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Buddhadharma : Summer 2009
7 summer 2 00 9 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly It’s been almost seven years since we published the first issue of Buddhadharma with its beautiful image of Kwan Yin on the cover. I still recall vividly a meeting that Melvin McLeod, the editor-in-chief, and I had with Robert Thurman several months prior to the magazine’s launch. We explained to Thurman that this would be a journal for practitioners, and frankly I expected he would be very pleased to hear this. But his immediate response, which he also expressed in the inaugural editorial, was: “I have become somewhat averse to the idea of merely ‘practicing’ Buddhism and would prefer to dedicate our efforts to those who have had a lot of practice and are now striving to ‘perform’ the buddhadharma. Or, if they are not ready to perform, they practice with the intensity of one who is determined to perform as soon as possible.” For me, Thurman’s words were a wake-up call. I realized it was no longer enough to be a keen student of Buddhism. I needed to set my sights higher—much higher. As Thurman put it, “There is no true practice of Buddhism if there is no intensity of aspiration to attain the full goal, the whole deal, the unexcelled perfect enlightenment of buddhahood itself.” Over the years, Buddhadharma: The Practitioner’s Quar- terly has aspired to bring readers teachings that inform, sup- port, and inspire their practice, wherever they find themselves on the path. While we didn’t change our name to “the per- former’s quarterly,” this vision is very much a part of our magazine. The teachings we present offer genuine Buddhist wisdom—wisdom that emphasizes the goal of buddhahood or enlightenment, and illuminates the way. Though our mission has remained constant, you may have noticed a few tweaks to the magazine from time to time (re- member when we used to have black and white pages?). In this issue, you’ll see several new departments, as well as some significant (and exciting) changes to MahaSangha News. MahaSangha News has always celebrated and underscored the importance of the sangha jewel. It’s a popular section that has grown from three pages in our first issue to seven pages. Now we’re expanding MahaSangha News by taking it on- line with our new website, MahaSanghaNews.com. Not only will we be able to bring you even more Buddhist community news—and more timely delivery of that news—but you’ll be able to log in and share important news about your own sangha with the rest of the world. In addition, you can log on to our new Online Calendar and post information about an upcoming program or event. We’ll continue to publish Bud- dhist news in the magazine, but the section will be shorter and focus largely on the major news of the day as well as Buddhist cultural events. And before you flip to the back looking for it, I should tell you we’ve moved it to the front section of the magazine and it’s now called News & Culture. We’re also introducing several new departments in this issue. In Inside Art, Denise Leidy, an Asian art curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, presents a detailed look at a piece of Buddhist art, explaining not only its artis- tic features but also its history and significance for Buddhist practitioners. Leidy is the author of The Art of Buddhism: An Introduction to Its History and Meaning, and she brings a wealth of expertise to this subject. On Translation highlights a different Buddhist translator in each issue, as well as a piece of translation they’re work- ing on. Here you’ll find wonderful, newly translated excerpts from ancient Buddhist texts and also hear what the translators have to say about the choices they make when translating the dharma. Glenn Wallis, translator and author of Basic Teach- ings of the Buddha, kicks off this section with an excerpt from his translation of The Path of Discrimination from the Pali canon. Finally, in Lives Lived we invite you to write about some- one important to you who recently passed away. These in- timate essays recall the lives of sangha members, teachers, students, and family and friends who had a strong connection to the dharma. In this issue, Lynne Conrad Marvet and Robert Fors write about the death of their fellow sangha member, Richard Manz. In their own way, I think each of these additions serves to bring us closer together as a Buddhist community, a Maha- Sangha. I’m grateful for Buddhadharma’s wonderful commu- nity of readers and contributing writers, teachers, and artists, and I hope this magazine—your magazine—will continue to be a support for you as you practice—and perform—the buddhadharma. lIZAMATTHEwS Commentary By tynette deveaux Heads Up! We’re Making Changes