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Buddhadharma : Winter 2010
17 winter 2 01 0 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly Rinpoche’s father. He had not been to Bhutan for more than twenty years, and was invited by the prime minister for a month’s stay, along with about thirty of his students from the United States. He participated in two large public events in Thimphu. The enthusiasm of the people was overwhelming, crowding and rushing toward Dungtse Rinpoche, but restrained by the army and police. Dungtse Rinpoche’s response was deeply moving as he opened his arms toward all those who had come to meet him. Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche arrived in Thimphu at the end of his father’s tour and gave a teaching in English on the ninth chap- ter of Bodhicharavatara. His primary mes- sage seemed to be to caution the young and educated Bhutanese not to lose their Buddhist values in the face of modern materialism and Western education. At the conclusion of the teaching, Bhutan Broadcasting System filmed a discussion featuring Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche and Lama Shenphen, the director of Deer Park in Thimphu, on the topic, “Is Buddhism Relevant to Modern Bhutan?” When the audience was invited to ask questions, a woman stood up and said, “I am an architect here in Bhutan, and I design Lhakhangs (temples). Very often I am not allowed to even go into the Lhakhangs I have designed [women are forbidden to enter into any of the Protector Temples]. My question to Rinpoche is: What do you think of this? If you were not Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche, would you choose to be reborn as a woman?” Rinpoche responded by saying, “Whoever tells you that Buddha discriminated against women, ask them to find such things any- where in the sutras of Buddha’s teaching. They will not find it. Such attitude has been superimposed in various cultures, includ- ing ours.” Rinpoche then brought the house down by saying, “Every year when I go to Bodhgaya, I make an aspirational prayer to be born as a woman, a black woman, very beautiful, and to be a Republican president of the United States!” From Gentle Voice, the online newsletter oF siDDhartha’s intent, september 2010 we’re never outside of our vows Laura Burges describes the indomitable spirit of Shosan Victoria Austin, a longtime Zen practitioner and ordained priest in the San Francisco Zen Center community. On September 16, 2008, Victoria was put- ting a quarter in a parking meter on Valencia Street when a temporary construction wall fell on her head, causing brain damage and other injuries, including affecting her vision. Working toward recovery, she received several kinds of rehabilitative therapy and was on her way to what was to be her last vision appoint- ment when she stepped off a curb and was hit by an SUV. This additional accident resulted in severe physical injuries and surgery. I asked Victoria how she has integrated these events into her Buddhist practice. “I have to make them my practice. After forty years of practice? ‘Zen Teacher Bites the Dust?’ As priests and lay teachers we are responsible for the dharma. An accident doesn’t place me outside my vows. Vow is the most important thing. So I need to move forward in this situ- ation in a way that gives life, with a whole- some spirit, while detaching from the results. My intention is to fully meet the needs of this broken body and become whole.” kimscafuro