Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Announcement: Bhiksuni Dr. Karuna Dharma

We regret to inform you that Bhiksuni Dr. Karuna Dharma, one of the senior-most nuns in the United States and a founding member of Sakyadhita, is currently in critical condition in Sacramento. We request you to please send prayers and loving-kindness her way.

Bhiksuni Karuna Dharma has been a pioneer in the Buddhist community in Southern California since 1969, when she began studying with Dr. Thich Thien-an, founder of the first Vietnamese Buddhist temple in the United States. She took refuge in 1973 and bhiksuni precepts in 1976. She earned a BA in English from UCLA, two masters degrees in Secondary Education and Comparative Religion, and a doctorate (DDh 1979). Following Bhiksu Dr. Thien-an's passing in 1980, Bhiksuni Karuna became the abbess of the International Buddhist Meditation Center in Los Angeles. With Bhiksuni Prabhasa Dharma, she became a pioneer in ecumenical Buddhist dialogue.

In 1987 Bhiksuni Karuna Dharma attended the first Sakyadhita International Conference on Buddhist Women in Bodhgaya, India, where she presented a paper, "Nuns of Vietnam," that was later published in Sakyadhita: Daughters of the Buddha. After that conference, she took the initiative to register Sakyadhita as a nonprofit organization in the state of California. At the seventh Sakyadhita Conference in Taiwan in 2002, she presented a paper entitled "Bridging the Gap with Interreligious Dialogue" that was published in Bridging Worlds: Buddhist Women’s Voices Across Generations. At the eighth Sakyadhita Conference in Seoul in 2004, she presented a paper, "Buddhist Women’s Contributions in the West,” which was published in Out of the Shadows: Socially Engaged Buddhist Women. As abbess of the International Buddhist Meditation Center in Los Angeles, she has conducted ordinations for fifty nuns and served the Buddhist community in countless ways. Her story is told in Lenore Friedman's book, Meetings with Remarkable Women: Buddhist Teachers in America.

For up-to-date information on Bhiksuni Karuna Dharma, please visit the IBMCLA's Facebook page

Monday, November 25, 2013

Precedent from Early Arahants on the Bestowal of Bhikkhuni Ordination

by Ayya Tathālokā 

Mural at Wat Po
Written in commemoration of the lunar anniversary of our Venerable Foremother Saṅghamittā Therī’s arrival on Lankadvipa twenty-three centuries ago, as an inquiry into the ordination practices of our early arahant forebears, particularly those great Dhamma emissaries who spread the Buddha's teaching beyond the central heartland of the Indian Madhyadesa to foreign lands, far and wide in all directions.

 Great Activities of Early Arahants

We have heard and read that in the early days of the Buddha sāsana, while the Blessed One still lived and breathed and walked the dusty paths of India's ancient heartland, there were many fully enlightened women, bhikkhunī arahants. The Buddha’s beloved former wife , his foster mother, his half-sister, and many more Sakyan daughters were amongst the ladies of the Madhyadesa who became the Blessed One's foremost disciples, preeminent in all good qualities and virtues.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Mindful Eating: Five Ways to Develop a Skillful Relationship with Food

by Jan Chozen Bays

"The Buddha taught one thing, and one thing only: suffering and the end of suffering.” I heard Maha Gosananda repeat this phrase over and over to a gathering of Western Buddhist teachers. How ironic that in America, land of plenty, so many people struggle with food, suffering tremendous emotional distress, guilt, shame, and even premature death. Does Buddhism have anything to offer to relieve this kind of suffering? The facts are startling. Doctors predict that children born in the year 2000 have a 30 to 40 percent risk of Type 2 diabetes and may live shorter lives than their parents as a result.

Monday, November 11, 2013

104 Years of Practice

by Konchog Norbu

Venerable Amaa at the 2008 Sakyadhita International Conference in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

While there was no shortage of remarkable Buddhist women that I met when I lived in Mongolia (2005-2009), one stands out among them all: Venerable Amaa who, when I first met her in June 2008, was still strong in her practice at age 104.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Announcement: E-learning course on Bhikkhuni/Bhikshuni ordination

Mark your Calendars! Universität Hamburg's Numata Center for Buddhist Studies and the Women in Buddhism Study Initiative have announced an e-learning cour­se on Per­spec­ti­ves on Bhikk­hu­ni Or­di­na­ti­on, Summer Semes­ter, 2014. Registration begins February 1, 2014.

The cour­se in­tends to of­fer sound aca­de­mic re­se­arch on the le­gal qu­es­ti­ons, ba­sed on a study of the re­le­vant Vina­ya mate­rial, fol­lo­wed by an up­da­ted re­gio­nal sur­vey on the cur­rent si­tua­ti­on of nuns in the Thera­va­da and Mu­lasar­vas­ti­va­da tra­di­ti­ons.

Please visit this link for more information on the course. 

Monday, November 4, 2013

Invest Everything In Your Practice

by Kamala Masters

There was a reverential silence as the head nun prepared to shave my head for ordination as a Buddhist nun at the beginning of my participation in a two-month retreat. It was December of 2001 at the Forest Meditation Center of Sayadaw U Pandita, forty miles north of Yangon, Myanmar (aka Burma).

In the old, dark wooden office building, I sat in a rickety chair with a clean white towel around my shoulders. The head nun approached gracefully with the office scissors in her hand, and proceeded to take random handfuls of my thick dark hair, cutting closely to the scalp. There were no words exchanged. In between the clip, clip, clip of the scissors, the gulping sounds from my throat were clearly audible, and pregnant with astonishment.