The Urban Dharma Newsletter - December 2014

In This Issue: UD Newsletter – Again!

1. The 2015 "Forest Sangha” Wall Calendar
2. Kusala Bhikshu is on Facebook
3. The Urban Dharma Podcasts on iTunes.
4. Thich Nhat Hanh – Very Ill
5. New Heart Sutra translation by Thich Nhat Hanh
6. Purification, Ethics and Karma in Early Buddhist Discourse
7. Monk with a Camera
8. Ananda W. P. Guruge, Buddhist Scholar and Professor, Dies at 85

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After a long absence, it’s good to be back with the UD Newsletter. May you find Peace and Happiness in this holiday season.

Peace… Kusala

1. The 2015 "Forest Sangha” Wall Calendar - Free Download / (26.7 MB)


This calendar has been sponsored for free distribution by the Kataññnutā group of Malaysia, Singapore and Australia.

Anumodanā to the many friends who have offered their photographs for this 2015 calendar,in particular: Andrew Binkley (Nov.), Gary Morrison (cover, March), Gricel Salazar-Lewis (May),Montri Sirithampiti (June, Aug., Dec.).
Monthly Dhamma quotes are adapted from translated teachings contained in The Collected Teachings of Ajahn Chah, available for download at the links below.

e-book formats: www.fsbooks.org/ajahn-chah-teachings

2. Kusala Bhikshu is on Facebook


“I’ve been on facebook for awhile now and really enjoy it. It gives me a chance to share stuff daily… Cartoons, wisdom quotes, upcoming events, photos and have some fun doing it. I was surprised at how diverse and interesting the Facebook community is and am happy to be a part of it.”

3. The Urban Dharma Podcasts on iTunes.



“After 4 years of not posting any ‘podcasts’ I have some new ones posted. I speak around the Los Angeles area a few times a month, which gives me a chance to record and post. I’m speaking on a variety of subjects, all of them Buddhist in some way or another and some you might find of interest.”

4. Thich Nhat Hanh – Very Ill


To our Dear Beloved Friends,

With a deep mindful breath we announce to the world the news that yesterday, the 11th of November 2014 Thay, Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, experienced a severe brain hemorrhage. Thay is receiving 24 hour intensive care from specialist doctors, nurses and from his monastic disciples.

At present, Thay is still very responsive and shows every indication of being aware of the presence of those around him. He is able to move his feet, hands and eyes. There are signs that a full recovery may be possible.

5. New Heart Sutra translation by Thich Nhat Hanh


On 11th September Thay completed a profound and beautiful new English translation of the Heart Sutra, one of the most important sutras in Mahayana Buddhism.

This new English translation is based on the new Vietnamese translation that Thay began working on three weeks ago at the European Institute of Applied Buddhism in Germany.

The Insight that Brings Us to the Other Shore


while practicing deeply with
the Insight that Brings Us to the Other Shore,
suddenly discovered that
all of the five Skandhas are equally empty,
and with this realisation
he overcame all Ill-being.

“Listen Sariputra,
this Body itself is Emptiness
and Emptiness itself is this Body.
This Body is not other than Emptiness
and Emptiness is not other than this Body.
The same is true of Feelings,
Perceptions, Mental Formations,
and Consciousness.

“Listen Sariputra,
all phenomena bear the mark of Emptiness;
their true nature is the nature of
no Birth no Death,
no Being no Non-being,
no Defilement no Purity,
no Increasing no Decreasing.

“That is why in Emptiness,
Body, Feelings, Perceptions,
Mental Formations and Consciousness
are not separate self entities.

The Eighteen Realms of Phenomena
which are the six Sense Organs,
the six Sense Objects,
and the six Consciousnesses
are also not separate self entities.

The Twelve Links of Interdependent Arising
and their Extinction
are also not separate self entities.
Ill-being, the Causes of Ill-being,
the End of Ill-being, the Path,
insight and attainment,
are also not separate self entities.

Whoever can see this
no longer needs anything to attain.

Bodhisattvas who practice
the Insight that Brings Us to the Other Shore
see no more obstacles in their mind,
and because there
are no more obstacles in their mind,
they can overcome all fear,
destroy all wrong perceptions
and realize Perfect Nirvana.

“All Buddhas in the past, present and future
by practicing
the Insight that Brings Us to the Other Shore
are all capable of attaining
Authentic and Perfect Enlightenment.

“Therefore Sariputra,
it should be known that
the Insight that Brings Us to the Other Shore
is a Great Mantra,
the most illuminating mantra,
the highest mantra,
a mantra beyond compare,
the True Wisdom that has the power
to put an end to all kinds of suffering.

Therefore let us proclaim a mantra to praise
the Insight that Brings Us to the Other Shore.

Gate, Gate, Paragate, Parasamgate, Bodhi Svaha!
Gate, Gate, Paragate, Parasamgate, Bodhi Svaha!
Gate, Gate, Paragate, Parasamgate, Bodhi Svaha!”

6. Purification, Ethics and Karma in Early Buddhist Discourse - Studies in the Madhyama-āgama


“A wonderful series of talks by Ven. Bhikkhu Analayo in English… Free download or listen online”…  Ven. Bhikkhu Analayo was born in Germany in 1962 and ordained in Sri Lanka in 1995. In the year 2000 he completed a PhD thesis on the Satipatthana-sutta at the University of Peradeniya which was published as the highly regarded book Satipatthana: The Direct Path to Realization. At present, he is an associate professor at the Centre for Buddhist Studies, University of Hamburg, and works as a researcher at Dharma Drum Buddhist College, Taiwan. Besides his academic activities, he regularly teaches meditation in Sri Lanka.

7. Monk with a Camera


“Opens in Los Angeles December 12th for one week.”

MONK WITH A CAMERA chronicles the life and spiritual quest of Nicholas (Nicky) Vreeland, who for the past twenty-eight years has been a Tibetan Buddhist monk.  The son of a United States Ambassador, grandson of legendary Vogue editor Diana Vreeland, and a photographer by trade, Nicky left his privileged life behind to follow his true calling. He moved to India, cutting his ties with society, photography, and his pleasure-filled world, to live in a monastery with no running water or electricity. There he would spend the next 14 years studying to become a monk. Then in one of life’s beautiful twists, Nicky went back to the worldly pursuit of photography in order to help his fellow monks rebuild their monastery, one of the most important of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition.  His journey from being a photographer to becoming a monk and, most recently, to being appointed as the abbot of the monastery he helped to rebuild, are the core of the story.

8. Ananda W. P. Guruge, Buddhist Scholar and Professor, Dies at 85


“A friend and teacher has passed away” –– Sri Lankan diplomat and renowned Buddhist scholar Ananda Wahihana Palliya Guruge, 85, passed away in Rosemead, California, on 6 August, following an academic tour in China and Australia. The funeral will be held on 16 August in the Sky Rose Chapel at Rose Hills Memorial Park, Whittier.
The respected scholar demonstrated academic prowess right from an early age, going on to win an undergraduate scholarship to the Arts Faculty of the University of Ceylon in 1947 (sinhalanet). There he majored in Sanskrit, with a minor in history, and completed his degree with a first class honors. His brilliance continued when he was directly accepted to the University of London for his PhD. He wrote his thesis on the social conditions of ancient India as reflected in the Valmiki Ramayana.
Settling in the United States, Guruge was closely associated with the UN and UNESCO. In 1985, he was invited to be the Sri Lankan ambassador to UNESCO and France, and in 1992 was designated ambassador to the US. He was a forward-thinking academic leader, and in the top tier for historical and Buddhist studies. From 1996, he served as professor and director of Religious Studies at the University of the West (formerly Hsi Lai University) in Los Angeles where, at the Fifth International Conference on Humanistic Buddhism in January 2004, he was honored by the International Academy of Buddhism (IAB) as the IAB Honoree of the Year 2003 (Lankaweb). A few years later, in 2010, Guruge assumed the roles of the university’s dean of academic affairs, director of the IAB and editor of the Hsi Lai Journal of Humanistic Buddhism. He had been a patron of the European Buddhist Union and vice-president of the World Fellowship of Buddhists since 1988, and since 1989, had been an honorary consultative editor for the Encyclopedia of Buddhism. He was also president of the World Buddhist University Council in Bangkok (Guruge 2010, 294).

On 9 August, in Sri Lanka’s national newspaper the Daily News, President Mahinda Rajapaksa expressed his condolences over the loss of Ananda Guruge: “An internationally renowned Buddhist scholar, Dr Guruge was an erudite speaker and writer on Buddhism, who did a yeoman service to propagate the teachings of Buddhism abroad,” he said. The letter details Guruge’s exceptional work in Buddhist studies; he wrote “53 books on Buddhism, more than 175 research articles on Asian History, Buddhism and Education and also translated the ancient Sri Lankan chronicle Mahavamsa into English.”

The following is part of Guruge’s convocation speech at the University of Ruhuna in 2004:

 “Born in a family hailing from the border of Agaliya and Akuretiya in rural Baddegama, I was blessed with an education which I received from my parents, my teachers in my schools and University and supplemented diligently with my lifelong devotion to learning, I am proud to say, I am entirely made in Sri Lanka. In a career of over half a century, I have achieved much in several fields of activity. I have done so because of my deep-seated confidence that there is nothing that a fervent, hard-working and deeply committed Sri Lankan boy or girl cannot achieve in this world. I share my little mantra with you. Face the world with faith and confidence, telling yourself, I am a Sri Lankan and the whole world is open for me.” (Lankaweb)

Ananda W. P. Guruge will be remembered for his immense contribution not only to Buddhist studies, but also to the advancement of art, history, and religious studies.

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