Friday, February 27, 2009

Gay Love in Japan

The Beautiful Way of the Samurai
Native tradition and Hellenic echo

Toshiro Mifune, the popular actor famed for his characterizations of quick-witted, taciturn samurai, never uttered a word about it. Akira Kurosawa, the well-known movie director, kept inscrutably mum. Not one of the many hundreds of samurai movies made in the past century even as much as hinted at it nanshoku, the “love of the samurai”*. From its pivotal position in the education, code of honor, and erotic life of the samurai class, the love of youths has sunk below the level of the untouchable to the level of the unmentionable, truly “the love that dare not speak its name”. But the indelible fact remains that one of the fundamental aspects of samurai life was the emotional and sexual bond cultivated between an older warrior and a younger apprentice, a love for which the Japanese have many names, as many perhaps as the Eskimo have for snow.

The samurai often called it bi-do, “the beautiful way”, and guarded the tradition jealously. Ijiri Chusuke, in 1482 argued:

    “In our empire of Japan this way flourished from the time of the great master Kobo. In the abbeys of Kyoto and Kamakura, and in the world of the nobles and the warriors, lovers would swear perfect and eternal love relying on no more than their mutual good will. Whether their partners were noble or common, rich or poor, was absolutely of no importance… In all these case they were greatly moved by the spirit of this way. This way must be truly respected, and it must never be permitted to disappear.”


Homosexuality in the Japanese Buddhist Tradition

Thursday, February 26, 2009

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Just go to the site and click the button to donate. It's free.

Tibetans Greet New Year in Opposition

TONGREN, China — Snow fell across this mountain valley as red-robed monks in a prayer hall beat drums and chanted in tantric harmony, a seemingly auspicious start to Losar, the Tibetan New Year.

But a monk watching the ritual on Wednesday morning made it clear: This was a ceremony of mourning, not celebration.

“There is no Losar,” he said, standing in this monastery town on the edge of the Tibetan plateau. “They killed so many people last year.”

A few weeks ahead of the 50th anniversary of a failed Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule, and a year after a crackdown on renewed ethnic unrest in this area, Tibetans are quietly but irrepressibly seething. Monks, nomads and merchants have turned the joyous Losar holiday into a dirge, memorializing Tibetans who died in last year’s conflict and pining for the return of the exiled Dalai Lama.

An informal grass-roots boycott is under way. Tibetans are forsaking dancing and dinner parties for vigils with yak-butter candles and the chanting of prayers. The Losar campaign signifies the discontent that many of China’s six million Tibetans still feel toward domination by the ethnic Han Chinese. They are resisting pressure by Chinese officials to celebrate and forget.

“It’s a conscious awakening of an entire people,” said Woeser, a popular Tibetan blogger.

Tibetans here and in other towns, including in Lhasa, the Tibetan capital, say government officials have handed out money to Tibetans to entice them to hold exuberant new year parties. On Wednesday, state-run television showed Tibetans in Lhasa dancing, shooting off fireworks and feasting in their homes.

At the same time, the government has drawn a curtain across Tibet. Officials have shut down access to many Tibetan regions to foreigners and sent armed guards to patrol the streets.


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Don't Buy Here: 10 Companies That Hate The Gays

With the economy ever tanking, now is as good a time as any to take stock of where your gay dollars are going. You may not have much (or, thanks to prudent investing in gold and shares in Mr. Hobo J. Poverschmidt's Hobo Sticks Emporium, you may have quite a bit), so why spend it on companies whose executives use their cash to fund anti-gay bills or who refuse their gay employees the same benefits as their straight co-workers? With legislators using the economy as an excuse not to move on gay rights bills, we present this list so that you can vote with your dollar and hit homophobic executives where it hurts most.

These are the 10 worst companies for gays and lesbians, chosen for their national influence, prominence, history of corporate bigotry and the likelihood you can do something about it. Not a single one of them deserves a nickel.


Sunday, February 22, 2009

White Crane's Gay Wisdom List

This group is an announce and sharing list operated by White Crane Institute as an extension of its publication White Crane, a journal of Gay Wisdom and Culture.

For two decades, White Crane has provided insights into Gay life through a critically lauded quarterly publication of reader-written writings and interviews with Gay writers, artists and activists.

"Committed to the certainty that Gay consciousness plays a special and important role in the evolution of life on Earth, White Crane exists to explore the variety of ways contemporary Gay men discern a more meaningful life.

"a literate, intelligent-and, at the same time, provocative and ground-breaking, scholarly quarterly of gay culture." Lambda Book Report

"Each issue is a triumph over the looming mediocrity of the mainstream gay world. The magazine's heart, soul, and intelligence speak well of the hope that is the essence of Gay spirit. Every Gay man with a conscience should subscribe to and support this journal!" Mark Thompson

"White Crane is a great read and a mind feast. I enjoy the balance that White Crane tries and succeeds in putting forward in its pages." L. Allen, Kentucky

UTNE Independent Press Award Nominee (2004)


Saturday, February 21, 2009

24 Hours To Die

Raj asked Buddha, “Reverend Sir, how come my mind wanders around to forbidden places and yours does not?” “Sir, how come I do back-biting and you don't?” “Sir, how come I don't have compassion for others, while you have?” All the questions that Raj asked were of similar nature.

Buddha replied, “Raj, your questions are good, but it seems to me that in 24 hours from now you will die.”

Raj got up and started getting ready to go.

Buddha asked, “Raj, what happened? You came with such vitality now you are totally dismayed.”

Raj said, “Sir, my mother told me that your words are true and are to be held in high esteem. So please let me go so that I may meet my family members, friends and others before I die.”

Buddha said, “But there are still 24 hours. Sit, we will talk more.”

Raj said, “Reverend Sir, please let me go. I must meet my people before I die.”

So Raj left and went home. Met his mother and started crying. The word spread. His friends came; other family members came; neighbors came. Everyone was crying with Raj. Time flew.

Raj was busy either crying or counting the hours. When only 3 hours were left, he pulled up a cot and lay down. Although the Death had not yet arrived, poor Raj was kind of dead.

When only an hour was left, Buddha walked in.

Buddha said to Raj, “Raj, why are you lying down on the cot with your closed eyes. Death is still an hour away. And an hour is 60 minutes long. That's a lot of time. Get up, let us talk.”

Raj: “Sir, what is it now that you want to talk? Just let me die peacefully.”

Buddha: “Raj, there is still time and our talk will get over before the 'ordained' time.”

Raj: “Okay, Sir . . . say what you have to say.”

Buddha: “In the past 24 hours, did you curse anyone?”

Raj: “How could I curse anyone? I was all the time thinking about death.”

Buddha: “In the past 24 hours, did you think or wish ill for anyone?”

Raj: “How could I do that? I was all the time thinking about death.”

Buddha: “In the past 24 hours, did you steal?”

Raj: “Sir, how can you even ask that? I was all the time thinking about death.”

Finally the Buddha said, “Raj, I don't know who has to die and who has to live. But understanding the ultimate truth — i.e. death — can be very enlightening. All the questions you posed to me have been answered by yourself because of the awareness of death that you experienced during the past 24 hours. The difference between me and you is that you were aware of death for the past 24 hours, I have been aware for the past 24 years.”


Ask A Urinal - Wisdom From Bathroom Graffitti


Friday, February 20, 2009

Tricycle Interview with Taitetsu and Mark Unno

The Buddha of Infinite Light and Life

Mark and Taitetsu Unno speak with Tricycle’s Jeff Wilson about the subtle wisdom at the heart of Pure Land Buddhist practice.

Taitetsu Unno, professor emeritus of religious studies at Smith College, is one of the major figures in post–World War II American Jodo Shinshu Buddhism. Besides his numerous scholarly publications on Buddhism, his books River of Fire, River of Water: An Introduction to the Pure Land Tradition of Shin Buddhism (Doubleday, 1998) and Shin Buddhism: Bits of Rubble Turn into Gold (Doubleday, 2002) have helped many people to discover the riches of this major Buddhist tradition. His son, Mark Unno, is also a professor of Buddhism (at the University of Oregon); he is the author of Shingon Refractions: Myoe and the Mantra of Light (Wisdom Publications, 2004), about Japanese Vajrayana Buddhism, and the editor of Buddhism and Psychotherapy Across Cultures: Essays on Theories and Practices (Wisdom Publications, 2006).

Mark and Taitetsu Unno
Mark Unno (left) and his father, Taitetsu Unno, areboth Buddhst scholars and Shin priests

The Unnos are both ordained priests in the Jodo Shinshu (Shin) tradition of Pure Land Buddhism and lead an annual Shin retreat in mid-July at the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies, in Barre, Massachusetts. This interview was conducted between sessions at the 2008 retreat. As we sat in the lounge outside the center’s dharma hall, our conversation turned to the nembutsu, Shin Buddhism’s central practice. The nembutsu is a short chant—Namu Amida Butsu—that means “I entrust myself to the Buddha of Infinite Light and Life.” The attributes of light and life are understood as standing for great wisdom and compassion, which are embodied in Amida Butsu (Sanskrit, Amitabha Buddha). In the traditional sutras ascribed to the historical Buddha, Amida is described as existing in a Pure Land, a realm of bliss that is very close to nirvana, or complete liberation.

Devotion to Amida was present in the early phases of the Mahayana movement in the first century BCE and spread throughout most of Buddhist Asia, but it was in China and especially in Japan that it began to take on elements of a distinctive school. Today, the nembutsu is a common practice in virtually all forms of East Asian Buddhism, but as the Unnos pointed out, it has a particular interpretation in Shin Buddhism. For Shin followers, Amida Buddha is a manifestation of true reality, of emptiness or suchness, and the nembutsu manifests Amida Buddha. The nembutsu was recommended by Shinran (1173–1262), the founder of Jodo Shinshu, because it can be performed by anyone, anywhere, anytime. The ease of Shin practice, combined with its determined lay orientation and spirit of humility and deep self-introspection, has helped make Jodo Shinshu the most widely practiced form of Buddhism in Japan. Brought to Hawaii and North America by Japanese immigrants in the nineteenth century, it is the oldest organized form of Western Buddhism and continues to nurture tens of thousands in the United States and Canada today.


Thursday, February 19, 2009

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Dear Friend,

Losar, the Tibetan New Year, begins next week on Wednesday, February 25. Usually, Losar is a joyous time for Tibetans in Tibet and those in exile around the world.

The first three days of Losar are a time for family—but celebrations extend beyond the household and neighbors are greeted joyfully with cries of “Tashi Delek!” (or “good fortune!”). On the first day of Losar, Tibetan families visit monasteries to celebrate the New Year. People bring offerings of incense and juniper branches to be burned, filling the air with a delicious perfume. A spirit of happiness and hope reigns.


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This year’s celebration will be very different.

An anonymous Tibetan blogger posted the following on a Chinese-language, Tibetan-run website recently:

"The 2009 Losar was always going to be unusual because so many people have been killed. In our family, our father can never come back, our mother has visibly aged, uncles and brothers have been detained—some of whom we still don't whether they're dead or alive. Last night, the eldest brother in the neighbor's family was taken away...

“I myself will not be celebrating the new year because those who died were my compatriots, and I knew several of those who died—they were shot dead. I haven't dared call home since March of last year because I don't want to cause them any trouble. And so I don't know how they are. I've had no information on them, and just hope they're okay."

In a posting entitled "Let Us Make Lamp Offerings and Light Candles to Commemorate the Souls of the Deceased," the Tibetan writer Woeser wrote:

“...let us light butter lamps to make offerings in memory of the deceased, whose exact number we still do not know, in the corners where the video surveillance can not reach. Furthermore, those of us who live in alien lands and do not have butter lamps to offer, let us light candles for those deceased whose exact number we still do not know.”

ICT will stand with our Tibetan friends in Tibet and around the world next week and observe Losar in quiet remembrance of the deceased and the missing—for all those who have sacrificed and endured so much in pursuit of the simple dignity and freedom of their culture and heritage.

We encourage all of our friends to observe a moment of silence next Wednesday, February 25—whether it be for prayer, meditation, or quiet contemplation—and to light a candle in symbolic support of this cause that unites us with 6 million Tibetans and countless others around the globe.

Thank you for standing with ICT and Tibet.

In solidarity,

John Ackerly Sig
John Ackerly

P.S. For more about the current situation inside Tibet, read our recent news report, Tibetans “in mourning” as Chinese New Year begins.

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International Campaign for Tibet
1825 Jefferson Place NW | Washington, DC 20036 | 202-785-1515

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

In China, A Different Brand of Buddhism

Ethnic Han Turning To Tibetan Doctrine For Guidance

By Maureen Fan
Washington Post Foreign Service
Thursday, February 19, 2009; A10

HUANGSONGYU RESERVOIR, China -- The Buddhists came by the busload to this partially frozen reservoir about 55 miles north of Beijing. In the morning, they released 53,000 fish into holes cut in the ice. In the afternoon, they walked clockwise around a bonfire in the courtyard of a windswept rural hotel, chanting incantations against evil as volunteers threw cooking oil, beans, fruit and cigarettes onto the flames.

The participants were 200 Han Chinese, the ethnic designation of most people on the mainland, but their teachers, or "masters," were Tibetan monks, including Yixi, a lama, or senior monk, from Shigatse, Tibet, who presided over the unusual and unofficial ceremony last week from between two enormous vases of tulips.

"The lama who hosted this has great achievements in Buddhism, so the power and merit of releasing fish with him is much greater than if ordinary people release fish," said Zheng Jinbao, a 36-year-old vegetable dealer who, like the others, had heard about the out-of-the-way animal-rescue ceremony by word of mouth. "Several years ago, only 10 people at a time attended fish releases, but now, more than 100 people come each time."

While statistics are hard to come by, monks, followers and experts say that growing numbers of middle-class Chinese are turning to Tibetan Buddhism, driven by the perception of a spiritual vacuum in society and aided by the voluminous information available on the Internet. Communist Party officials and celebrities alike have embraced Tibetan Buddhism, despite having to worship at home, meet their lamas at night and run the risk of attending officially unauthorized events, such as the fish release and "fire sacrifice" at Huangsongyu Reservoir.

China's Communist Party tightly regulates religious activity, especially the banned Falun Gong sect, but allows wide latitude for many law-abiding Catholics and Protestants who meet in unofficial house churches. Tibetan Buddhists however, are in a different category.

Their spiritual leader is the Dalai Lama, whom Beijing blames for stoking the deadly riots in Lhasa last March. Although he won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989, the Dalai Lama is routinely described in official state media reports as a wolf in monk's clothing, an evil and dangerous separatist. In December, China stunned European leaders by canceling a summit on the economic crisis because the E.U. president had planned to meet the Dalai Lama the same week.


Rehabilitating Mr. Wiggles


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Was George Washington a Gay Pot Smoker?

by Harvey Wasserman

Did George Washington raise hemp? Did he smoke it? Was he gay?

The easy answers are definitely, probably, and maybe.

The questions arise with pre-publication of the shocking satire Passions of the Patriots by Thomas Paine, which opens with Le General in the hemp-filled embrace of his beloved Marquis de Lafayette.

As Washington's February 22nd birthday approaches, his personal habits say much about today's America.


Gay/Straight, Man/Woman, Self/Other

What Would the Buddha Have Had to Say About Gay Liberation?

An interview with Jose Cabezon
by Amy Edelstein

Jose Cabezon


On June 11, 1997, in San Francisco, gay Buddhist activists met with H. H. the Dalai Lama to take the revered Tibetan Buddhist leader to task for his position that gay sexuality was in violation of Buddhist sexual ethics. In his book Beyond Dogma, the Dalai Lama cites Buddhist rules that classify homosexual activity as misconduct. For practicing Buddhists, the indisputable implication of this contemporary publication was that if one were gay and sexually active, one couldn't be a Buddhist in good standing. Faithful gay Buddhists were upset. Among the eight gay and lesbian leaders assembled to discuss this sensitive issue with the eminent celibate monk was Jose Cabezon, former translator to His Holiness, Professor of Philosophy at Iliff School of Theology and self-described gay Buddhist. I was intrigued by the furor that had erupted and began to wonder—setting aside the doctrinal debate over the modern interpretation of Buddhist law—how relevant is one's sexual orientation to enlightenment, the ultimate goal of the Buddhist path?

When I thought about gay liberation and Buddhist liberation, I saw technicolor. Loud, flamboyant images, evocative poetry, outrageous creative escapades . . . Allen Ginsberg, John Giorno, the beatniks. Adventurous men who, from the Bowery to San Francisco to the banks of the Ganges and the hilltops of Darjeeling, brought us mixed metaphors of uninhibited male love and Eastern spiritual pursuit. These unusual men took these metaphors into the public arena, out of the privacy of the bedroom and the silence of the meditation hall. Over one million people called in to hear Giorno's passionate and often provocative dial-a-poems. In places as conservative as Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in the 1970s Allen Ginsberg chanted verses about nirvana, satori [enlightenment experiences] and male sexual ecstasy while his lover droned in the background on a harmonium, sparking the spirit of the quest in countless young poets, myself among them. I thought of Whitman and the transcendentalists. I thought of a movement associated with an endless crescendo of epiphanies, with an ecstatic celebration of the divine in the human body, a movement propelled by a great energy, fueled by defying convention and breaking boundaries—in search, in search of something beyond, something ecstatic, exalted, something both immanent and transcendent.


Monday, February 16, 2009



Rev Taitetsu Unno


Yes, but a proper Buddhist answer requires some clarification. In the depth of human awareness is a supreme reality who is boundless in compassion and immeasurable in wisdom and who is involved in the endless activity to enlighten all existence.

Amida Buddha is this fullness of compassion, and his sole concern is the expression of unconditional love to every form of life.


Amida Buddha differs radically from the traditional Judeo-Christian concept of God, because of the following characteristics:

1. Amida Buddha is not a creator, but he is a savior who performs his compassionate work without any condition whatsoever.

2. Amida Buddha does not judge or punish man, for man is responsible for his own acts and invites the consequences, good or bad, of his acts.

3. Amida Buddha does not perform miracles, but he manifests his saving compassion through the rhythm of natural laws.

4. Amida Buddha is not transcendent, standing outside this world; but he is immanent, for his very being is rooted in the limitations of this world which will be transformed by the power of Amida's love.

5. Amida Buddha is not a wrathful or jealous God; rather, the power of compassion fulfilled in his Original Vow completes the promise that he will not rest until all beings attain the same enlightenment, Buddhahood, as himself.

6. Amida Buddha does not discriminate in any form, whether of belief or creed, moral good or moral evil, human life or animal life, but he embraces all in Oneness with equal warmth.

7. Amida Buddha does not show his love by the blood of crucifixion, sacrificing his own being, but by making his compassion accessible to mankind through the Nembutsu, his sacred name, which resounds throughout the universe.

Wherever his sacred name, Namu Amida Butsu, is pronounced, there he is.

Amida Buddha is the timeless content of enlightenment realized by the historical Buddha, Shakyamuni. Amida means boundless compassion and immeasurable wisdom. Immeasurable wisdom sees into the fragility of human life, and boundless compassion is moved by this insight to actively embrace all life into the timeless fulfillment of truth.


Shakyamuni was asked many questions which are being asked today: such as,

Is there a God?

Who created the world?

Is there life after death?

Where is heaven and hell?

The classic answer given by the Buddha was silence. He refused to answer these questions purposely, because "these profit not, nor have they anything to do with the fundamentals of the religious life, nor do they lead to Supreme Wisdom, the Bliss of Nirvana."

Even if answers were given, he said, "there still remains the problems of birth, old age, death, sorrow, lamentation, misery, grief, and despair--all the grim facts of life--and it is for their extinction that I prescribe my teachings."


By his silence Shakyamuni wanted to divert our attention from fruitless questions to the all-important task before us: solving life's problems and living a life which would bring happiness to self as well as others.

To a follower who insisted on knowing, "Is there a God?", Shakyamuni replied with the parable of the poison arrow. "If you were shot by a poison arrow, and a doctor was summoned to extract it, what would you do? Would you ask such questions as who shot the arrow, from which tribe did he come, who made the arrow, who made the poison, etc., or would you have the doctor immediately pull out the arrow?"

"Of course," replied the man, "I would have the arrow pulled out as quickly as possible." The Buddha concluded, "That is wise O disciple, for the task before us is the solving of life's problems; when that is done, you may still ask the questions you put before me, if you so desire."


In Buddhism the teaching is a vehicle or a vessel. The value of a vehicle lies in its function of transporting man to his destination. Unless a vehicle, such as an automobile, is used, it is valueless. In fact, it is no longer a vehicle; it is a decoration piece.

The teaching must be practiced, if it is going to be of value in transporting us from the life of anxiety to a life of serenity. When the teaching is not practiced, it is like carrying around a vehicle on our backs without ever putting it to our use.

It is meaningless to discuss faith, enlightenment, and other goals, if we do not commit ourselves to the supreme importance of practicing the teaching in our homes and communities. "The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."


To make others happy is the basic practice taught by Shakyamuni. It is a simple truth to learn, but a difficult practice to fully realize. In personal life it means to act by placing ourselves in the position of another, and in community life it means to give service with joy and gratitude for the betterment of all.

As a guide to making others happy, we can practice the Four Immeasurable Attitudes: friendliness, compassion, joy and equanimity. Friendliness is the constant endeavor to make others happy, compassion is the earnest attempt to alleviate discomfort and pain in those around us, joy is to be happy for the sake of another’s happiness, and equanimity is the source of wisdom which helps us practice these equally to all life and after they are practiced not to become attached to them.

The practice of making others happy is based upon the clear understanding of life which is Oneness or interdependence. Since life is a dependently originated complex, when we make another unhappy, our world is that much unhappier: and when we make another happy, our world is that much happier. In the understanding of Oneness we realize that there is no enemy to love, for we are parts of one living organic whole.

But people will say that this practice is too simple without trying or after trying will give up easily to revert to indifference; therefore, the stress is made on effort, patience, and perseverance--the most important practices within the Eightfold Path and the Six Paramitas.


The purpose of the practice is to make me aware of the fabric of my existence. In my attempts to make others happy I grow in understanding of myself; I become sensitive to the fragile good within me and the unreliability of my selfish whims. I realize the 84,000 blind passions within me for which Buddhism teaches 84,000 ways of deliverance. In ratio to the growing awareness of my limitations is the growing awareness of absolute compassion. Ultimately, I am made to drop my reliance upon by blind self, my self power, and I find a growing faith of my true self, nurtured by the stimulating compassion of Amida Buddha, the absolute other power.

In the scriptures it states, "If you desire to see the Buddha, you must see his form. If you wish to see his form, you must see his heart. And the heart of Buddha is great compassion." Great compassion vibrates in the heart of man who has been freed from attachment to blind self. This vibration, this response, helps us effectively realize the practice of making others happy.


Amida Buddha is in the depth of my existential awareness. Without my awareness, there is no Amida Buddha. A famous Shin-shu work repeats, "When the faithful awakens to faith, for the first time a Buddha is born." This, of course, is the realization of man.

From the side of Amida Buddha, he has been with me from the beginningless beginning, striving to awaken me from the blind forces of my karma which cause the agitations of my life. Amida Buddha will not rest until the ripening of favorable conditions brings to fruition my awareness of my karmic bondage and transforms my whole being into the substance of enlightenment.

When the ultimate concern of Amida Buddha for this blind self is realized in my existential awareness, then I am at the very heart of living peace. From this center flows forth the name of Amida, Namu Amida Butsu, recited as the prayer of my gratitude. A new sense of being and a fresh source of strength are provided me as the basis of a creative morality and action, for wherever the name is recited, there he is.


No, not a God of fear and mercy, who is creator and judge; but for me there is Amida Buddha. The fullness of compassion covers the horizon of my existential experience of reality, and my response is the reciting of the name in humbleness and gratitude, Namu Amida Butsu.

(Rev Taitetsu Unno was Assistant Minister at the Senshin Buddhist Church and

UCLA lecturer when this piece was originally written.)


I found this essay here. I decided to repost it instead of linking because there were several misspelled words and I just can't handle that (LOL).

HEART TO HEART: A Program for the LGBT Dharma Community DVD

by The Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche

Dharma practitioners from the LGBT community face numerous obstacles both in life and in the practice of dharma. Here, The Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche teaches about the Buddhist path of practice, skillfully relating each topic to issues that arise for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community of practitioners. The topics Rinpoche addresses include conceptual labeling and discrimination, working with desire or passion in the three yanas, and cultivating healthy relationships. Rinpoche concludes by talking about Buddha's teaching on the fundamental nature and potential of all sentient beings, and follows up by answering an array of questions.
2-DVD set.
# HETOHE - $ 24.00

Snow Lion

Saturday, February 14, 2009

TN church shooter: 'Know This If Nothing Else: This Was A Hate Crime'

by: Pam Spaulding

Fri Feb 13, 2009 at 13:00:00 PM EST

Back in July of last year, Jim Adkisson, 58, opened fire with a shotgun during an event at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church, where more than 200 people were attending a performance of "Annie"). It was also later learned that the Knoxville congregation had also recently put up a sign to publicly welcome LGBTs to worship.

When law enforcement officials searched Adkisson's home, they found "Liberalism is a Mental Health Disorder" by radio talk show host Michael Savage, "Let Freedom Ring" by talk show host Sean Hannity, and "The O'Reilly Factor," by television talk show host Bill O'Reilly.


Zen Hospice Project

"Inspired by a 2,500 year-old tradition, Zen Hospice Project aims at cultivating wisdom and compassion through service. We provide a spectrum of collaborative services in end-of-life care, including residential hospice care, volunteer programs, and public education events, which support mutually beneficial relationships among caregivers and individuals facing death.

Zen Hospice Project is internationally recognized as having changed the way in which we care for the dying. We are seen as a leading innovator in training, supporting, and retaining volunteer caregivers."


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Footprints carved in wood, which locals believe were made by a worshipper who prayed at the same spot for decades, are seen at a monastery near Tongren, Qinghai province February 5, 2009. Local Tibetan monks and pilgrims gather to celebrate Monlam, or Great Prayer Festival, one of the most important festivals in Tibetan Buddhism.

REUTERS/Reinhard Krause (CHINA)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Gay artist links body and spirit

“Angels Consorting” by Stephen Mead
Mixed media on canvas,incorporated into the DVD “Captioned Closeness

Sexuality and spirituality unite beautifully in the work of gay artist Stephen Mead of New York.

Lesbian angels enfold each other in glittering wings as they make love in “Angels Consorting” (see above). Gay angels sleep wrapped in each other’s arms with naked vulnerability in “Angels Sleeping Unawares”(see below). Angels are usually presented as neutered, asexual beings. Mead delights the eye and does great service by showing that the messengers of God can be erotically alive.

Both angel paintings are part of “Blue Heart Diary,” a meditative series about the universality of struggle, both global and personal. Like much of Mead’s work, it fuses art and poetry. The actual written work is over a thousand lines long with several hundred images spanning over two decades. A video sets some of the images to music, creating a meditative experience that is both soothing and thought-provoking. The angel paintings also appear on his DVD “Captioned Closeness” at

Center for Inquiry

Darwin Day is a world-wide tribute to a great scientist who changed forever our perception of the human species and the nature of life. This year, the Center for Inquiry is honoring Darwin with a special video project:

Darwin Aloud

This Darwin Day, we're asking people all over the world to shoot video of themselves reading from the poetic last chapter of The Origin of Species while standing in front of famous landmarks in their countries. Then, as a tribute to Darwin's Theory of Evolution, the grand unifying concept of biology that unifies all of us and all life on Earth, we'll collect all this video and assemble the footage into a film dedicated to Darwin and honoring his accomplishments.

"Despite overwhelming evidence in support of evolution, Darwin's theory has seen a lot of resistance and even hostility, especially in the past few decades," said James Underdown, Executive Director of CFI Los Angeles and creator of the project. "We in the pro-science community want to make it clear that the whole world supports Darwin's idea, regardless of background or location."

To learn more about Darwin Aloud, including tips on how best to read, film, and submit your segment, please visit You can even download a Letter to your Friends, telling them about Darwin Aloud and inviting them to participate.

Please help us spread the word!
Forward this email or "Tell a Friend" using the link at the bottom of this page!
Video can be shot at any time, but be sure to send in your clips by March 23!

If you're looking for other ways to celebrate Darwin Day, the Center for Inquiry is also sponsoring other Darwin Day activities across the U.S. and Canada. Check the list below for a party near you!

Happy Darwin Day!

CFI Amherst, New York – 3965 Rensch Road, Amherst, NY
Thursday, February 12, 7:00PM
“Exploring Evolutionary Theory in Practice” - 200th Birthday Celebration for Charles Darwin

CFI Austin, Texas
Sunday, February 15, 12:00PM – 9:00PM
Kids' Events, Lectures, and a Special Darwin Dinner
BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd., Austin, and First Unitarian Universalist Church of Austin, 4700 Grover Avenue, Austin, TX

CFI Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Thursday, February 12, 7:00PM
“Celebrating Charles Darwin and Origin of Species”
The Twisted Element, 1006 11 Avenue, SW, Calgary, AB

CFI Daytona Beach, Florida
Sunday, February 8, 12:00 Noon

“The Real Charles Darwin” with Jim Strayer
Red Lobster Restaurant, 2735 N. Atlantic Avenue, Daytona Beach, FL

CFI Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Saturday, February 7, 10:00AM
“A Celebration of Science” with lectures and kids activities
Long Key Nature Center, 3501 SW 130 Avenue, Davie, FL

CFI Indiana – 350 Canal Walk, Suite A, Indianapolis, IN
Thursday, February 12, 2:00 PM – 9:00PM

Happy 200th Birthday Party for Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln
CFI Indiana, 350 Canal Walk Suite A, Indianapolis, IN

CFI Long Island, New York
Friday, February 13, All Day

SUNY @ Stony Brook Darwin Day Celebration: videos, exhibits, discussions, and a special lecture with Dr. Stephen C. Stearns
Student Activity Center, SUNY Stony Brook (

CFI Los Angeles, CA – 4773 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, CA (All three events at CFI LA)
Thursday, February 12, 8:00PM
“Meeting of Minds” - On-stage at the Steve Allen Theater with Darwin, Galileo, Emily Dickenson, and Attila the Hun

Sunday, February 15, 11:00AM
"Darwin and Lincoln's Revolutionary Lives" with David Contosta

Sunday, February 15, 4:00PM
“A Dangerous Descent” a new play by Colin Cox

CFI Michigan
Wednesday, February 11, 7:00PM – 8:30PM
“Evolution Exposed: Would You Know It if You Saw It?” with Dr. Gregory Forbes, Institute for Evolution Education
Women's City Club, 254 E. Fulton, Grand Rapids, MI

CFI New York City, New York
Saturday, February 7, 2:00PM – 5:00PM
Darwin Day Family Festival with kids activities, panel discussion, and a birthday party
New York Society for Ethical Culture, 2 West 64th Street, NYC

CFI Northeast Ohio
Wednesday, February 11, 7:00PM – 8:45PM
"Designed For Extinction: What the Poor Design of Organisms Tells Us about the Mind of the Creator” with Dr. Patricia Princehouse.
Independence Library, 6361 Selig Road, Independence, OH

CFI Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Thursday, February 12, 6:00PM-9:00PM
“The Darwin Project” Dinner and lecture with Dr. David Campbell
Francesco’s Restaurant, Rt. 51, South Hills, PA

CFI Southern Arizona
Sunday, February 15, 1:30PM
“Revisiting Darwin’s Theory and Puncturing Some Common Misconceptions” with Dr. Joanna Masel.
University of Arizona, Duval Auditorium, UMC, 1501 North Campbell Avenue, Tucson, AZ

CFI Tallahassee, Florida
March 16-28, Various Times and Multiple Venues

“Origins ‘09” – Two weeks of lectures and events celebrating science and humanism hosted by Florida State University and the Tallahassee community

CFI Toronto, Ontario, Canada – 216 Beverley St., Toronto, ONT
February 9-13, Various Times

“Darwin Week” featuring book discussion, movies, lectures, and a birthday party

CFI Washington D.C.
Sunday, February 15, 12:00PM – 2:00PM

"Orchids Through Darwin's Eyes"
National Museum of Natural History, 10th St. & Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, DC

Monday, February 9, 2009

Padmasambhava 3

-- Revealed by Karma Lingpa.

The Vajra Guru Mantra is the mantra associated with Guru Rinpoche, also known as Padmasambhava. This is a draft translation of a treasure text which explains the Vajra Guru Mantra. It was originally concealed during the time of Padmasambhava in Tibet and later rediscovered by Karma Lingpa (14th century) who brought it forth from its place of concealment and copied it down on reams of gold. It is simply known as "The Syllable by Syllable Commentary Explaining the Benefits of the Vajra Guru Mantra." It begins with an invocation and then goes into a dialogue between Yeshe Tsogyal, the spiritual consort of Padmasambhava, and Padmasambhava himself.

And so, Yeshe Tsogyal begins:

I, the woman Yeshe Tsogyal, having offered to you the inner and outer mandala on a vast scale, have the following request. Oh great teacher, Pema Jungne, you have been extremely kind to us, the Tibetan people, leaving for us a legacy that will benefit us now and in future lives. Your kindness is so great that we have never experienced anything like this before, nor will we ever experience anything like this in the future. In particular, so that now even though I am a humble person, I have no doubt that I will attain enlightenment.

In the future, sentient beings will have very short attention spans and a great many things will clutter and occupy their minds. Their characters will be rough and difficult to tame. They will develop many wrong views towards the sacred Dharma. In particular, a time will come when people will cast dispersions on the Secret Mantra teaching of the unsurpassable levels of tantra. At that time, all sentient beings will suffer heavily from disease, famine, and war. Because of the spread of these three calamities, in particular, China, Tibet and Mongolia will experience the same kind of turmoil as an ant's nest when it is destroyed, and the time will come for the
people of Tibet to suffer greatly. Though you have spoken at length of many skillful means to salvage what is possible from that situation, sentient beings in the future will not have the time to practice. Even though they may have some slight inclination to practice, they will encounter many great obstacles. Sentient beings will experience a great deal of disharmony. They won't be able to get along or reach any kind of accord, and in the wake of this, their behavior will become very impure. Bad times such as this will be
very difficult to avert. That being the case, what kinds of benefits and advantages would there be for those beings in the future were they to rely solely upon the Vajra Guru Mantra as their practice? I ask you to relate this for the benefit of individuals in the future who are not able to perceive this and therefore have to have it explained to them.

Then the great master, Pema Jungne replied:

Oh faithful lady, what you have said is so very true. In the future, such times will befall sentient beings and both in a temporary and in a long term sense, the benefits of the Vajra Guru mantra can be definitely be felt. Since my spiritual instructions and the methods of practice that I offer are immeasurable, I have hidden a great number of treasure teachings in the water, rocks, the sky and so forth. In these evil times, even individuals with fortunate karma will find it difficult to encounter these teachings. It will be difficult to bring together the necessary circumstances for these teachings to be revealed. This is a sign that the collective merit of beings is on the wane.

However, at such times, if this essence mantra, the Vajra Guru mantra, is repeated as much as possible, a hundred times, a thousand times, ten thousand times, a hundred thousand times, a million, ten million, a hundred million times and so forth, if it is repeated in holy places, in temples, next to great rivers, in areas where gods and demons abound, if it is recited in these places by tantric practitioners with pure samaya, by people with monastic ordination who maintain their vows purely, by men and women who
possess faith in the teachings, if they give rise to bodhicitta on a grand scale and recite this mantra, then the benefits and advantages and energy of such practice are truly inconceivable. This will avert all of the negative forces of disease, famine, unrest, bad harvests and all bad omens and indications in all the countries of the world, such that the rain will fall in a timely manner for the crops so there will always be a plentiful supply of water for agriculture and for human and animal life, and all regions and areas will experience prosperity and auspicious conditions.

In this life, in future lives, and in the intermediate state between death and rebirth, these individuals who practice in this way will meet with me again and again. The very best of these individuals will actually meet me in their waking consciousness. Those of middling degree of attainment will meet with me again and again in their dreams. Gradually perfecting the different paths and levels of their practice, they will attain to the ranks of the masculine and feminine holders of intrinsic awareness in my pure land in the continent of Ngayab. Have no doubt of this.

If this mantra is recited a hundred times a day, merely a hundred times a day without interruption, one will become attractive to others and will effortlessly come by food and wealth and the necessities of life.

If one recites it a thousand or ten thousand times on a daily basis, one is able to literally overwhelm others with one's brilliance, in the sense of becoming very charismatic and influential in exerting a positive influence over others, and one will gain unhindered force of blessings and spiritual power.

If one repeats it a hundred thousand or a million times on a regular basis one will become capable of effecting an immeasurably great benefit for beings, exactly as one would wish to.

If one recites the mantra three or seven million times, one is never separate from the buddhas of the three times and one becomes inseparable from me. All the gods and demons of existence will attend to one and offer their praises.

In the most excellent cases, individuals will attain the rainbow body, and the final level of attainment in this lifetime. On a more middling level, at the moment of death, the mother and child aspects of radiant luminosity will meet. At the very least, individuals will behold my face in the bardo state and all the appearances of the bardo state will be free in their own ground such that these individuals will be reborn on the continent of Ngayab and from that vantage point, be able to accomplish an immeasurable amount of
benefit to beings. Thus the Guru replied to Yeshe Tsogyal.

She responded by saying:

Oh great master, it is extremely kind of you to have spoken of these vast and immeasurable advantages of the spiritual energy of this mantra. For the benefit of sentient beings in the future however, a detailed explanation would be of enormous benefit, and so I would ask you to speak in a brief way about the different syllables of this mantra.

To which the great master replied:

O daughter of good family, the Vajra Guru mantra is not just my single essence mantra, it is the very essence or life force of all the deities of the four classes of tantra, of all the nine yanas, and all of the 84,000 collections of dharma teachings. The essence of all of the buddhas of the three times, all of the gurus, yidams, dakas, and dakinis, dharma protectors, etc., the essence of all of these is contained and is complete within this mantra. How, you may ask, does this work? What is the reason for all these being complete with this mantra? Listen well and hold this in mind. Read it again and again. Write it out for the benefit of sentient beings, and teach
it or demonstrate it to beings in the future.


OM AH HUNG are the sublime, essence of the principles of enlightened body, speech, and mind
VAJRA is the sublime essence of the indestructible family
GURU is the sublime essence of the jewel family
PEMA is the sublime essence of the lotus family
SIDDHI is the sublime essence of the activity family
HUNG is the sublime essence of the transcendent family


OM is the perfect splendor and richness of sambhoghakaya
AH is the total unchanging perfection of dharmakaya, the manifest body of absolute reality
HUNG perfects the presence of Guru Padmasambhava as the nirmanakaya, the manifest body of emanation
VAJRA perfects all the heruka deities of the mandalas
GURU refers to the root and transmission gurus and the holders of intrinsic awareness
PEMA perfects the assembly of dakas and dakinis
SIDDHI is the life force of all the wealth deities and the guardians of the treasure teachings
HUNG is the life force of the dharmapalas, the protective deities


OM AH HUNG are the life force of the three classes of tantra
VAJRA is the life force of the monastic discipline and the sutra class of teachings
GURU is the life force of abhidharma and kriya (action) yoga, the first level of tantra
PEMA is the life force of the charya (conduct) yoga, the second class of tantra, and yoga (joining) tantra, the third class of tantra
SIDDHI is the life force of the mahayoga and anuyoga classes of teachings
HUNG is the life force of the ati yoga, the Natural Great Perfection (Dzogchen)


OM AH HUNG purify obscurations arising from the three mental poisons: desire/attachment, aversion, and ignorance
VAJRA purifies obscurations which stem from anger
GURU purifies obscurations which stem from pride
PEMA purifies obscurations which stem from desire/attachment
SIDDHI purifies obscurations which stem from envy/jealousy
HUNG in a general way purifies obscurations which stem from all emotional afflictions


Through OM AH HUNG one attains the three kayas
Through VAJRA one realizes mirror-like pristine awareness
Through GURU one realizes the pristine awareness of equalness
Through PEMA one realizes the pristine awareness of discernment
Through SIDDHI one realizes the all-accomplishing pristine awareness
Through HUNG one realizes the pristine awareness of basic space


Through OM AH HUNG gods, demons, and humans are subdued
Through VAJRA one gains power over malevolent forces of certain gods and demons
Through GURU one gains control over the malevolent forces of the Lord of Death and the cannibal demons
Through PEMA one gains control over the malevolent influences of the water and wind elements
Through SIDDHI one gains control over the malevolent influences of non-human forces and spirits bringing harm and exerting negative control over one's life
Through HUNG one gains control of the malevolent influences of planetary configurations and earth spirits


OM AH HUNG accomplishes the six spiritual virtues
VAJRA accomplishes pacifying activity
GURU accomplishes enriching activity
PEMA accomplishes magnetizing activity
SIDDHI accomplishes enlightened activity in general
HUNG accomplishes wrathful enlightened activity


OM AH HUNG avert all imprecations and curses
VAJRA averts the negative consequences of breaking one's samaya with the deities of pristine awareness
GURU averts the negative influences of the eight classes of gods and demons in samsara
PEMA averts the negative influences of nagas and earth spirits
HUNG averts the negative influences of gods, demons, humans, samsaric gods


OM AH HUNG defeats the army of the five mental poisons
VAJRA defeats anger
GURU defeats pride
PEMA defeats desire/attachment
SIDDHI defeats envy and jealousy
HUNG defeats the armies of gods, demons and humans


OM AH HUNG brings about the spiritual accomplishments or siddhis
VAJRA brings about the siddhi of peaceful and wrathful deities
GURU brings about the siddhi of the awareness-holders and the lineage gurus
PEMA brings about the siddhi of the dakas and dakinis and dharma protectors
SIDDHI brings about the mundane and supreme siddhis
HUNG brings about the siddhi of accomplishing whatever one wishes


OM AH HUNG transfers consciousness to the pure realms of experience
VAJRA transfers consciousness to the eastern pure realm of Manifest Joy
GURU transfers consciousness to the southern pure realm of Glory & Splendor
PEMA transfers consciousness to the western pure realm of Great Bliss
SIDDHI transfers consciousness to the northern pure realm of Excellent Activity
HUNG transfers consciousness to the central pure realm of Unwavering

If a physical form could demonstrate the benefit of even one recitation of OM AH HUNG VAJRA GURU PEMA SIDDHI HUNG, the entire earth would not be sufficient to contain the merit. All sentient beings who see, hear, or remember this mantra will definitely be established in the ranks of the masculine and feminine awareness-holders. If it is the case that these words of truth of
the Vajra Guru mantra do not accomplish for sentient beings what they wish to accomplish just as I have promised, then I Pema Jungne, am truly deceiving sentient beings. But I have not deceived you, so you should practice according to my instructions.

Even if you are not able to recite the mantra for whatever reasons, you should mount it on the top of a victory banner, even when the wind touches it, and that wind touches sentient beings, it will free them without a doubt. Alternately, you may inscribe it in clay or carve it in stone. This will also guard the path upon which these syllables are placed and guard that region from malevolent effects. You may also write this mantra out in gold ink on dark blue paper and wear it as an amulet. When you die, if this amulet is burned with your corpse, rainbows will be seen and your consciousness will be transferred to the realms of Supreme Bliss. The benefits of writing out, reading or reciting this mantra defy any accurate measure and defy any standard measurement that could be applied. Having established this for the benefit of beings in the future, I am hiding this treasure. May it meet with a fortunate child of mine in the future who has good karma.

Samaya. Sealed. Sealed. Sealed.

This was posted on E-sangha