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Buddhadharma : Fall 2007
buddhadharma| 89 |fall 2007 mahasangha news workshops at the Neuberger Museum of Art in Purchase, West- chester County, New York. The 28 Threnody panels (detail above), executed during the years 1972–1974, were a response – some call it an elegy – to the tragedy of the Vietnam War. The Empty Hand Zen Center was invited to offer three zazen workshops within the exhibit during the month of July. “In Buddha’s teaching, the first noble truth is about the reality of suffering and loss,” says Empty Hand founder Susan Ji-on Postal, “so sitting in the middle of a lamentation feels like a good fit, an appropriate set- ting to enter silence and stillness.” ■ Paintings of the Buddha dating back to at least the 12th century were discovered in a remote Nep- alese cave by a team of interna- tional researchers who were tipped off by a local shepherd. The 55-panel mural depicting the story of Buddha’s life was uncov- ered in March. The team used ice axes to break a path through the snow to reach the site, about 160 miles northwest of Kathmandu. “What we found is fantastically rich in culture and heritage,” BroughTon coBurn, a writer and conservationist from Jackson Hole, Wyoming, reported to the Associated Press. The expedition spent three weeks in the remote mountain area, which has for cen- turies been used as a major route between Nepal and Tibet. ■ The New York Times recently reported that Fort Wayne, Indiana, (popu- lation 248,000) has the largest concentration of Burmese refu- gees in the country. The city is in the midst of a BuDDhisT Boom – six Buddhist temples have opened in the last seven years: one for Laotians, two for Burmese, and two for Mon Bud- dhists, a Burmese ethnic group. The newest Buddhist temple, in the Sri Lankan tradition, is a con- verted vinyl-sided house on the outskirts of town. ■ Tara Man- dala Retreat Center in southwest- ern Colorado began construction of its Tara TemPLe (above) this spring. The three-level building will house a ceremonial hall, a library, and rooms for study and small practice gatherings. Con- struction has also begun on a resi- dential hall that will allow Tara Mandala to offer year-round retreats and programs. Founded in 1993, Tara Mandala was estab- lished by Tsultrim Allione, author of Women of Wisdom, as a retreat center that supports “the reemer- gence of the sacred feminine.” ■ Two books by the Korean Bud- dhist poet ko un won awards at this year’s Northern California Book Awards, held on April 15. Flowers of a Moment, translated by Brother Anthony, Young-Moo Kim, and Gary Gach (BOA Edi- tions), and The Three Way Tav- ern, translated by Clare You and Richard Silberg (University of California Press), took home awards for translation. The late Allen Ginsberg called Ko Un “a magnificent poet, a combination of ➤ continued page 93 ZaZen onLine by Scott Armstrong with more Buddhist teachers and practitioners embracing technology, looking to the Internet for information about Buddhism and meditation has become a standard strategy. But one American Zen teacher based in Japan has added a new twist, vowing to lead an online zazen ses- sion every day for the next nine years. “I wanted to commit to sit daily online for enough time that people would know that this is a long-term promise, that our sangha and zazen sittings will be here for them for years to come,” says Jundo Cohen, a Soto priest with twenty-five years of practice under his belt. Cohen was ordained by Gudo Wafu Nishijima, the Japanese Zen master who is famous for what some regard as the most faithful translation of eihei Dogen’s classic Shobogenzo into english. Cohen decided on a nine-year period because it was the number of years that Bodhidharma, the founder of Japanese Zen, is said to have sat at the famous Shaolin Monastery in China. “I will be sitting online each and every day, rain or shine, no matter what life brings that day. That is my promise to people who are willing to sit along.” Cohen knows that the practitioners who sit with him are often those who can’t access a teacher due to distance from a center, illness, or family responsibilities, situations Cohen understands. It was following sev- eral years that he spent tending to his ail- ing mother, dividing his time between Japan and florida, that he began to realize the inherent possibilities in the new media. Cohen connects to his sangha through his websites, www.treeleaf.org and www.tree- leafzen.blogspot.com, where practitioners can find videos of his thirty-minute practice periods, consisting of a daily five-minute talk on some aspect of practice or life, fol- lowed by zazen for about twenty-five min- utes. Cohen’s talks are sometimes responses to questions that have been e-mailed to him, a practice he encourages. “I really come to know who is watching and sitting with me, and it feels like they are right there in the same room when I am doing the netcast,” he says. Cohen also offers one-on-one video conferencing and an online chat room. Asked what he will do when he gets to the end of his nine-year commitment, Cohen responds, “I suppose I will simply commit to another nine years!” eVeLYNHOfeRCOURTeSYTARAMANDALA Jundo Cohen, accompanied by his daughter, gives a teisho on meditating with distractions.