Sunday, October 7, 2007

Buddhist Youth Writers Symposium at Nalanda West

Hi gang,
I am contemplating putting together a conference at Nalanda West in 2008 that would bring together published authors (in many different media) from a diverse variety of Buddhist traditions in America. They would also all be under 40 years old.
Please give me feedback about what you think about this idea, and I'd love to hear any suggestions you have to make it be creative, innovative, engaging, and inspiring.
Please also suggest anyone you'd like to see, hear, and meet.
Best wishes,

Thursday, August 23, 2007


Welcome to the 2nd Wave American Buddhists blog!
For more information about what this is all about, please see the first blog post, "Welcome!" in the archives.

The posts below are from 8 different people who posted anonymously, giving an interesting cross-section of 2nd Wave perspective from the Nalandabodhi sangha.

All are welcome to comment and post about their point of view of contemporary American Buddhism, from all lineages.

Peace, and may this benefit all!
Sarva Mangalam!

Monday, August 20, 2007

remember the kids

as a person who works with kids who are having legal troubles, and then working with adults who often were legally troubled kids, I think it's important to make a place available for parents and kids to learn to meditate, perhaps without any Buddhist implication whatsoever. I often think: if these people had learned meditation, buddhism aside, it's possible they would have a different trajectory.


i think this dovetails a lot with our desire to provide programs from younger teachers with a distinctively cross-cultural message - that is the stuff that made the most difference to me as a younger practitioner coming into the dharma - people who were grounded in the tradition but speaking in my language and about stuff that was relevant to my life. not so much for tibetan texts etc.

so, in a word: younger, more cross-cultural, and sometimes more thematic - like addiction and dharma, or relationships and dharma, stuff like that.


I'd like to see some training/practice in Tonglen happen at NB/NW- it came up a lot at Nitartha and it seems like an integral practice for Bodhisattvas... I think that both young and older populations would be interested in it...

also, we got abisheka for Tara practice during retreat and I'd like to start doing that practice... both H.H. the 17th Karmapa & Rinpoche are really down with Tara, she's huge, and we should (I think) make efforts to do the practice...

Definitely gather the (young) potential umdze's and get us trained...

I think that monthly benefit concerts would be/could be really cool...

Appeal of Buddhism

As for being influential to the younger generation, Buddhism is
incredibly appealing for several reasons: 1)it is not opposed to the
methods and discoveries of modern science (and in fact often tries to incorporate them), while at the same time rejecting the extreme of scientific materialism, 2)it provides a thoroughly rational and experiential spiritual path, while rejecting dogma and religious fundamentalism, 3)it provides amazing, time-tested practices for spiritual realization that are not totally free and up in the air(preventing an 'anything goes' kind of mentality which can easily lead down dark paths), while understanding and working with individual differences and karmic propensities, 4) it promotes peace, harmony and cooperation with other beings and our collective environment, and 5)has many living practitioners who have attained a high level of realization and who can (and do) serve as teachers and examples for the rest of us

I'm sure there are many more, but these are the reasons that come most readily to mind, and certainly sources of inspiration that brought me to the path. The question is, how to make these things known to a wider audience?

In terms of things that I feel are missing, or at least are underdeveloped at this point, that may help towards this goal:

If we are trying to support Rinpoche's vision of transmitting the pure water of Dharma into the container of Western culture, then we should think about the way westerner's express themselves in terms of the arts, music, and the media. For example, I have not seen much in the way of Western Buddhist art (although maybe I just haven't been looking hard enough). We seem to just import the thangkas (sp),
statues, etc. created by Tibetans, Indians and other Asian cultures.

Not that the art isn't beautiful (I happen to love it!), but it can have that kind of foreign 'exotic' flavor that can sometimes cheapen it, and also relegates it to another place and time. It would be really interesting to see what Amero-Canadian artists could do to capture the essence of Dharma in contemporary western painting, sculpture, etc. Same goes for music (I'm kinda working on that one myself...) and theater, as well as radio/television programming and movies.

Outreach: while I don't think any of us are interested in becoming evangelical Buddhists, one of the things that continues to make Christianity so successful is the way it reaches out to people. Focusing specifically on younger people, one thing I've noticed is that on UW's campus, there are constantly Christian, Islamic and Jewish groups around who are inviting people to Bible, Koran, etc. studies, potlucks, prayer groups, activity groups with other religiously minded youth, etc. They also have lots of info sheets, stickers, and other good advertising materials that try to get out some fundamentals of what they're about. I've never really seen that with Buddhist groups, though I know almost for certain that there are 1000s of people at UW who have an interest in meditation, yoga, and some very vague Buddhist notions of karma, compassion, etc. However, it may not be readily apparent how to explore these interests other than by reading books or talking to a few like-minded (but also
largely ignorant) friends.

How can we go about promoting and providing access to the teachings and practices in non-aggressive but nevertheless visible way? I wouldn't mind starting a group on campus here (and perhaps there are others at Seattle University, Bastyr University, the local community colleges, etc who would be interested in doing the same thing) to help facilitate this. The only problem is that fall quarter may be my last at UW for awhile, which would make this endeavor difficult at best.


the one thing that comes to mind in observing shambhala's success with newer and younger members is the prevalence of hotties. we need more smoking young women in NB. that would certainly help, but seriously, the most important thing might be to have time and space for young people led by younger people who have been around for a while.

i think this is something where a little advertising around seattle could produce good draws, just offer some free instruction in short sessions for people under... 30? 35? there seems to be few of us in NB in that range right now, but we are in a unique position to introduce dharma in a fresh, hip way with colloquial language and examples. it's more reminiscent of us naropa friends talking dharma over drinks, and maybe that's where it would lead to after some of these teachings, thereby furthering a younger community.

Practical Upaya

One thing I've been thinking aboutis that it might be nice to offer a CPR training course for sangha members and local Buddhists. It might be a nice mundane-level extension of bodhisattva training and being ready to help in a wider variety of situations.

Also, in connection with such a program, might we also discuss how dharma centers would potentially serve as a safe haven in the event of a natural disaster such as an earthquake or tsunami?

Buddhism and Neuroscience

Reading Mingyur Rinpoche’s book, “Joy of Living” I think there could be a lot of interest in the biology of experience and its application to everyday life. The brain is a “pattern magnet” – neurons reaching out constantly, laying down tracks like the grooves in a record, or imaging on a CD. There’s of course a direct implication to the patterns that mind lays down and its relation to meditation and mindfulness. Karmic threads and traces. I think that programs that elucidate the kind of scientific research that Mingyur Rinpoche is teaching from his experience in the Mind and Life Institute [ ] would be very attractive to folks. Buddhists don’t study the material brain so much, but this is a great stepping stone to study and meditation on Mind for folks I think. Nitartha through the door of neurobiology…

"At the beginning of meditation training,
we identify (1) the observer, (2) the observed,
and (3) the observing act. As our practice matures,
these three become indistinguishable."

- Yongey Mingyur Dorje Rinpoche


(c) DPR

Hello lucky students!
Here is an online forum for 2nd Wave American Buddhists* to share their experience of being 21st century practitioners together.
Welcome to one and all (Go Rime!), and may this benefit all beings.
Sarva Mangalam!

2nd Wave American Buddhist: n. any and all who go for refuge in the 3 Jewels, live on either continent with "America" in its name, and happen to have been born on or after Jan. 1, 1967. (With unbounded love, appreciation, and respect to those born before). Discuss.