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Buddhadharma : Spring 2009
mahasangha news 87 spring 2 00 9 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly the Tang Dynasty. Nearly 100 people turned out to celebrate the New York Buddhist Church’s 70th anniversary in September, despite heavy winds and rain. The Japanese Ambas- sador and Consul General Motoatsu Sakurai and his wife also attended the evening’s gala dinner and musical entertain- ment. The rangjung Yeshe Institute hosted its sixth annual Symposium on Buddhist Studies in December at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Boudhanath, Kathmandu, Nepal. This year’s gathering focused on issues related to language and the transmission of Buddhism in translation. Speakers included John Dunne and Sara McClin- tock from Emory University, Tom Tillemans from Lausanne University, and Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche from Ka-Nying Shedrup Ling Monastery. Twenty years ago, Brook- lynite Alyce Zeoli was recog- nized as the reincarnation of Akhon Lhamo, a cave-dwelling meditator from eastern Tibet, and enthroned by Penor Rinpoche. Jetsunma Akhon Lhamo was the first Western woman to receive such a title and responsibility and, at the time, her appointment caused a stir in the Buddhist community. Her spiritual community, Kunzang Palyul Choling (KPC), with centers in Arizona and Maryland, marked its 20th anniversary in September with five days of celebrations, including a guru yoga recitation, candlelight procession, and traditional lhasang offering. “Jetsunma’s main gift to us these past twenty years,” said community spokesperson Elizabeth Cohn, “has been to make the Buddha’s teachings fully understandable to the Western mind, without losing any of the depth or nuance of their meaning.” Tsultrim Allione has organized a three-week pilgrimage to Mongolia that will begin on May 20. The trip aims to explore the lineage of chod (the practice, literally, of “cutting through ego”) and the rituals of the 11th-century female tantric yogini Machig Labdron. Princeton University anthropologist Carroll Dunham will guide the group, which will be accompanied for periods by Mongolian khandoma (dakini) practitioners. Buddhist scholar and author robert Thurman will lead a trip to Bhutan—the last remaining Tibetan Buddhist kingdom—in March with Brent Olsen, former director of Bhutan Programs at Geographic Expeditions. Organized by Bill Red-Pine Porter, Roshi Wendy Egyoku Nakao, Shi Yanci (abbot of Bodhidharma’s Empty Form Temple), and Andy Ferguson stand in the front row of a group from the Zen Center of Los Angeles on a pilgrimage to China last November. Last summer, San Francisco zen Center’s Zenkei Blanche Hartman received a 21-panel okesa (ceremonial robe) that 125 people from all over the world help to sew. The funzo-e, a traditional robe made of “found cloth,” is only the second robe completed in America under the precise guidelines of Japanese sewing teachers. Blanche Hartman is a senior dharma teacher and the senior sewing teacher at SFzC. On the first weekend in December, participants from 11 countries joined Jundo Cohen, who leads the Treeleaf Zendo (a virtual zendo), for a two-day online rohatsu sesshin. Participants prepared a retreat space in their own homes with a zafu (meditation cushion), oryoki set (ritual eating bowls), sutra books, and computer, and when the sesshin began, logged in from their remote locations. Cohen, who was ordained by Gudo Wafu Nishijima Roshi, used a variety of video and conferencing technologies to interview and pre- pare students before the sesshin netcast began. Cohen describes the Treeleaf zendo as an online “practice place” for practitioners who can’t get to a zen center. His aim is to provide sitting opportunities, retreats, discussion, and interaction with a teacher, all online. ➤ JERRYERDMANNANDMARTINAHOLIDAYHOzANALANSENAUKELIBBYVIGEON