different times of the day, as well as land- scapes, street scenes, portraits, temples, monasteries, and sculp- tures. ■ The Asia Society in New York was the venue for a multi- media “performance” of the tiBetAn Book of the DeAD in early September. Phillip Glass, Peter Goldfarb, Kenneth Green, and Douglas Penick are collabo- rators on the project, which is dubbed “a work in progress.” The performance uses spoken text, music, and digital imagery to illuminate the classic Tibetan Buddhist text on the bardo, or intermediary state between death and life. ■ thAnissAro Bhik- khu, abbot of Metta Forest Mon- astery near San Diego, has made a substantial revision to his two- volume Buddhist Monastic Code, a freely distributed 1,200-page work that provides a complete guide to the Vinaya Pitaka (the monks’ rules) and useful information from the Vinaya commentaries and sub- commentaries. “I’ve come to appreciate the fact that the more precisely you know the rules and the connections among them,” says Thanissaro Bhikkhu, “the easier it is to apply them to modern situations.” He has been studying the six-volume Pali version of the Vinaya Pitaka since his ordination in Thailand in 1976 and is a respected translator of many works from the Buddhist canon. ■ The khyentse founDA- tion, founded by Dzongsar Khy- entse Rinpoche, awarded three grants in 2007. The recipient groups include Thailand’s Inter- national Network of Engaged Buddhists and the Rimé Founda- tion’s translation program. The Khyentse Foundation has also offered partial support to indi- viduals involved in the Shamatha Project, a 70-day retreat for 64 meditators who will practice shamatha for eight to ten hours each day. Scientific studies will be conducted on the participants before, during, and after the retreat to measure any physiological and psychological changes that occur. Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche said that “even if there were not scien- tific study on the effects of shama- tha, encouraging 70 people to do two sets of three-month retreat will be of great benefit.” ■ Grace Schireson, Darlene Cohen (pic- tured below, left and right), Miriam Levering, and Angie Boissevain led the seConD AnnuAl Wom- en’s retreAt in August at the Empty Nest Zen Center in Cali- fornia. More than 30 people par- ticipated in zazen and workshops on koan writing and body wis- dom. The inflatable zafu-balanc- ing contest, performed in the pool, was a welcome activity for beating the summer California heat. ■ oBstACles remAin to Women’s orDinAtion By Andrea Miller the first international congress on buddhist Women’s role in the sangha, held in hamburg, germany, from July 18 to 20, focused on finding a way to offer fully legitimate ordination for buddhist nuns in the tibetan tradition. his holiness the dalai lama had requested that the congress be organized for this purpose and was one of its 65 speakers. in tibet, the bhikshuni lineage was interrupted centuries ago. because the vinaya, or monastic code, requires that female ordination be presided over by both male and female monastics, some tibetan monks argue that it is impossible to reestablish it without qualified nuns to perform the ceremony. as a result, if a nun in the tibetan tra- dition insists on being fully ordained, she must do so through another tradition, one that still has a bhikshuni lineage. but as congress speaker tenzin palm explains, “the nuns want to be ordained within their own tradition by their own lamas.” suggesting that tibetan nuns go to china or vietnam to be ordained, she says, “shows a lack of interest and empathy. Were the monks’ own lineage to be in jeopardy, they would quickly come up with a solution, even if it meant bending the vinaya rules.” many people had hoped that the dalai lama would issue a state- ment at the congress reestablishing a bhikshuni lineage in the tibetan tradition. thubten chodron, however, says she had not expected that would be the case. “his holiness has repeatedly said that granting full ordination to women is a decision to be made by the sangha”; therefore, he alone cannot make a statement when there is still so much opposition coming from tibetan monks. on July 21, the day after the congress, his holiness gathered participants for an impromptu follow-up meeting, during which he discussed further actions. one important step, he said, will be to hold a conference this winter in india that will give senior tibetan monks a forum for community-wide discussion on female ordination and will perhaps grant an opportunity to reach a consensus. holgergrossbaiKaandreaprattcourtesyrossi&rossicourtesyshambhala.org