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Archive for May, 2009

This post has little to do with Buddhism, except that Michelle Maykin is a temple kid. She participates in Thai dance at the Berkeley Thai Temple. She also has acute myeloid leukemia.

Michelle MaykingFor a couple years now I’ve been aware of Project Michelle through various emails in the Vietnamese American community. Michelle is an incredible 27-year old who was diagnosed with AML in February 2007. Her amazing husband Van set aside grad school and started Project Michelle to find a bone marrow match. Through Wat Mongkolratanaram’s facebook group, I was recently alerted to the news that Michelle had relapsed after her cord blood stem cell transplant.

This was a reminder for me to sign up for the National Marrow Donor Registry, something I haven’t yet done.

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Buddhist monks“Dude, I just heard we’re not Western Buddhists!”

I’m at it again. I am sure that Kyle Lovett was entirely without ill motive when he wrote that he is not ashamed to be a Western Buddhist. He should not in any way be ashamed to be a Western Buddhist. But he should be ashamed of writing this:

For most of us Westerners, Buddhist study is not something we were born into, pressed into by culture, family or tradition, but approached by our own curiosity and initiative, with a free will and as true beginners. We all place logic, reason and good judgment over believing what is told to us out of a book or a sermon; relying on understanding over dogma and experience over blind faith.

We have, by our very open mindedness and divergent backgrounds made accessible the whole enigma that traditional Buddhism used to be, into something that is shared in an accessible and candid community. It is very difficult to find this anywhere else in this world, as practice for many traditional Buddhists is much more culturally based, and not often shared between denominations.

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Over the past week I haven’t made much time for blogging. But I still read the feeds, and I saw a post on Cambodia: Details are Sketchy this morning, which really touched my (Angry Asian Buddhist) heart.

They sure are lucky the white people are here to save them.

“After 24 hours of travel – starting in Rocklin and ending in Battambang, Cambodia – not counting layovers, our team has settled into life and ministry in Cambodia. Even though our afternoon activities were rained out today we have already visited two local churches in the Battambang area where we shared testimonies, sang, prayed, made some crafts, and just had fun and fellowship with brothers and sisters in Christ. Their stories are inspiring to us and we hope we have been an encouragement to them.

After church on Sunday we climbed 358 steps to visit the ruins of a Buddhist temple on top of a local mountain. We were glad to learn more about the beliefs of the Cambodian people but we were also reminded of the hopeless situation of those many people who have yet to put their trust in Jesus Christ.

Poor little suckers, all brown and poor and heathened.

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Honest Scrap Award

Honest Scrap Award

djbuddha was kind enough to award us the Honest Scrap Award a few weeks ago, but it’s taken us some time to communicate and post about this ourselves. There are three rules that go along with this award: (1) brag about it, (2) chose a minimum of seven blogs that we find brilliant, and (3) list ten honest things about ourselves. Since this is a group blog, we’ve decided to divide up the labor. This has taken a while, and for the sake of our own sanity, we’re keeping this short and sticking to the rules as best we can. We all brag. We each listed two blogs we find brilliant, for a total of eight. Finally, we each gave you three honest tidbits about ourselves, for a total of twelve. Thanks, Scott!

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The emergence of Western Buddhism has long been chronicled, and I have no doubt that should “Western Buddhism” ever coalesce Angry Little Asian Girlinto a coherent tradition, it will stand apart from all other Buddhist lineages by the phenomenal level at which its early members were so perpetually enthralled in talking and writing about what their new tradition would be. It’s not even clear to me who counts as a Western Buddhist and who doesn’t, but I understand that’s not the point. Western Buddhism will “just happen” by combining the best of East and West, and we’ll all be long gone by then. Western Buddhism is simply the next phase in Dharmic evolution.

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Ven. Shravasti Dhammika has an interesting recent post about Europe’s native Buddhists. If you’ve never heard of the Kalmyks, well guess what: they’re also Tibetan Buddhists!

Kalmyk Buddhists

Western Buddhist literature is most likely to focus on majority-Buddhist regions of the world, such as Thailand and Burma, but there are in fact many countries where there are large Buddhist communities that constitute a very small minority. Situated not far from where the 2014 Winter Olympics will be held, Kalmykia is one such community.

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Today is the day we celebrate Lord Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and parinibbana. This holiday is often accompanied by plenty of temple visits and merit making. (Temple hopping?) You’ll find me over at Dharma Vijaya this evening and Metta Forest Monastery tomorrow. Great events and lots of great food!

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