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Buddhadharma : Fall 2005
fall 2005| 6 |buddhadharma letters THE VEn. TEnzin PALMO states in her interview [“Endless Lifetimes, Endless Benefit,” Summer 2005] that she believes “monastics accrue more merit than someone who decided to stay a layperson.” i remember vividly the Dalai Lama saying in 1996 during the Kalachakra that not everyone can become monks and nuns, as the world also needs good Buddhist practitioners in the lay world to be examples, help others, and learn how to be a true Buddhist in the real world. He also said that “although it might be harder to build merit being in the daily world and you have to work many days of your life in a normal job, the merit you can accrue can be phenomenal whilst you benefit others and you can achieve the same level of merit, and sometimes even more, than the monastics.” For me, that answer was very important as i was contemplating whether to become a nun or stay in “the world.” i decided the latter and am living a very good, enriching, and supportive life, for myself and hope- fully for everyone i come in contact with. i also sincerely believe that every day i do accrue more merit by my sincere actions and practice and by my serious wish to help all beings while being in the world. Brigitte von Bulow (Tenzin Lhamo) Sydney, Australia MARy AnnE LEWiS of the Dharma Access Project writes [“First Thoughts,” Summer 20 05] that her blind friend Shirley was denied access to teach- ings because there were people in the Buddhist study group who were allergic to animal dander, while oth- ers simply feared Shirley’s guide dog, Cricket. ignorance of the law is no excuse for disobeying one. The “study group” that asked Shirley to leave was in flagrant violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which accords guide dogs accompanying a blind individual virtually all the privi- leges of a person. People allergic to animal dander ought to carry a sup- ply of antihistamines since they never know when they might encounter someone’s hairy pet or a furry crea- ture. What was their excuse for their thoughtlessness? no one has the right to deny Shirley her right to go somewhere with Cricket. That study group is lucky that Shirley is a compassion-practicing Buddhist. A lesser person could have retaliated with a lawsuit. (How very un-Buddhist, you say? Perhaps. But perhaps not.) Ruth-Claire Weintraub Arcosanti, Ariz. i WAS VERy happy to run across the reproduction of the most precious text, Essential Advice for Solitary Medi- tation Practice, by the late Dudjom Rinpoche [“in Translation,” Spring 2005]. Thank you for making it available to many practitioners, as the writings of His Holiness are so profound. i hope the limitations of the translator are forgiven. Ron Garry (the translator) Santa Cruz, Calif. in THE ARTiCLE “Barriers to the Dharma” in the Summer 2005 issue, one of the teachers interviewed men- tioned Choyin Rangdröl, author of Black Buddha, and inferred that he had success with less-educated people due to his “Baptist preacher” styled teaching. While the motivation behind the inference was perhaps of pure intent, the effect may have had some unin- tended consequences, including deterring some from attending Lama Rangdröl’s teachings because they have a misperception of his work. While Choyin has been very involved in bringing dharma to the African- American community, he is first and foremost a teacher o f Vajrayana Buddhism. His teacher for ten years was the late Khenpo Gyurmed Thinley Rinpoche, abbot of zilnon Kagyeling Monastery of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala. His students cross the spectrum of race, class, and nationality. Melvin Mcleod, Editor-in-Chief Tynette deveaux, Editor Barry campbell Boyce, Senior Editor Molly de shong, Assistant Editor seth levinson, Art Director liza Matthews, Assistant Art Director Jeff Pardy, Editorial Assistant Board of ediTorial advisors ajahn amaro, Abhayagiri Buddhist Monastery Jeffrey cox, Snow Lion Publications Zoketsu norman fischer, Everyday Zen Foundation, San Francisco Zen Center roshi Bernie Glassman, Zen Peacemaker Order Jack Kornfield, Spirit Rock Meditation Center John daido loori, roshi, Zen Mountain Monastery Timothy Mcneill, Wisdom Publications larry Mermelstein, Nalanda Translation Committee reginald a. ray, Naropa University Barbara rhodes, Kwan Um School of Zen sharon salzberg, Insight Meditation Society robert a.f. Thurman, Columbia University, Tibet House U.S. Peter Turner, Shambhala Publications Taitetsu unno, American Buddhist Study Center Michael Wenger, San Francisco Zen Center (Organizations listed for identification purposes only.) 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