From One Tree, Many Branches, Many Leaves:
International Vesak Day Celebrates Diversity

Laypeople from Seattle-area temples gathered and lit candles to celebrate International Vesak Day, May 30, at the Seattle Meditation Center in Mountlake Terrace, Washington

They came from different countries, wore different robes, spoke different languages, and chanted different chants. But unity was the theme of the day. International Vesak Day brought together clergy and laypeople from 15 different Buddhist groups in the Seattle area on May 30, to celebrate the Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and passing away. The event attracted about 25 Buddhist clergy and 70 laypeople to the Seattle Meditation Center in Mountlake Terrace, Washington, for chanting, meditation and candle lighting, on a warm, sunny Saturday. The event was co-sponsored by Northwest Dharma Association. The brightness of the day was colored by the oranges,…

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Compassionate Action

Dharma transforms a life, from prisoner to monk

Chris Richards receiving water blessing from Abbot Thich An Giao

Editor’s note: After doing time for years in New Jersey prison, Chris Richards ordained as a novice monk in April, and now aspires to become a prison chaplain. Richards’ long path to donning robes pivoted upon support from Thay Kobai, formerly known as Scott Whitney. Kobai serves as spiritual director of the Plum Mountain Buddhist Community in Aberdeen, Washington, a small coastal city. Here is Kobai’s story: In 2011 I received a letter from Chris Richards. a prison inmate in New Jersey. Richards had sent the letter to an old address, but the Aberdeen post office figured out who it…

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Dharma Education

17th Karmapa Reaches out to Youth
In Historic 2015 Seattle Visit

Children from the Tibetan Association of Washington sang for the Karmapa and then lined up to offer katas during an event at Lynnwood Convention Center

The greatest legacy of the recent cross-country tour by the 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, could be his connection with American youth and young adults. The young Karmapa, considered Tibetan Buddhism’s third-highest lama, began his unprecedented two-month U.S. visit with a whirlwind of college campus engagements, including sell-out talks at Stanford, Harvard, Princeton and Yale universities. The charismatic spiritual leader, whom many feel is being groomed to succeed the aging Dalai Lama as the public face of Free Tibet, resonated strongly with students with his focus on modern issues such as compassionate race relations, the sacredness of our natural environment,…

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Dharma in Canada

First Vancouver, B.C Buddhist Festival
Attracts Many from Across the Province

Sri Lankan dancers demonstrate traditional dance

Members of more than 20 British Columbia Buddhist groups gathered in Vancouver, B.C. May 30, for the first annual BC Buddhist Festival. People at the event celebrated the Buddhist Vesak holiday for world peace, raised money for local hospitals, and raised awareness of the plight in Nepal after the earthquakes. Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhists, from a variety of cultures, shared their traditions with each other and with all who attended at the University of British Columbia’s Thunderbird Stadium. The festival opened with an acknowledgement that it was being held on un-ceded Coast Salish land, as well as with a…

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Sangha News

The Sealing of SCOL’s First Three-Year Retreat

Lama Tsang Tsing offers a ceremonial khata scarf to retreatant Liza Baer

On April 4, Kagyu Changchub Chuling (KCC), a Buddhist center in Portland, Oregon, celebrated a momentous occasion with the sealing of its first three-year retreat. The event took place at KCC’s retreat center, Ser Chö Ösel Ling (SCOL) — The Land of Clear Light Golden Dharma. Seated in the lava rocks and ponderosa pines of Goldendale, Washington, the retreat sealing is an event more than 15 years in the making. Three-year retreat is traditional in Tibetan tradition, and is supported by only a few retreat centers in North America. The first morning of the retreat was auspicious, with the sun…

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