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Buddhadharma : Summer 2007
summer 2007| 94 |buddhadharma mahasangha news for 11 days in June, his first trip there since bestowing the Ka- lachakra in 2002. ■ Buddhism in Iran? Sounds unlikely, but it’s true. After living in California for 20 years, Raana Bastani, a Sham- bhala Buddhist, returned to her native Iran in 2005. She promptly set up a meditation center in a re- furbished apartment in Tehran and distributed some 2,000 copies of a book by her teacher, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, which she had translated and printed herself. More than 20 people now come to Bastani’s apartment regularly to sit. The group is seeking funds to arrange for Buddhist mentors to visit from the U.S. or Europe and to help with their translation costs. For more information about shaMBhala iRan, contact Marc Matheson at tigermind@ earthlink.net. ■ A distinguished roster of participants discussed the role ofhumor–or lack of it– in Buddhism at a workshop spon- sored by the Institute of East Asian Studies at UC Berkeley in February. donald loPez gave the plenary address (What’s So Funny about the Laughing Buddha?), which was followed by three panel dis- cussions on humor in the tripitika, in China and Japan, and in Tibetan Buddhism. By all accounts, partic- ipants had a roaring good time. ■ Inspired by laMa zoPa RinPoche’s teachings about lib- erating animals from suffering, two of his German students rigged up an electric toy train to pull small sentient beings around a small stupa and other holy objects. The train’s first voyage took 800 flour worms, often sold as food for amphibians, on a circumambula- tion of several hours around holy texts, relics, tsa-tsas, and stupas. Lama Zopa, the head of the Foun- dation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT), thought the idea had some merit, “In just one hour, they purify negative karma,” he said, “which causes good rebirth, liberation from samsara, and enlighten- ment.”■ In March the asian classics inPut PRoJect re- leased a searchable DVD database of ancient Buddhist texts com- piled from libraries, monasteries, and private collections in India, Mongolia, Nepal, Russia, and Ti- bet. The free DVD marks a 20- year effort to find, preserve, trans- late, and distribute the literature of Tibetan Buddhism. “This has been a monumental effort, com- bining modern technology and ancient wisdom,” says ACIP di- rector John Brady. “We’re not only preserving [these classic texts] but also making them avail- able at a time when the world sorely needs this wisdom.” ■ A controversial young Tibetan lama born in Quinghai province, China, is making waves in Taiwan with a new rap/hip-hop album called Wish You Well. Like most pop music, the subject of many of singa RinPoche’s songs is love, but several tracks make reference to Buddhist teachings. In one he raps, “All the pain in this world is caused by seeking happiness for himself / All the joy in this world is caused by seeking happiness for others.” However, many Buddhist traditionalists frown on Singa’s Western dress and worldly activi- ties. ■ The centeR FoR con- teMPlative Mind in society (CCMS) will hold its third annual six-day residential summer session from August 12 to 17 at Smith eral Western students in this Dri- kung Kagyu tradition will also be recognized as teachers during the rites. ■ Toronto filmmaker david cheRniacK’s new documentary, The Oracle, looks at the role of oracles in the Tibetan tradition. Cloaked in secrecy, oracles are seen as a door between worlds, and many Tibetan Buddhists, in- cluding the Dalai Lama, value their guidance. Cherniack investi- gates oracles’ role and how their authenticity is verified in this hour-long film, which debuted on VisionTV’s Enigma program. ■ RyuMon gutiéRRez Baldoquin (below) will lead two resi- dential retreats this summer, one for people of color at Green Gulch Farm Zen Center in Muir Beach, California, between June 29 and July 1, and a second for contem- plative activists that will take place at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, the last weekend in July. ■ Over 5,000 people recently came to see the largest-ever Australian exhibit of Buddhist images at the town hall in Melbourne. The exhibit, Bud- dha 2550, showcased images of the Buddha, bodhisattvas, and other traditional icons from a dozen Asian countries, as well as some new interpretations created in Australia. The exhibit was ac- companied by a weeklong pro- gram of workshops, dharma talks, meditation sessions, art les- sons, and cultural performances. The Dalai Lama visits Australia of the Dalai Lama and Tibet, and a stunning travelogue of Ray’s modern-day trek to a remote Ti- betan village over an 18,000-foot pass. For screenings near you, check Ray’s website, 10questions- forthedalai lama.com ■ Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, named the dalai laMa (right) a presidential distinguished pro- fessor in February, the first univer- sity appointment the Dalai Lama has ever accepted. “I firmly be- lieve that education is an indis- pensable tool for the flourishing of human well-being and the cre- ation of a just and peaceful soci- ety, and I am delighted to make a small contribution in this regard through this appointment,” he said in a statement. The Dalai Lama is expected to deliver an inaugural lecture during his two- day visit to Emory in October, which will close his grueling 2007 schedule of teachings and public talks. The tour began in North America in April, with visits to Texas, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, and Indiana in early May. The Da- lai Lama returns to the U.S . in October (after trips to Australia, New Zealand, India, Germany, and Italy) to give teachings on Ati- sha’s Lamp for the Path to En- lightenment in Bloomington, In- diana. For more information on His Holiness’ itinerary, visit www. dalailama.com. ■ Next February RoBeRt Buswell (below) will assume the presidency of the As- sociation for Asian Studies (AAS). A one-time Buddhist monk, Bus- well is the director of UCLA’s Center for Buddhist Stud- ies and the founding di- rector of the Center for Ko- rean Studies. He is the first Koreanist and the first UCLA fac- ulty member to hold this position with the AAS, a nonpolitical, non- profit, professional scholarly as sociation. ■ The tiBetan Medi- tation centeR in Frederick, Maryland, founded by Khenchen Konchog Gyaltsen Rinpoche, celebrates its 25th anniversary on May 26 with traditional ceremo- nies and a banquet luncheon. Sev- CHRISTINAleeBUSWellKAYHINTON,eMORYUNIVeRSITYPHOTOGRAPHYMAIADUeRRCAROlYNKANJUROCOURTeSYOFMICHAelROSeNFelDGAlleRYFIRSTRUNFeATUReS