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Buddhadharma : Spri 2007
spring 2007| 88 |buddhadharma mahasangha news eastern Bihar state, where the an- cient site of Nalanda is located, and the Singapore government. Founded in 427 AD, Nalanda be- came one of the greatest monastic and educational institutions in recorded history. In its heyday, it housed up to 10,000 students pursuing Buddhist studies, fine arts, medicine, math, astronomy, and politics. It survived until 1197. In the opening talk at the symposium, Singapore’s foreign minister, George Yeo, said the project was not about religion but about “Buddhist values and philosophy, which have become an integral part of East Asian civ- ilization.” ■ The Heart CirCle SangHa of Ridgewood, New Jersey, will host a benefit on March 30 for the Psycho-Spiritual Healing Project, which supports tsunami and civil war survivors in Sri Lanka. Sharon Salzberg will deliver the keynote address, “Lov- ingkindness, the Universal Prayer of the World,” and the Sri Lankan ambassador to the UN, Prasad Kariyawasam, will attend. Joan Hogetsu Hoeberichts Sensei (be- low), a member of the White Plum Asanga and a full-time psychother- apist, leads the Heart Circle Sang- ha. The Heart Circle partners with Sarvodaya, Sri Lanka’s largest chari- ty, based on Buddhist-Gandhian philosophy, to send psychothera- pists who specialize in grief, trau- ma, and stress disorders to train local counselors in empathic lis- tening, meditation, and therapeu- tic techniques. ■ tHiCH Man giaC, the supreme patriarch of the Vietnamese United Buddhist Churches of America, died on Oc- tober 13 in Los Angeles at age 77. Man Giac fled Vietnam on a crowded fishing boat in 1977 and arrived in L.A. the next year. He was a teacher of the late Gesshin Prabashadharma Roshi, one of the first Western women dharma teachers. ■ The iSrael Center for tHe Study of BuddHiSM is raising funds to translate Pali, Tibetan, and Chinese Buddhist scriptures into Hebrew. Its founder and director, Shmuel Ben Or, cur- rently works from a spare room in his apartment, lobbying Jewish agencies and overseas founda- tions. He established the center to bring an understanding of Bud- dhism and its history to Israel and to help advance an interfaith dialogue by “bringing the Far East to the Middle East.” The organi- zation’s logo features a menorah, representing light in the temple, and two olive trees, which Ben Or says symbolizes the tree of knowledge or the Bodhi tree. ■ The first of two groups of partic- ipants in the SHaMatHa Pro jeCt began a 97-day retreat at Colorado’s Shambhala Mountain Center in February with B. Alan Wallace. Dr. George R. Mangun of the UC Davis Center for Mind and Brain is coordinating the pro- ject, which will study the neural, cognitive, and socio-emotional effects of shamatha meditation. Participants with varying degrees of meditation experience will medi- tate for eight to ten hours daily while an on-site team of neuro- scientists and psychologists stud- ies the group. Positions as alter- nates in the control-group session beginning September 2007 are currently available to qualified participants. ■ Disney animator Eric Goldberg (Aladdin, Poca- hontas) recently completed work on an eight-minute cartoon called a Monkey’S tale for a Bud- dhist cultural center outside of W orld-renowned composer Philip Glass is collabo- rating with Leonard Cohen to produce a show named after and based on Cohen’s most recent collection of poetry, Book of Longing. Before seeing the manuscript of Cohen’s book, Glass conceived of the project as being a straightforward concert. “Then,” says producer Linda Brumbach, “Glass realized Book of Longing contained draw- ings by Cohen that were so beautiful that they were almost poems unto themselves, and he asked Cohen if he could incorporate some of these images into the set.” Now the evening-length work will be a stage concert melding Cohen’s art with spoken word and Glass’s compositions. The music will be performed by four singers and a seven-piece instrumental ensemble, with Glass playing keyboards. “Glass is not thinking of this as an opera,” says Brumbach, “so he’s not looking for singers with operatic voices. Instead, he’s looking for singers with a broad emotional range and perfect diction. The words are incredibly provocative, so it’s important they be clear.” Book of Longing will premiere on June 1 at Toronto’s Elgin Theatre as part of Luminato, an inaugural multidisciplinary arts festival. Luminato will take place June 1–10 and will feature more than 90 events in venues throughout every corner of Toronto. After three showings at Luminato, Book of Longing will travel across the globe for six weeks. It will be performed at the Spoleto Festival in South Carolina, the Ravinia Festival in Illinois, the Lincoln Festival in New York, and Stanford University in California. Then it will be per- formed in Wales, England, the Netherlands, and Spain. Book of Longing is Glass’s third work in a series based on poets. In the early 1990s he created Hydrogen Jukebox, a chamber opera based on the poetry of Allen Ginsberg, and in the late 1990s he cre- ated Monsters of Grace, an opera based on the poetry of Rumi. “Book of Longing,” says Philip Glass, “is both a departure from my past work and a fulfillment of an artistic dream.” glaSS & CoHen CollaBorate on “Book of longing” By Andrea Miller LoRCACohENCoURTESYJoANhoEBERIChTSShmUELBENoR/ICSBCoURTESYBPF