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Buddhadharma : Winter 2007
buddhadharma| 91 |winter 2007 mahasangha news who installed her as abbess. Cur- rently the nunnery operates in a house, but its board has commit- ted to a long-term plan that will see them build a structure on land at nearby Sunray Peace Village, which used to be a Native Ameri- can retreat. ■ Reverend DAviD ryoe mAtsumoto, resident minister of the Berkeley Buddhist Temple, earned a doctor of phi- losophy degree this spring from Ryukoku University at Kyoto, Japan, with a dissertation titled “An Approach to the Qualities of Humanness in Contemporary Western Shin Buddhism.” Dr. Matsumoto will be among the presenters at a public symposium on Shin and contemporary phi- losophy at the annual meeting of the Buddhist Churches of America in Portland on February 28. He’ll be joined by Mark Unno, Steven Shankman, Thomas Kasulis, Gregory Gibbs, Mark Blum, and Lisa Grumbach. ■ A number of spiritual retreat centers in the sAn luis vAlley near Cres- tone, Colorado, are alarmed at the possibility that natural gas drilling may take place in the area. In 2006, Lexam Energy Explora- tion, a Canadian company that owns the underground mineral if you have news send your information by mail or by e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org The tArA CAfé projeCt, a music-production group that pro- motes Tibetan music, has initiated a children’s education project to provide clothing, school supplies, and tuition for 20 nomadic chil- dren in the Amdo region of Tibet. Karen McDiarmid says the Tara Café Project is operating “under the radar” in a region that is closely monitored by the Chinese government. The project is named after a small cafe in Dharamsala where refugees from the Amdo region often gather to visit and play music together. In 2008, Tara Café will release its fifth CD, called Crazy Little Yak, which will feature the music of Gompo Kyab and friends. ■ Lew Rich- mond and Alan Senauke will per- form a benefit concert on November 11 at St. John’s Presby- terian Church in Berkeley to raise money for DArlene Cohen’s post-chemo care. Cohen has been undergoing treatment for ovarian cancer. ■ simon lunA (below), a senior teacher in the Shambhala Buddhist sangha headed by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, died suddenly of a heart attack in the Santiago airport on August 14. Luna was very enthusiastic about the future of Buddhism in South America (he called it a “veritable fiesta of dharma”) and was returning home to Chile after a teaching trip to the U.S. He was 62. ■ The vAjrA DAkini nun- nery in Lincoln, Vermont—the first Tibetan Buddhist nunnery in North America—opened on Sep- tember 8 with a blessing ceremony and open house. Vajra Dakini’s abbess, Khenmo Drolma, is a Western Tibetan Buddhist nun and “the first Westerner of any gender to hold this responsibility in our lineage,” says Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang Rinpoche, unCertAin fAte for BuDDhist Books in prisons By Scott Armstrong the u.s . bureau of prisons has taken a step back from a project, born of post-9/11 fear of religious-based terrorism, that would have seen a number of religious books and recordings removed from the shelves of federal prison libraries. however, the ultimate resolution of the issue has still not been determined. the standardized chapel library project was initiated with a 2004 report by the department of Justice inspector general which said that because prison library materials were not being cataloged, radical books inciting violence and intolerance could be available to prisoners. the bureau began a process of identifying and removing religious media deemed discriminatory, radical, or violent by creating a list of 150 “acceptable” books, cds, and videos for each religion it recognized. lists were submitted to the bureau by panels of experts from each religion; the names of those who participated in the selection process have not been revealed. the list of buddhist resources included some 60 books, ranging from classics such as What the Buddha Taught and Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, to surveys and academic works, to more popular titles such as Buddhism Plain and Simple and Awakening the Buddha Within. authors included thich nhat hanh, the dalai lama, pema chodron, chogyam trungpa charlotte Joko beck, sylvia boorstein, seung sahn, and Ken mcleod. the list also included 24 videos and ten tapes. the project first came to public attention in may, when inmates from a federal prison in new york filed a lawsuit to halt the removal of religious materials from prisons. following media reports from npr, the New York Times, and others, rabbi david saperstein, director of the religious action center of reform Judaism, appealed to the federal bureau of prison’s director, harley g. lappin, to open the project to public scrutiny. the republican study committee sent lappin a similar letter, stating, “We must insure that in america the federal government is not the undue arbiter of what may or may not be read by our citizens.” currently, books that have been removed from federal prison libraries are being returned. however, the bureau has stated that it still intends to complete its list of “acceptable materials” for each religion by January 2008. rights to the area, indicated that it would begin seismic testing, which was completed in March of this year. The area is home to several Tibetan Buddhist centers, as well as a Soto Zen center, a Carmelite hermitage, and two Hindu ash- rams. Several of the groups have launched letter-writing campaigns to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Ser- vice, which oversees the area of proposed drilling, requesting a full environmental-impact assess- ment. For up-to-date information as it becomes available, visit the San Luis Valley Ecosystem Coun- cil website at www.slvec.org. ■ In September, the cornerstone of Sotheby’s “Arts of the BuD- DhA” New York auction was a 13th-century Tibetan bronze Maitreya statue estimated to be worth $3.5 million. Supris- ingly, the piece, which senior Sotheby’s con- sultant David Weldon called “among the finest Buddhist sculptures to have survived from the period,” failed to find a buyer. ■ A three- day conference in October on minDfulness AnD psyCho- therApy presented by the UCLA Lifespan Learning Institute, in collaboration with the Center for Mindfulness and Psychotherapy and InsightLA, pulled in Thich Nhat Hanh to give the keynote address. Other speakers included Tara Brach, Trudy Goodman, Jack Kornfield, Harriet Kimble Wrye, Sara Lazar, and Daniel Sie- gel. ■ tAlking With the DAlAi lAmA, a 27-minute film now available on DVD, is an inti- mate and candid conversation with the Dalai Lama that took place in his living room in Dharamsala, India. “His Holiness is a great storyteller, and some of his views on religion and the West are sur- prising, even shocking,” producer and director John Halpern says. For example, in the interview, the Dalai Lama says that changing religions is “very harmful some- times. It may create more confusion.” The filmmaker’s entire audience with the Dalai Lama is also available on CD from www.refugefilm.com. courtesyshambhala.org