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Buddhadharma : Fall 2005
fall 2005| 88 |buddhadharma company of their peers. So we’ve decided to make the retreat for young adults a yearly event.” The retreat, open to people aged 18−32, was led by Michele McDonald, Rebecca Bradshaw, and Marvin Belzer. “I find that young people today are more educated, talented, and sophisti- cated than my peers and I were at the same age, but they suffer from an incredible weariness,” says McDonald. “The drive to be successful, rich, multi-talented, and beautiful can manifest in so much self-hatred. For many young people, a meditation retreat is their first chance to let go of that suffering.” ■ Monks from the PoRtland Buddhist PRioRy, an affiliate of the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives, completed their first alms round in Portland, Oregon, in April. The monks walked the Westmoreland/Sellwood neigh- borhood of Portland, where their temple is located. Lay sup- porters accompanied the monks to answer questions from the public. When the group arrived at the Oregon Health and Science University Clinic, employees rolled out two wheel- chairs loaded with food, and requested that the blessings and merit from the gifts be dedicated to patients at the clinic. The monks also received offerings of food and drink upon arriving at the community’s Methodist church, which is home to the Friends of the Dhamma Center. “It was heartening to be received with such kindness and generosity by the citizens of Westmoreland and Sellwood,” said Rev. Meiko Jones. “It will be an honor to continue practicing the tradition of alms round in this neighbor- hood.” ■ The second annual QuEERdhaRma fREEdom REtREat for the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered community was held July 1–4 at Karmê Chöling Shambhala Meditation Center, in Barnet, Vermont. Roshi Pat Enkyo O’Hara and Craig Smith led the retreat, where students addressed the idea of freedom and what it means to the queer community. Smith, founder of the QueerDharma organization, believes the GLBT community is evolving in its spiritual con- sciousness with the help of Buddhism by encouraging mem- bers to let go of the crutch of self-identifying as different. “The idea is to gain the confidence to drop notions of being special, through meditation and peer support,” says Smith. Queer- Dharma was founded in 2004 to PilGRimaGE foR PEacE By Claire Sykes Jan Chozen Bays roshi was born on August 9, 1945, the same day the atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki. “I believe that I was led to become a Buddhist in a Japanese tradition partly because of the many people who died in Japan the day I was born,” says Chozen Bays. This year, six decades later, she is marking her birthday by com- memorating the anniversary of the atomic bombings – Nagasaki that day, and Hiroshima, three days earlier – with the Jizos for Peace project. Jizo, the Japanese form of the bodhisattva Kshitigarbha of the Mahayana Buddhist tradition, is a beloved figure of Japan, serving as protector of women, children, and the dead. Three years ago, Chozen Bays began plans to take 60 little Jizo statues to temples in Japan on her 60th birthday. They would be offered as an apology for the attacks, a memorial for the dead, and prayers for peace in the future. But after visiting the Atomic Bomb Museum in Hiroshima in 2002, she knew it had to be one Jizo for each of the 250,000 people who died as a result of the bombings. During an August 2003 retreat at her great Vow Zen Monastery in Clatskanie, Oregon, Chozen Bays encouraged participants to draw Jizos on pieces of white cloth while thinking of someone who died in World War II and whispering the Jizo dharani, Om-ka-ka-kabi-san-ma- ei-soha-ka. This mantra helps cultivate within one’s heart the quali- ties of Jizo – optimism, compassion, courage, and peace – and to then manifest those qualities in the world. Many of the participants took the activity back to their communities, helping great Vow residents and sangha in their ongoing effort to make the Jizos. Chozen Bays presented the project at the annual meeting of the American Zen Teachers Association in 2003 and later launched the project’s website, www.jizosforpeace.org, further spreading the word. By spring 2005, great Vow had received over 334,000 Jizos. Zen students, Christian congregations, schoolchildren, and prisoners from the U.S . and 25 other countries had rubber-stamped or drawn the Jizos onto thou- sands of cloth panels, which great Vow residents and volunteers then sewed into prayer flags. The monastery also received Jizo banners and quilts, origami and knitted Jizos, and some made of wood and clay. This August, Chozen Bays and 35 other “ambassadors of peace” from great Vow and other U.S. sanghas are presenting the Jizos in Japan as part of a 14-day pilgrimage to temples and Peace Day events in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The pilgrimage culminates with a Jizos for Peace project display at the Nagasaki Peace Museum. Most of the Jizo panels will remain in Japan, where they will be placed in peace shrines; others are expected to become part of a U.S. traveling exhibi- tion, which is currently in the planning stages. “As long as there are human beings, there will be war,” says Chozen Bays. “But that doesn’t abdicate our responsibility to keep working for peace.” Claire Sykes is a freelance writer in Portland, Oregon, and a member of the Zen Community of Oregon. Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, spiritual director of Shambhala International, announced his engagement to Semo Tseyang Palmo, daughter of His Eminence Terton Namkha Drimed Rabjam Rinpoche and Sangyum Chime Dolkar. Semo Tseyang is a leading member of the sacred Gesar dance ensemble established and guided by her father. The couple, who met last year in India, plan to marry in a civil ceremony this summer, with public ceremonies to follow in both Nova Scotia and India in 2006. BrINKMANPHOTOgrAPHy©2005BrIANSPIElMANNDENISEDODSONTOMNISHIKAWA