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NW Dharma News

Winter 2019, Volume 32, #2

NW Dharma News

Trains, Cats, and Dharma; A Great Man Gone

David was a great lover of cats…and they loved him

In September the Northwest Dharma community was saddened to hear of the passing of David Forsythe, the long-time volunteer leader of Northwest Dharma Association. For the past several years NWDA has been re-visioning and planning for the transition to a new generation of Dharma leaders and association volunteers. If it hadn’t been for David’s vision and skill, the organization might not have survived long enough to make those transitions. David came to Seattle from upstate New York, where he’d been managing online library catalog systems. He began volunteering for NWDA in 1996, and was unfailingly enthusiastic about rolling up his…

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Dharma Education

Mindfulness Retreat Transforms Teens in Oregon

Teens practice mindfulness while prone, a favorite during the retreat.

This past August more than 50 teens and adult mentors gathered at the Ananda Center at Laurelwood, just outside of Portland, to spend a week together practicing the art of mindful meditation. This was the 6th teen retreat held in the Pacific Northwest sponsored by Inward Bound Mindfulness Education (iBme – “I be me”). Today’s teens report high levels of stress, anxiety and depression. Add to that family conflicts, the prevalence of drugs and alcohol use, and national problems such as overt racism and political adversity, and our teens need more support than ever. Inward Bound Mindfulness Education retreats for…

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Dharma in Canada

Retreat Center Offers Canadian Mountain Solitude

The Mahasiddha Retreat Centre provides a tranquil and inspiring environment for retreat and study

Less than a year after opening in the snowy Canadian Rockies, the Mahasiddha Retreat Centre is planning more retreats for 2020. Mahasiddha is the first rural retreat center to be operated by Seattle-based Nalandabodhi. That organization, under the direction of Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche, offers traditional Tibetan Buddhist teachings tailored for contemporary practitioners. Mahasiddha Retreat Centre complements Nalandabodhi’s normal focus on daily practice, study and mindful activity. Since its opening last spring Mahasiddha Retreat Centre has supported several group retreats. We’ve also welcomed retreatants who found there the space and tranquility for individual practice of several days or weeks. We look…

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Compassionate Action

Pacific Northwest Peace Pagoda, a dream revived

Nipponzan Myohoji monks and nuns make an offering

In August people traveled from across the U.S. and Japan to Poulsbo, Washington, to celebrate the ground purification ceremony for what will be the first peace pagoda on the West Coast by the Nipponzan Myohoji Order. The 150 attending the ceremony witnessed a living prayer for peace; with a soft breeze moving the many colorful flags, and sunlight illuminating the grass, the trees, and the opened earth for the peace pagoda. The pagoda project is being led by Nipponzan Myohoji Buddhist nuns, monks, and their supporters. The ground purification ceremony or Jichin-sai, is a traditional Buddhist and Shinto ceremony asking…

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Dharma Healing, Arts

What’s New and What’s Ancient With Your Mala?

People wearing malas celebrate a "Listening to the Sound of Silence” retreat at the Trappist Abbey in Carlton, Oregon. The retreat was taught by Jerry Braza from the Order of InterBeing.

Around the Northwest, Buddhist practitioners are using the strings of beads called malas in new and sometimes-surprising ways. And maybe not so surprising, here in 2020, some people are adapting digital devices to support their dharma practice as effectively as physical malas have since the time of the Buddha. As I reached out to Buddhist practitioners around the region, I was fascinated by the array of perspectives they bring to their mala use. Malas sold in Seattle empowering refugee Tibetan nuns in India Seattle-based Tibetan Nun Project in 1987 began raising funds to educate and empower nuns in the Tibetan…

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Sangha News

Female Leader Takes Over at Seattle Soto Zen

Outgoing teacher Eko Jeff Kelley prepares to bow with Kanshin Allison Tait, incoming teacher, in 2019.

Leadership changed at Seattle Soto Zen in September, with new spiritual director Kanshin Allison Tait replacing Eko Jeff Kelley as resident teacher. Kelley has retired after serving in the role for nearly 10 years. Shortly after the teacher transition ceremony Seattle Soto Zen conducted its annual September sesshin at Camp Indianola, west of Seattle. Tait and Kelley shared teaching responsibilities for a topic Kelley had chosen, “Impermanence Is Buddha Nature.” The sesshin participants were very aware of the truth of impermanence, as they said farewell to their beloved teacher. “Now things are changing,” said Kelley in his closing remarks. “That’s…

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What's Happening

The Goma Fire Ritual at Seattle Koyasan Buddhist Temple Online March 29, 12:00 Noon

Before the pandemic, you would have had to attend the temple in person to take part in this practice. Via Zoom, it is actually a better view of the proceedings. The Goma Fire Ritual uses a special area inside the temple to burn the Goma-gi in front of the Buddha. The fire symbolizes the wisdom of the Buddha and the…

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Finding upsides in digital sangha when we have no choice

Practical tips on leading meditation and discussion using video conferencing.

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Buddhist Centers Respond to Pandemic

Responses to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic are shifting rapidly. Many centers have suspended public events and are streaming programs via Zoom, YouTube, Facebook, and other video platforms. The following are a few announcements made in recent days. Check with your local center to confirm whether events are being held.

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Group Members

Seattle Pragmatic Dharma Society

The Seattle Pragmatic [Underground] Dharma Society (SPUDS) is a group of friends in Seattle who meet weekly to discuss meditation.  The word ‘underground’ in the name is used in a tongue-in-cheek fashion, both mocking the group’s unstructured nature and helping round out the acronym.  SPUDS started unofficially in early 2016 when a few individuals who connected through online meditation forums gathered in person in a local coffee shop to discuss meditation techniques, maps & results.  The point of the group was to provide a complement to some of the features of other local sanghas that were already available in the...

Tradition: Pragmatic Dharma || Location: , WA

Portland Friends of the Dhamma

Portland Friends of the Dhamma is a Buddhist Meditation Center in Portland, Oregon affiliated with and advised by the Abhayagiri monastic descendants of the Ajahn Chah, Ajahn Sumedho lineage. This center is supported by the goodwill and generosity of its participants.

Tradition: Theravada / Vipassana || Location: Portland, OR

Vajra Body Vajra Mind

Damien Abel is a Tibetan Buddhist teacher who teaches meditation methods and compassion practices. Damien's teachings are based on the Bodhicaryavatara and the Longchen Nyingthig lineage.   Damien leads retreats and offers phone and Skype coaching.

Tradition: Tibetan || Location: Auburn, WA

Friends of Lama Samten

We are an informal group of dharma practitioners who enjoy inviting Lama Samten to turn the wheel of dharma in the Seattle area. Lama Samten has been visiting Seattle since the early 2000s. About Lama Karma Samten Venerable Lama Samten was born in West Tibet in 1944. He fled his homeland with his brothers, sisters and parents in 1959 when the Communist Chinese invaded Tibet. His entire family of 13 members died crossing the Himalayas, only Lama Samten survived. He took his ordination in exile in India with the Very Venerable Khyabje Kalu Rinpoche and completed 10 years of solitary...

Tradition: Karma Kagyu || Location: Vashon, WA

Buddhist Meditation Society of Northern BC

BMSNBC Known informally as the Open Door Sangha, we hope to 'open the door' to Buddhist practice by providing a suitable space for regular formal mediation, and by bringing people in touch with a rich history as well as qualified teachers. Our organization is composed of two individual meditation groups (Vipassana and Zen) each embodying its own particular forms and practices.  Having two traditions within our sangha makes it possible for people to choose the tradition that feels most comfortable for them. We were founded in 1997 and our membership grew from 3 people to about 30 within a year...

Tradition: Vipassana & Zen || Location: Prince George, BC

Seattle Community Practice Group of the Dzogchen Foundation

Tradition: Tibetan || Location: Seattle, WA

Planet Dharma

Spiritual awakening is our birthright. Our teaching combines teachings from our diversee and  bona fide spiritual lineage, including Vajrayana, Mahayana, Theravadin and Western Mysteries traditions. We also draw on psychology, art, science and international interculturalism for a contemporary and global form of spiritual practice. We practice, train, work and live in conscious community at our retreat center, Clear Sky, in southeastern British Columbia, an hour north of the Idaho/Montana border. Through Planet Dharma, we teach at Clear Sky, internationally and virtually. Learn more at PlanetDharma.com.   Life is a fascinating journey, filled with discovery, exploration and awesome experiences. It can...

Tradition: Karma Kargyu (Tibetan) || Location: Fort Stele, BC

Insight Meditation of the Mid-Columbia

We are a Buddhist meditation group located in Eastern Washington that practices in the Insight Meditation (Vipassana) tradition. However, anyone interested in meditation practice is welcome to join us. We meet each week for meditation and study.  We also organize regular meditation retreats and support a prison Dharma practice at Coyote Ridge Correctional Center.

Tradition: Vipassana || Location: Richland, WA

Go to the Group Directory page for more!