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Buddhadharma : Spri 2007
buddhadharma| 87 |spring 2007 ConTenTs The inSigHt Meditation SoCiety in Barre appointed Bob Agoglia, a longtime IMS retreat- ant and former board member, as its new executive director. Agoglia’s mandate is to ensure the sustainability of IMS’s two facili- ties, the Retreat Center and the Forest Refuge. He has served as interim executive director since May 2006, succeeding Dianne Horgan, and began his job on a full-time basis in January. ■ Two Buddhist writers were nominated for a prestigious Canadian Gov- ernor General’s Literary Award. Bill gaSton was nominated in the fiction category for his latest, Gargoyles, and WilliaM gilk erSon (below) won for his chil- dren’s book Pirate’s Passage at the award ceremony on November 21. The panel of judges declared Gilkerson’s tale “a work of ge- nius, a benchmark in Canadian literature.” ■ tHiCH nHat HanH will travel to Vietnam again this spring. Up to 100 sangha members can accompany him on each of the four segments of his journey, from February 21 to May 9. The itinerary is broken into four three-week segments and traverses Ho Chi Minh City, highland monasteries, Hue City, and Hanoi. Much of the trip in- volves walking meditation. Thich Nhat Hanh says, “We just enjoy walking together, in brotherhood and sisterhood. Not thinking about anything, not saying any- thing. Enjoying our in-breath, enjoying our out-breath. That is the kingdom. Why do we deprive ourselves of that kind of wonder? And every moment like that is healing, is transforming, is nour- ishing. We have the capacity to do that individually, and collec- tively as a sangha.” Participants are asked to practice the five mindfulness trainings while on the trip, at Thich Nhat Hanh’s request, to “show the Vietnamese people that Western practitioners approach Buddhism through the three very practical doors of mindfulness, understanding, and compassion, and not through blind devotion and superstition.” ■ In November, an international symposium called Reviving Bud- dhist Cultural Links announced in Delhi a plan to re-establish nalanda univerSity. The project is a joint venture between the provincial government of India’s BuddHiStS in CongreSS By Andrea Miller T he midterm elections held on November 7 made Democrats mazie hirono and hank Johnson the first Buddhists in the United States to be elected to Congress. Representatives hirono (hawaii) and Johnson (Georgia) avoid talking about their religious practice, saying it’s a private matter and that they’d rather focus on Congressional business. A spokesperson for Johnson confirmed that he became a Buddhist 30 years ago and that he is affiliated with Soka Gakkai International. A spokesperson for hirono would only say that her mother was a Jodo Shinshu Buddhist and that hirono was raised in that tradition. hirono, her mother, and her brother emigrated from Japan in 1955, arriving in hawaii with only one suitcase. For many years the three lived in a single room. Despite these early hardships, hirono went on to have a brilliant political career. She served 14 years in the hawaii state legislature and eight years as lieutenant governor. In the November midterms, she defeated Republican Bob hogue. her top legislative concerns include reproductive freedom, health care for the elderly, and federal tax cuts for the working class and the needy. Johnson, like hirono, is pro-choice, and he wants to see increased funding for health care, especially for community health centers. he practiced law in Decatur, Georgia, for more than 25 years. In January, Speaker Nancy Pelosi appointed Johnson to the powerful Judiciary Committee. “We, as a nation, face some critical challenges with regard to law enforcement, the protection of rights, immigration, and pro- posed changes to our Constitution,” said Johnson. “I am honored to be named to the Judiciary Committee where my experience as a judge and attorney will prove most helpful.” Johnson and hirono were part of the landslide victory for the Democratic Party in the 2006 midterm elections. For the first time in the history of the U.S., no Democratic incumbent lost, nor did any Republican capture an open house, senate, or gubernatorial seat previ- ously held by a Democrat. 88 PhILIP GLass & LeonaRD Cohen • 89 ahf annIveRsaRy • 90 PRofILe: InQuIRInG MInD eDIToR, anDRea MCQuILLIn Representatives Mazie Hirono (Hawaii) and Hank Johnson (Georgia) LIBBYVIGEoN(LEFT)FRIENDSoFmAzIEhIRoNoANToNIAmACARThUR MahaSanghaNews sPRInG 2007