Ayya Khema

Via both The Buddhist Blog and lotusinthemud I found a really interesting quote from Venerable Khema. (Check out the links for the quote – figured repeating it a third time was a bit redundant. 0.O) I wasn’t familiar with the Venerable so I did a little research. Resources I found:

A brief summary of her life, quoted directly from Wikipedia:

Ayya Khema (August 25, 1923November 2, 1997), a Buddhist teacher, was born as Ilse Ledermann in Berlin, Germany, to Jewish parents.

Khema dodged the Nazis during World War II, but was interned by the Japanese. She eventually moved to the United States. After travelling in Asia she decided to become a Buddhist nun in Sri Lanka in 1979. She was very active in providing opportunities for women to practice Buddhism, founding several centers around the world. In 1987 she co-ordinated the first ever International Conference of Buddhist Nuns.

Khema wrote over two dozen books in English and German. Her autobiography, I Give You My Life, is an adventure story sprinkled with nuggets of spiritual wisdom.

Among her many other accomplishments, Ayya Khema was the spiritual director of Buddha-Haus in Germany, founded with her guidance. (An English language version of their website can be found here.) Her ashes rest in a beautiful stupa there:

As you can tell (^_^), I’ve gathered a lot of online resources to read and listen to. So far I’d say her speaking and writing style are very accessible and interesting to lay-person-me. I’d be very interested to know if any of y’all have read her books, and what your opinion is, or perhaps even which one is your favorite, if you’ve read much by her.
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Image sources – Sangha: Munks [sic] and Nuns in the Buddhist Community by Friedrich Reg and the Buddha-Haus.
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Finished

About a week ago, I finally finished Thây Hanh’s The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching. This is a tremendously useful read – I really think that this is definitely one time that the book lives up to the title.

When I was a kid I taught myself how to speed read – a tremendously useful skill, if you can keep your retention level up (I’m still at about 98%, thank goodness.). However, this is not a book that can be read trivially. I read this one SOOO slowly and carefully, going back over passages frequently.

I don’t know that this is the first book I’d give someone who expresses an interest in Buddhism to me, but it would be the first one I’d recommend to someone I knew to be *seriously* interested.

Chö-kor Düchen

Via the Palyul Yahoo forum, from http://www.pcddallas.org/Tibetan_Calendar_2007.htm

TODAY is Chökhor Düchen July 18, 2007

There are four major Special Buddha Days or “Festivals” (düchen) in a year which relate to the life of Buddha Shakyamuni.

During these days, it is said that the effects of positive or negative actions are multiplied 10 million times, so practice is strongly advised.

Chokhor Düchen – Buddha Shakyamuni First Turns the Wheel of Dharma

Chökhor Düchen July 18, 2007 (Tibetan Chö-kor Düchen-14th day of 6th lunar month): the “First Turning of the Wheel of Dharma” (first teaching) is celebrated. For the first seven weeks after his Enlightenment, Buddha did not teach. Encouraged by Indra and Brahma, he then gave his first teachings at Sarnath on the Four Noble Truths.

Well, there you are. If you didn’t know, now you do.

Best Mindfulness Book by Hanh?

In keeping with my current explorations of mindfulness in the everyday, does anyone have a favorite book on mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hanh? Or another book/source of Dharma that springs to mind as a favorite/something really useful? If anyone has a suggestion, I’m all (very grateful) ears!

(Oh – I should add – two I’ve contemplated are The Miracle of Mindfulness and Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life.)

Online Dharma Resources

Just a little micro-post as I’m evidently wont to do (^_-) : I’ve started sort of a personal resource blog that I add online dharma resources to when I find them or think about it. Perhaps it might be helpful to someone else: Online Dharma Resources.

Hurrah!

Last night I went for my first Dharma Study, though it was a bit of a drive – I had to haul my cookies all the way to Gulf Breeze (just outside of Pensacola) to visit Palyul Changchub Choling. They’re “… a sangha or group who study and practice Tibetan Buddhism in the Nyingma tradition according to the Palyul nam-cho practices.[Links are mine]”

I doubt I can go every week right now (2 hrs in a car with $3 gas), but they’re such a great group, and I can do preliminary practices (Ngondro) with them and take refuge the next time the lama comes. I’ve thought about it, and I think Tibetan Buddhism is the best place for me to start right now, although I have a great deal of respect for the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh. Going to the study group last night felt so right – I was comfortable with the meditation session and the dharma discussion – I felt at home in the material and even felt like I had something to contribute to the discussion. (For what it’s worth, they were discussing What Makes You Not a Buddhist by Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse. I don’t have it, but it seems like an interesting read, if slim. Maybe once I’ve caught up on my other Dharma reading….Apparently, this is a much lighter/easier work than their last selection, which was a book on Dzogchen.)

Perhaps soon I can go back, and maybe I’ll even remember to bring my camera. ^_^

Diamond Sutra 101

I stopped by Ven. Rinchen Gyatso’s blog today and found links to the beginning of this great 12 part lecture series on the Diamond Sutra by Venerable Hyun Gak (né Paul Muenzen). I found a better source for the lectures via Google, so I thought I’d include them below, if anyone’s interested. They’re from the Korean Buddhist Television Network.

Here are links to the other eleven parts (each about 40 minutes long): Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12. (As a heads-up, there are up to 2 brief ads before parts 3 through 12.)