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Buddhadharma : Spring 2008
buddhadharma| 89 |spring 2008 mahasangha news prayer festival gathered many hundreds of pilgrims and more than 5,000 monks and nuns. ■ Actor richArd gErE accepted the ninth annual Marian Ander- son Award (including an unre- stricted cash award of $100,000) at the Kimmel Center for the Per- forming Arts in Philadelphia on November 12. Gere, a native of Philadelphia, was recognized for his efforts through the Gere Foun- dation and his public charity, Healing the Divide, to support human rights, prison reform, HIV/ AIDS awareness, and Tibetan refugees. The Philadelphia Orches- tra, opera star Measha Breugger- gosman, jazz trumpeter Jon Faddis, and Philadelphia’s own Patti LaBelle performed at the eve- ning ceremony. The Marian Anderson Award celebrates the importance of the arts and those individuals who have coupled their artistic talents with a commit- ment to the betterment of society. ■ Buddhist scholar jUdith sim- mEr-BroWn, author of Dakini’s Warm Breath: The Feminine Prin- ciple in Tibetan Buddhism, will give the keynote address on “Being Female, Being Buddhist” at the third annual BUddhist WomEn’s confErEncE o n March 8, hosted by the Buddhist Council of the Midwest in Evan- ston, Illinois. Representatives from the three major Buddhist traditions will participate in a panel discussion on women’s spiri- tual life: Venerable Pannavati Bhikkhuni, co-abbot of Embrac- ing Simplicity Hermitage in North Carolina (representing the Thera- vada tradition); Venerable Chang Wu Fashi, a resident teacher at the Chan Meditation Center in New York (representing the Mahayana tradition); and Khenmo Nyima Drolma, abbess of Vajra Dakini Nunnery in Vermont (representing the Vajrayana tradition). The con- ference is also open to men. For more information, visit dharma- women.org. ■ The shAolin monAstEry, a Chan Buddhist temple in the Henan province of China, is famous for turning out martial artists like Jet Li. Now a new DVD called Shaolin Legend captures a live martial arts display by Shaolin performing monks at the Olympia Theatre in Paris. While the monastery is famous today for its martial artists, its roots are Buddhist; the monas- tery’s first abbot was Batuo, an Indian meditation master who came to China in 464 BCE to spread the Buddhist teachings. ■ In the last edition of the Maha- sangha News, we told you about a public controversy that erupted over the recent removal of reli- gious books from federal prison libraries. It now appears that prison officials have bowed to public pressure to keep books on the shelves. Katy Cole, the chap- lain and library coordinator for the liBErAtion prison proj- Ect, received confirmation in October from Sister van Baalen, the religious services director with the Bureau of Prisons (BOP), that Buddhist composer pEtEr liEBErson’s Neruda Songs won the 2008 university of Louisville’s $200,000 Grawemeyer Award for outstanding work in music composition. Neruda Songs, chosen from among 140 worldwide entries, is based on five love poems by the chilean poet Pablo neruda and was written for Lieberson’s wife, mezzo-soprano Lorraine Hunt Lieberson (above, with Lieberson), who died of cancer in 2006 at age 52. “Each song represents a different stage of love, from first passion to the end of life,” explained Mark Satterwhite, the university of Louisville music professor who directs the award program. “The piece has a beauty and surface simplicity but great emotional depth and intellectual rigor as well.” Neruda Songs is also nominated for three Grammys: classical Album, Vocal Performance, and contemporary composition. Last year Hunt Lieberson won a posthumous Grammy for singing Rilke Songs, composed by Lieberson. Shortly after his wife died, Lieberson was also diagnosed with cancer. He is currently recovering from a bone marrow transplant. programming to News Corp. sub- sidiaries, including Fox Interactive Media. Fox says that it doesn’t have immediate plans to tie Belief- net content into News Corp.’s popular MySpace social-network- ing hub, but the company doesn’t rule out doing so in the future. ■ gEshE jAmpA gyAtso (below), the resident teacher for more than 25 years at the Founda- tion for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition’s (FPMT’s) the BOP has ordered all federal prisons to return religious books (except for those that “incite vio- lence”) to the library shelves. ■ The BAth BUddhist groUp in England celebrated its 30th anni- versary in October with a visit from Ajahn Sumedho, the abbot of Amaravati Buddhist Monastery in Hertfordshire. Heather and John Harvey founded the Bath Buddhist Group at the suggestion of the late Christmas Humphreys, founder and president of The Bud- dhist Society, based in London. ■ In December, Fox Entertainment Group announced its acquisition of New York-based BEliEfnEt, a website that provides reference material and online social net- working tools for a range of reli- gions and spiritual approaches. The popular website has an exten- sive Buddhist section with articles and a number of online discussion tools. Beliefnet now becomes part of Fox Digital Media division, which markets and distributes Fox broadcast content online. Likewise, Beliefnet will now feed PETERLIEBERSonKAGyuTHuBTEncHoLInGPIERoSIRIAnnI(PoMAIA)