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Buddhadharma : Summer 2006
summer 2006| 88 |buddhadharma roshi is leading a pilgrimage to eastern Tibet this fall to help sup- port medical clinics in the region. Halifax, along with up to ten Western clinicians and 15 practi- tioners, will travel through the mountainous Kham region for five weeks, a journey that will be filmed. Halifax founded the Nomads Clinic Project in Nepal in 1981 to offer medical services to nomads and local villagers in remote areas. The Kham clinics were set up by Matthieu Ricard, Raphaele Demandre, and Dick Grace. ■ Actress Ellen Burstyn, a longtime friend and supporter of Zen Peacemakers founder Roshi Bernie Glassman, was the guest host at an open house in February at the MaeZuMi institute, the new Zen Peacemakers’ study and practice center in Montague, Mas- sachusetts. The Institute began operating in September 2005, but renovations to its main hall delayed its official opening. A celebratory opening ceremony was held on May 14, the 11th anniversary of the death of Maezumi Roshi. ■ Death oF a Pioneer By Steven Goodman t he famous buddhist scholar herbert Guenther passed away on march 11, in saskatoon, saskatchewan, at the age of 88. he was a pioneer in the english translation of the rich tra- ditions of vajrayana buddhism, and particularly mahamudra and Dzogchen. he was also a man who lived life to the fullest: “engagement with what mat- ters” was his motto. born in the seaport town of bremen, Germany, Guenther developed an early interest in Chinese and sanskrit languages, and went on to receive doctor- ate degrees in indic studies at the universities of munich and vienna. after teaching in vienna, he and his wife, ilse, moved to india in 1950. he taught russian language and literature at the university of lucknow, and then took up a post at the sanskrit university at varanasi, where he specialized in mahayana buddhism (often teaching in sanskrit). For the next 14 years, Guenther lived and taught in india and began to have contact with the living traditions of tibetan buddhism. During the summer breaks he would travel to the mountain regions of himachal Pradesh, where he studied with Kagyü lamas and learned about vajrayana buddhism, particularly mahamudra. he told me he often had to cross dangerous mountain streams to gain access to the rocky heights of his teachers’ remote hermitages. he usually had to haul paper up there so he could copy by hand the precious manuscripts he studied. When the tibetan Diaspora began in 1959, Guenther had the opportunity to study with lamas from all four schools of tibetan buddhism. he developed a keen interest in the nyingma tradition, particularly Dzogchen, and quickly gained a reputation within the tibetan refugee community as a true spiritual friend, one who honored their cultural traditions. the fruit of his early tantric studies was published in Varanasi as Yuganaddha: The Tantric View of Life (1952). he soon published his translation of a tibetan manual on mahayana buddhism, Gampopa’s Jewel Ornament of Liberation (1956), and in the ensuing year his Philosophy and Psychology in the Abhidharma established him as a leading authority on the Pali and sanskrit sources for “buddhist psychology.” in 1964, he left india with his wife and two young daughters, assuming the chair of the new Far eastern studies department in saskatoon, saskatchewan. in north america, he continued to work with tibetan teachers, especially with tarthang tulku, through the nyingma institute in berkeley, and with Chögyam trungpa, through the naropa institute in boulder. beginning in 1975, his years of Dzogchen study bore fruit in the masterful translation of longchenpa’s trilogy Kindly Bent to Ease Us. his subsequent works reflected his growing interest in systems philosophy and the new sciences (Matrix of Mystery, The Creative Vision, and From Reductionism to Creativity). even after retirement, Dr. Guenther continued to research and publish. in fact, he was always at work – his approach to study and research was like an aerobic workout. i fondly remember our four- to five-hour tibetan sessions, from my days as a graduate student, and our hiking adventures in the Colorado rockies, when he once remarked about the altitude: “the curious thing is, the higher i am the better i feel.” Steven Goodman is co-director of the California Institute of Integral Studies’ Asian and comparative studies program. He was a student of Herbert Guenther’s from 1976 to 1983. Norbu’s Shang Shung Institute of America, a nonprofit organization for preserving and promoting Tibetan culture, based in Conway, Massachusetts. ■ joan haliFax ation of “a religious United Nations” headed by the Dalai Lama), China’s political influence dampened official enthusiasm for the Dalai Lama’s visit. At the request of the Palestinian Author- ity, the Dalai Lama canceled a trip to Bethlehem, and no Israeli gov- ernment leader would meet with him, fearing a chill in relations with China. ■ Thich Nhat Hanh’s Peace is every steP walks, which invite people from all back- grounds and faiths to come together in a show of solidarity for peace, are growing in fre- quency and strength. Three were held early this year in southern California, and a major gathering called “The March to Redeem the Soul of America” is scheduled for August. The 200-mile trek through Texas will start in front of Exxon headquarters in Irving and continue to President George W. Bush’s ranch in Crawford. ■ Master thangka painter glen eDDy died on April 5 in a hospital near his home at Tashigar South, a Dzogchen retreat center in Argen- tina. In the 1970’s Eddy taught at the Naropa Institute and was the illustrator for many of Chögyam Trungpa’s first books, including Cutting Through Spiritual Mate- rialism. Eddy was one of the world’s most highly regarded Western thangka painters. He was a devoted and longtime student of Chögyal Namkhai Norbu and gave workshops and thangka painting classes through Namkhai ronForsterJoanhaliFaxChrishelCermanas-benGeDaviDmaunGahnaFenDerellenPearlmanluCymassiePhenix