Seattle-Area Monastics Gather for Vesak

Monks seated in the main shrine room at Nalanda West, before the ceremony started

Monastics of many traditions from around the Seattle area gathered May 14 to celebrate the Buddha’s birthday and his enlightenment, a traditional Buddhist holiday called Vesak. The growing event, graciously hosted by Nalanda West in Seattle, was sponsored in partnership with Northwest Dharma Association, Wat Atammayatarama, Co Lam Pagoda and White Cloud Buddhist Society. Seattle  Koyasan Buddhist Temple attended the celebration for the first time this year, and Rev.  Imanaka Taijo expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to participate.  His chanting in Japanese added a different color to the sounds that filled the meditation hall. The ceremony was held in…

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Compassionate Action

Promoting Equal Education in Humla,
A Remote Region of Nepal

Namaste Children’s Fund General Manager Chimey Sherpa (standing on right), Phil Crean (middle) and school Administrator Suresh Bohara (standing on left) lead a discussion with parents in the school courtyard

Fifty girls are getting an education that will make a difference in their lives and that of their village, at the Karnali Girls Academy in Simikot, Nepal. The academy is a relatively new organization that Seattle-area Buddhist practitioners are helping to develop. Supported by the Namaste Children’s Fund, the girls-only school is unique in its region, including students of different castes, and religions, who peacefully live, learn and play together. From this beginning, we believe as the girls become adults, they will be prepared and empowered to make positive changes in their community together. In 2012 we completed construction of…

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Dharma in Canada

Ajahn Sona and the Company of Solitude
Reflections from a Year of Solitary Retreat

Chanting Welcome back and happy 60th birthday blessings for Ajahn Sona, in Birken’s main practice hall

(Editor’s note: More than a year ago Ajahn Sona, abbot of Birken Forest Monastery (‘Sitavana’) in British Columbia, Canada, entered a year-long solitary retreat. At that time we ran a question-and-answer interview with Ajahn Sona about his then-coming retreat, a piece that is attached here. After a year of practice he emerged from retreat in April, celebrating his 60th birthday and 25 years in robes. The piece below is his own words about his experience, and about what he learned. Ajahn Sona conducted his year of meditation in a small retreat hut next to Birken Forest Monastery, which is near…

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Dharma Healing, Arts

A Tibetan Sand Mandala, Traditional Teachings
Commemorate the Dalai Lama’s 2013 Visit to Portland

With intense concentration, two monks create a Medicine Buddha sand mandala at Maitripa College

This spring, Maitripa College commemorated the one-year anniversary of the Dalai Lama Environmental Summit with two traditional Tibetan Buddhist programs. The Portland-based Buddhist studies college also launched a short documentary film encapsulating highlights from the Dalai Lama’s visit to Portland, and his message of engagement with environmental and other concerns of our day. The sand mandala was created in May by a group of four monks from Sera Mey Monastery in India, to create a Medicine Buddha Sand Mandala for healing and peace. The traditional Tibetan Buddhist art form has rarely been performed in Portland. The monks came from Kongpo…

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Sangha News

Thai Forest Monks and Tibetan Nuns Together
Restore Forest at Old Gold Mine Hermitage

Monks, nuns, and dharma friends on a windy hill near the Old Gold Mine Hermitage

This spring the Old Gold Mine Hermitage, near rural Republic, Washington, was the site of what for the locals must have seemed an unlikely work party. For five days Buddhist monks and nuns joined lay practitioners to help restore a part of the hermitage forest that was lost to fire in 2010. The monks were there for the full five days, and the nuns arrived for the last day only. The monks came from the Abhayagiri Monastery in Redwood Valley, California, and also from the Pacific Hermitage along the Washington-Oregon border near Portland. The nuns arrived from Sravasti Abbey in…

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