Thursday, January 17, 2019

Bodh Gaya: Seat of Enlightenment (video)

MSN Karthik via Adwhyta, 3/1/17; Ashley Wells, CC Liu, Crystal Q. (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly

Bodh Gaya: The Seat of Enlightenment: A Documentary Film on Buddhism and Awakening
Adwhyta proudly presents Bodh Gaya: The Seat of Enlightenment, a short documentary film that explores one of the most sacred Buddhist sites in the world. In the Dhammapada, the Buddha says, “All tremble at violence; all fear death. Putting oneself in the place of another, one should not harm nor cause another to harm.”

This film revolves around the kind of transformation Buddhism can bring in people’s lives and the role it can play in today’s chaotic world. In the journey through the film, we explore the story of the Buddha, the historical significance of pilgrimage, and personal experiences of Buddhist monastics and lay practitioners.

Filmed, edited, and directed by MSN Karthik. Produced by Adwhyta. Shot on Canon 70D + 18-135 mm. Lens edited on Davinci Resolve 12.5. For film updates on Messenger, click "get started" at Support on Patreon to help make better films (,, for all updates:,,, youtube...; Reach out to the filmmaker at,,,

Alan Watts: How to Wake Up (video)

Spiritual Entertainer Alan Watts via ALLISI/Something's Happening; Eds., Wisdom Quarterly

The Mahayana school of Buddhism is so riddled with Hinduism, Brahmanism, and Vedantic ideas that it is hardly Buddhism at all, but rather a continuation of what the Brahmins of the Buddha's day taught, which he rejected in no uncertain terms. But the Brahmins insisted they had the ultimate teaching, which could not be improved on, the "Eternal Dharma." Is there a self, a True Self, a supreme atman at one with Brahman (godhead, godhood, the reality behind the illusion)? Yes, according to Hinduism and many Mahayana Buddhists who fail to study the historical Buddha's Doctrine. The one thing the Buddha taught for sure is that there is no self (anatta), and everything that appears to be a permanent-self separate from its supporting conditions (the Five Aggregates clung to as Self) is, in fact, utterly impersonal, empty, devoid of a self (atta or atman). This is the point of Mahayana's most popular discourse Heart Sutra and many discourses by the historical Buddha as recorded in the Pali canon. Yet, Watts and others correctly state that Mahayana is more in line with Hinduism than Buddhism.

Tibetan Sand Mandala Ceremony, LA (Jan. 20)

Meditation: rainbow body transformation
The Pacific Asia Museum is proud to host Tibetan monks (lamas) from Drepung Gomang Monastery.
They will spend one week creating a "sand mandala," a Tibetan Buddhist tradition that involves the creation and destruction of intricate Buddhist cosmological paintings made from colored sand.

All that is is passing away.
Once completed, each mandala is ritualistically dismantled to symbolize the Buddhist teaching regarding the transitory nature of all things.

The opening blessing ceremony will take place on Sunday, January 20, at 12:00 pm and the closing dissolution ceremony will take place on Saturday, January 26 at 12:00 pm.

Museum visitors will be able to observe the creation of the mandala during regular public open hours. FREE with museum admission of FREE to $10.

  • Dharma Meditation Initiative group visit 
  • 46 N. Los Robles Ave., Pasadena, CA 91101
  • Sun, Jan. 20, noon-5:00 pm: Opening Blessing Ceremony
  • Wed, Jan. 23, 11:00 am-5:00 pm
  • Thurs, Jan. 24, 11:00 am onward
  • (Free admission every Thrusday 5:00-8:00 pm)
  • Fri, Jan. 25, 11:00 am-5:00 pm
  • Sat, Jan. 26, noon: Closing Dissolution Ceremony

Karma: what we need for good results

Ajahn Khamdee via Ven. Sujato; Dhr. Seven, Sayalay, Crystal Q. (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly

In practicing the Buddha's Dharma (Teachings), there have to be causes. If there are no causes, there are no results.

If the causes are skillful (wholesome, good, profitable), the results will be. If the causes are unskillful (unwholesome, bad, detrimental), the results will be. This is like things outside.

Take fruit, for example. Fruit has to come from a plant. If there's no plant, there's no fruit. When orchard owners are interested in the fruit of their flowering trees, they focus on tending to the roots and trunks of the trees: watering them, fertilizing them, uprooting weeds, and protecting the trees from anything that might pose a danger to them.

When they take good care of the trees in this way, the flowers and fruits will come of their own accord. It's the same in practicing the Dharma.

The Buddha taught us to take care of what we think, say, and do (karma). If our thoughts, words, and deeds are skillful, then whatever we receive in life [as a result or vipaka of that karma] will have to be good (wished for, pleasing, desirable).

If our thoughts, words, and deeds are unskillful, then whatever we get [as a result of that karma] will all be bad (unwished for, displeasing, undesirable). If we get a husband, he'll be a bad husband. If we get a wife, she'll be a bad wife. If we get children, they'll be bad children. If we get wealth, it'll be bad wealth.

Our problem is that we like good results, but we don't like creating good causes.

Ven. Dhammadipa in Los Angeles (Jan. 19-23)

Ven. Dhammadipa ( at; Jessie, Dhr. Seven, Wisdom Quarterly
  • 日期 Date: January 19-20, 2019, 9:00 am-4:30 pm
  • (備有午餐。 lunch served)
  • Jan. 21-23, 2019, 7:30 pm-9:30 pm
  • 主辦 Sponsor: 妙林蘭若 UBEF
  • 地點 Location: 14614 Palm Ave., Hacienda Heights
  • 請看詳細內容
What's so special about this enlightened meditation master?
Now 70 years old, Ven. Dhammadipa (Thomas Peter Gutman) was born in Czechoslovakia in 1949.

He studied Chinese literature and philosophy at Prague University, graduating in 1969, then studied Russian literature at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where he received a degree in 1973.

In the late 1970s Ven. Dhammadipa began his Buddhist studies in Berlin, Germany, where he had immigrated as a refugee after the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia.

In 1977, he received a Master's degree in Chinese literature and philosophy at the University of Paris. In 1979, he enrolled at Nalanda University in India (where he also taught French and German) to study Sanskrit and Buddhist philosophy. After receiving a degree at Nalanda in 1984, he returned to serve as the associate librarian at Berlin University.

Three ordinations
In 1986, he went to Japan [ordained] and studied under Zen Master Harada Serrei Roshi of the Soto school (Caodong in Chinese). He was given the Dharma-name Xing-Kong (meaning "Nature of Emptiness").

In 1987, with the encouragement of Ven. Athurugiriye Nyanavimala Mahathera, Ven. Wijayasoma Mahathera, and Ven. Dikwelle Mahinda he ordained as a Theravada Buddhist novice in Meetirigala, Sri Lanka, and was given the Dharma-name Dhammadipa ("Island or Light of Dharma"). He then received full Theravada ordination in Sri Lanka, where he practiced forest meditation under the guidance of his preceptor, Ven. Nanarama Mahathera.

In 1989, he received also received ordination as a Mahayana Buddhist monk [while keeping his Zen and Theravada ordinations] at Hsi Lai Temple in Los Angeles, California, and began teaching Dharma in the USA, Germany, and Taiwan.

In 1996, he went to Burma (now Myanmar) to practice meditation with the enlightened contemporary Buddhist master Ven. Pa Auk Sayadaw. He was recognized as the first of Pa Auk Sayadaw's Western disciples qualified to teach meditation. [This is a humble way of saying that he attained enlightenment and was therefore able to teach others the path to awakening.]

He has since been teaching serenity (samatha) and insight (vipassana) meditation -- tranquility as preparatory for direct seeing of the Dharma -- at monasteries and universities worldwide.

Ven. Dhammadipa speaks English, Czech, Pali, Sanskrit, French, German, Russian, Spanish, and fluent Chinese. He also translates ancient Buddhist texts from Pali and Sanskrit.

His translated works in French and Czech include the Treatise on the Awakening of Faith in Mahayana (Mahayana-sraddhotpada-sastra), Entry into the Bodhisattva Path (Bodhicaryavatara), and a Collection of Han-San's Poems. His teachings in Taiwan have been compiled and printed in Chinese.

Over the years he has presented Dharma teachings and led meditation retreats around North America (, Europe, Taiwan, mainland China, India, and Southeast Asia. Personally he has a larger than life personality conjoined with a gentle and easygoing manner.

His teaching follows the framework of the classic Theravada Buddhist commentarial work, The Path of Purification or Visuddhimagga: One starts with training in virtue (the precepts), which lays the foundation for training in serenity/concentration, and then one systematically develops insight/wisdom through establishing oneself in the Four Foundations of Mindfulness.

He teaches that knowledge of the Buddha's Middle Way should be applied, practiced, and verified through direct (firsthand) experience. One ought to make a great vow to tread the Way and realize the Dharma for the benefit of all sentient beings. Ven. Dhammadipa is indeed a rare gem in contemporary Buddhism.
  • Text originally published courtesy of Lansing Buddhist Association, Michigan, USA; originally written by Hanlin Wang, translated by George Yeh, edited by Bill Rittenberg and edited by Dhr. Seven (2019) for Wisdom Quarterly: American Buddhist Journal.

Do you need a "Buddha Box"? (South Park)

South Park (; Crystal Q., CC Liu (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly

This is what we really want, what we have all been waiting for...more quality time with what we love most. But because the world won't give it to us, Buddha Box had to be invented. Now we can all turn away from everything but the most important thing -- our...

Cultivating the Luminous Mind (jhanas)

Stephen Snyder, Tina Rasmussen (; Dhr. Seven (ed.), Wisdom Quarterly
Stephen Snyder and Tina Rasmussen teaching at Yale University (

Practicing the Jhanas BookThe jhana practice (meditative absorption) is an ancient type of concentration meditation (samatha, serenity) that predates written history as a method of purifying the mind/heart.

It was taught to Siddhartha (who later became the Buddha) by his teachers.

When people asked him what to practice, it is the practice the Buddha referenced in as many as 80% of the sutras/discourses throughout his life. The jhanas were so important to him that they were his last acts before passing into final nirvana.

Tina Rasmussen and Stephen Snyder were personally taught by Ven. Pa Auk Sayadaw of Burma, who authorized them as the first Western laypeople to teach samatha practices in his lineage.

Ven. Pa Auk Sayadaw is considered by many to be the leading Buddhist meditative absorption master alive today. Their book, Practicing the Jhanas (Shambhala Publications), is an accessible and direct experiential account of samatha practice.

Rasmussen and Snyder are teachers of awakening to a deeper reality and Truth beyond our conventional way of understanding human experience. They offer teaching and spiritual mentoring to new and experience d practitioners. As part of the cultivation of the “luminous mind” referenced in many spiritual lineages, they teach many practices including samatha, vipassana, dzogchen, and modern non-duality that cultivate a fertile ground for seeds of liberation to grow and become established in daily life.  They have lead events and worked with people one-on-one from more than 50 countries since 2007. Services offered in-person and online include:
  • Retreats
  • Daylong intensives
  • Dharma talks at your location
  • One-on-one spiritual guidance
  • Year-long mentoring program
  • Free downloads of Dharma talks More

Los Angeles Women's March (Jan. 19); Ashley Wells, Crystal Q., Seth Auberon, CC Liu, Wisdom Quarterly

Don't objectify me. Rain or shine.
The Women’s March is a national movement to unify and empower everyone who stands for human rights, civil liberties, and social justice for all.

We march to support and inspire each other and the nation to celebrate, honor, and protect our diversity, freedom, and human rights.

Ven. Pema Chodron and Catholic Fr. Boyle
We gather in community -- feminist, Buddhist, secularist, atheist, theist -- to find healing and strength through civility and compassion. This is a non-partisan, INCLUSIVE march welcoming EVERYONE who supports women's rights.

We welcome all PEOPLE (male, female, kids) to join us as we unite locally and nationally this Saturday, Jan. 19th, 2019, to stand together in justice, respect, and inclusion. This is only the beginning...Truth to power. Holding our politicians accountable... Register FREE

Vegan potluck, Dharma discussion (Jan. 19) (facebook 470552256808163); Ananda, Crystal Q., Wisdom Quarterly
A vegan potluck is full of flavor, compassion, and diverse tastes (
Leading Sanskrit blessing at Vegan Thanksgiving Potluck 2018, Rancho Park, Los Angeles
Krishna was kind to the cows.
FREE: Join Vegan Spirituality (Facebook event) for a potluck and Dharma discussion with Native American (Tongva) urban shaman Seven.

We begin the new year by getting back to basics, back to the root of Buddhist terms translated as "meditation" and "mindfulness" and the three fundamentals of the Buddhist Path of Purification.

We'll enjoy a night of food, sweets, Dharma discussion, guided serenity meditation, mindful movement, universal loving-kindness, Sanskrit chanting, and open group-sharing.
What are the healthiest ways to eat?
VEGAN POTLUCK: bring a vegan (plant-based, raw, or cooked foods free of all animal products) potluck dish to share, plates/cups/utensils. Be mindful to bring a dish versus a snack or drink so we have plenty of food for everyone.
  • Vegan Spirituality
  • Saturday, Jan. 19th, 2019, 6:00-9:00 PM
  • 9757 Delco Ave., Chatsworth (San Fernando Valley) 91311-5323 (MAP)

Deer Park: Day of Mindfulness (free, Jan. 27)

Deer Park; Ananda (Dharma Meditation Initiative), Dhr. Seven, Ellie, Jen, Wisdom Quarterly

Deer Park is a place for SoCal to practice.
The world-famous Zen Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh established Deer Park Monastery in Southern California. 

Dharma Meditation Initiative will visit for a "Day of Mindfulness" emphasizing walking meditation in nature. We can strive to awaken together.

Transportation available from the Pasadena/Arcadia/L.A. area leaving at 7:00 AM. Questions? Co-organizer Ellie (951) 457-2071.
Day of Mindfulness
Map of Deer Park Monastery
This starts with a walking meditation gathering at 9:00 AM. As we arrive at main parking lot, we will enjoy our steps up the paved road into Deer Park, allowing our bodies to relax, bringing our attention to our feet, letting go of anxiety and stress. Gathering location is on right on the main road, under the oak and pepper trees, close to the campground shower block.

Monastic Dharma teachers will offer an introduction to the practice after the walking meditation in the same area.

News of the Day: Cops go BAD (video)

Eds., Wisdom Quarterly; Associated Press; Seth Auberon, Engaged Buddhists, Democracy Now

Judge acquits 3 cops of cover-up in Laquan McDonald murder
99% cops make 1% look bad
CHICAGO - A judge on Thursday [in an outrage to justice] acquitted three Chicago police officers of trying to cover up the 2014 shooting of Laquan McDonald, ruling that the shocking dashcam video of the black teenager's death did not necessarily tell the whole story. In casting off the prosecution's entire case, Judge Domenica Stephenson seemed to accept many of the same defense arguments that were rejected by jurors who in October convicted officer Jason Van Dyke of second-degree murder and aggravated battery. He is scheduled to be sentenced Friday. More
  1. Robert Durst defense: Evidence could be 'game over' for heir
  2. Michigan State says Engler resignation effective immediately
  3. Northridge quake thrashed Los Angeles 25 years ago this week
  4. Outpouring of generosity for TSA workers, others without pay
  5. Kidnap suspect's lawyers: Confession problem for defense

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Free Full Moon Day Retreat (Jan 20)

Bhante, Los Angeles Buddhist Vihara; Ashley Wells, Crystal Q., Wisdom Quarterly

What if a Sri Lankan Theravada Buddhist temple in Los Angeles were to open its doors for a free one-day retreat? Would there be incense, monks in saffron robes, candles, a free lunch based on rice and curries, and lots of explanation of what the Buddha taught? This is the tradition of Bhikkhu Bodhi, the famous American Buddhist monk from the east coast who translated the major sutra collections and studied in Southern California before heading off to Sri Lanka in search of enlightenment. All are welcome.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Free Daylong Retreat, Los Angeles (Jan. 13)

Ven. Sumitta (DhammaUSA), Thabarwa Nature Center, LA; Ellie, Dhr. Seven, Wisdom Quarterly

All (and that means you, too) are invited to join an inspiring One Day Retreat with Ven. Sumitta. This is an introductory-level meditation daylong. All are welcome to this FREE event. Volunteer donations are welcome to support the newly opened Thabarwa Mindfulness and Detachment Meditation Center in Baldwin Park and the instructor leading it from the nearby Buddhist University of the West ( More info:
  • FREE: Dharma Meditation Initiative
  • Thabarwa Nature Meditation Center
  • 13212 Francisquito Ave., Baldwin Park
  • San Gabriel Valley, L.A. 91706
  • Sunday, Jan. 13, 2019, 9:00 AM-4:00 PM
What happened today
LOS ANGELES, California - Twenty-five meditators arrived in the morning. The previous night's rain had broken, and the sun peered through the clouds. We sat in a warm meditation hall of the new Thabarwa Nature Center in the center of the San Gabriel Valley, where the 10 and 605 Freeways meet.

One group went on alms round in Temple City and Alhambra, while others came in, sat down, got a short orientation, and took the Eight Precepts from Ven. Sumitta ("good friend") from the Buddhist University of the West and (which has a number of talks and presentations for viewing).

Then came the Dharma talk on the Five Hindrances to meditation and happiness. This was followed by meditation practice then a donated lunch courtesy of donors with so many options and delights that it was hard to stay awake during the next sit. So we did walking meditation in the center's yard and large parking area.

Then came a Powerpoint presentation on emotions and their affect on brain structures, such as the amygdala and prefrontal cortex, and how meditation changes the brain to make emotions more manageable and easy to endure. Some, like anger, ruin meditation, and so it is a hindrance. Others change in the meditating brain and cease to scatter attention. Then came questions and answers, the sharing of merits, and taking the Five Precepts.

Meditation Teacher
Ven. Nivitigala Sumitta is a Ph.D. student and pillar of the community at University of the West. He founded the UWest Pali Society and the community organization Dhamma USA ( He also offers services at the Lankarama Buddhist Institute in the nearby City of La Puente, in suburban Los Angeles.

(Buddhist) University of the West
UWest is a private, non-profit campus located on a beautiful hillside in Rosemead, California Itis accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and offers whole-person education in its curriculum, tending to students' intellectual, spiritual, and physical well-being. Email: Info: (855) GO-UWEST (1-855-468-9378).

    Emotions, psych, control: meditation (TEDx)

    TEDx Talks, Aug. 18, 2013; Ashley Wells, Crystal Q. (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly
    (TEDxMiddlebury) "Getting Free of Self-Importance Is The Key To Happiness
    Buddhist Polly Young-Eisendrath* explains that counter to our happiness is the idea that we can control and manage our lives. [That's extremely helpful to know in meditation.] After considering the true meaning of happiness, she highlights several uniquely human emotions -- shame, guilt, envy, and jealousy [Don't tell the other primates, like our cousins the bonobos and chimps] -- that pose as obstacles to happiness and offers solutions to overcome these emotions.

    *SPEAKER: Polly Young-Eisendrath is a speaker, writer, psychologist/Jungian psychoanalyst, and Buddhist mindfulness teacher. She is a long-time practitioner of Zen Buddhism and vipassana (insight meditation) in the tradition of Shinzen Young, in which she is a certified teacher. She has published many chapters and articles on Buddhism, psychotherapy, spirituality, resilience, and Jung's psychology. She is also clinical associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Vermont and in independent clinical practice in central Vermont. Her 14 published books have been translated into more than 20 languages, including The Self-Esteem Trap, The Resilient Spirit, Women and Desire, and The Cambridge Companion to Jung. She is working on a spiritual memoir called Love Broken Open.
    • TEDx: In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized* (*subject to certain rules and regulations).

    Shutdown strains hundreds of Native tribes

    Associated Press (; Xochitl, Crystal Q. (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly

    FLAGSTAFF, Arizona - Fallout from the federal government shutdown is hurting Native Americans as dwindling funds hamper access to health care and other services. The pain is especially deep in tribal communities with high rates of poverty and unemployment, where one person often supports an extended family.

    The effects were being felt far and wide. In New Mexico, a lone police officer patrolled a Native American reservation larger in size than Houston on a shift that normally has three people, responding to multiple car wrecks during a snow storm, emergency calls, and requests for welfare checks.... Native American tribes rely heavily on funding guaranteed by treaties with the U.S., acts of Congress and other agreements for public safety, social services, education... More
    • Native Americans like Sen. Elizabeth Warren

    Friday, January 11, 2019

    Good Deeds: Askew OPEN MIC, L.A. (Jan. 2)

    Ananda (Dharma Meditation Initiative), Los Angeles, Pasadena, Wisdom Quarterly
    Sarah Silverman, Rose's granddaughter, loves the folks at the home but not funerals.

    So. Pasadena Poet Laureate Ron K.
    Do we do enough for our parents, grandparents, and others? We need merit (good karma), and they need to know people care. So we're hosting a reading and "variety" show of comedy, poetry, and music. It's better than Sarah Silverman in JMagic. It's an OPEN MIC, and you're invited to laugh, cheer, and maybe even take the stage. Hosted by the beautiful Slim FitzGerald and DMI's very own Seven Dhar. January's features are funny, bestselling author of Stoner & Spaz and South Pasadena's new Poet Laureate RON KOERTGE.

    Nicelle is a sexy performance artist and poet of Poetry Circus fame (

    Nicelle Davis ( and Arlene Diaz are also on the bill. FREE at the luxurious Pasadena Highlands, in the Garden Room. FREE PARKING: enter top level lot from the small cross street Bresee Ave. Sign in at concierge desk next to entrance from parking lot as a guest of Prof. Bernie.