The Urban Dharma Newsletter - November, 2017
In This Issue:
1. ‘The Departure’ / Movie Trailer
2. "Be the Refuge" by Aaron Lee
3. "High School Dharma" by Kusala Bhikshu
4. The Sutta Nipata –
Translator Bhikkhu Bodhi
5. "Last Call" By Larissa MacFarquhar
6. What is San Francisco Zen Center? – BY LION'S ROAR STAFF
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It has been awhile… Peace… Kusala Bhikshu
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Quote – “Friendship marks a life even more deeply than love. Love risks degenerating into obsession, friendship is never anything but sharing.” ― Elie Wiesel
1. ‘The Departure’ / Movie Trailer  … YouTube Video… 02:19
Most people would probably be reluctant to answer a newspaper ad reading - "Monk wanted. No experience necessary." -- "But fortunately, that's exactly what the subject of Lana Wilson's new documentary did. He's Ittetsu Nemoto, a 44-year-old Japanese former punk rocker and troubled club kid turned Buddhist monk who has made a specialty of counseling depressed individuals contemplating suicide. In its poetic portrait of a man whose quest to help others has cost him dearly both emotionally and physically, The Departure proves quietly profound. Wilson, who previously co-directed the acclaimed documentary After Tiller, handles the emotional subject matter with a subtle restraint that makes the film all the more moving." - Hollywood Reporter
2. "Be the Refuge" by Aaron Lee
A lifetime ago (2003) Aaron Lee and I started the 'University Buddhist Association' an on campus Buddhist club at UCLA. I spoke with him on the phone a couple of months ago... His laugh was strong and his sense of irony was firmly in place. May he have a happy and speedy rebirth. - Kusala / ... Aaron Lee died on Saturday, October 21, 2017 at age 34... From the Article - "In the hospital, I found my speech and actions could become refuges for my family and caregivers — providing them with a space where they could feel calm, positive and helpful. I try to be honest and let people help me when they can. I try to use the spirit of irony to take the edge off my complaints. Simple courtesies of thanks and asking nurses and aides how their days are going have gone a long way to making sure my care team knows that they can breathe easy around me.”
Quote – "The prayer of the monk is not perfect until he no longer recognizes himself or the fact that he is praying." -- St. Anthony
3. "High School Dharma" by Kusala Bhikshu - 10.9.17 - Audio, 45 min.
My talk to a Los Angeles High School comparative religions class on basic Buddhism.
4. The Suttanipata: An Ancient Collection of the Buddha’s Discourses Together with Its Commentaries (The Teachings of the Buddha) Kindle Edition - Translator, Bhikkhu Bodhi
The Suttanipata, or “Group of Discourses” is a collection of discourses ascribed to the Buddha that includes some of the most popular suttas of the Pali Canon, among them the Discourse on Loving-Kindness Sutta. The suttas are primarily in verse, though several are in mixed prose and verse. The Suttanipata contains discourses that extol the figure of the muni, the illumined sage, who wanders homeless completely detached from the world. Other suttas, such as the Discourse on Downfall and the Discourse on Blessings, establish the foundations of Buddhist lay ethics. The last two chapters—the Atthakavagga (Chapter of Octads) and the Parayanavagga (The Way to the Beyond)—are considered to be among the most ancient parts of the Pali Canon. The Atthakavagga advocates a critical attitude toward views and doctrines. The Parayanavagga is a beautiful poem in which sixteen spiritual seekers travel across India to meet the Buddha and ask him profound questions pertaining to the highest goal.
The commentary, the Paramatthajotika, relates the background story to each sutta and explains each verse in detail. The volume includes numerous excerpts from the Niddesa, an ancient commentary already included in the Pali Canon, which offers detailed expositions of each verse in the Atthakavagga, the Parayanavagga, and the Rhinoceros Horn Sutta.
Translator Bhikkhu Bodhi provides an insightful, in-depth introduction, a guide to the individual suttas, extensive notes, a list of parallels to the discourses of the Suttanipata, and a list of the numerical sets mentioned in the commentaries.
5. "Last Call" - A Buddhist monk confronts Japan’s suicide culture. By Larissa MacFarquhar
From the Article – “At other times, Nemoto, a Buddhist priest, conducts death workshops for the suicidal at his temple. He tells attendees to imagine they’ve been given a diagnosis of cancer and have three months to live. He instructs them to write down what they want to do in those three months. Then he tells them to imagine they have one month left; then a week; then ten minutes. Most people start crying in the course of this exercise, Nemoto among them.”
6. What is San Francisco Zen Center? – BY LION'S ROAR STAFF| OCTOBER 3, 2017
From the Article – “San Francisco Zen Center, often just called “Zen Center,” was founded in 1962 by Shunryu Suzuki Roshi, author of the classic Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind. Originally it served the Japanese American community in San Francisco, but as Suzuki Roshi’s teachings attracted more and more 1960s spiritual seekers, it evolved into one of the first and most important “convert” Buddhist communities in the U.S.”
Quote – "Blessed are they who see beautiful things in humble places where other people see nothing." - Camille Pissarro
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