Please remember NWDA in the Giving Season

As you are reading this, are you aware of the conditions that led to the creation of what you’re reading? This awareness, of course, is fundamental to the practice of the dharma; it is the basic teaching of the Buddha that all things arise and fall dependent on conditions.

One of the conditions for the creation of this newsletter and the other activities of Northwest Dharma Association is having the financial resources necessary. NWDA provides a unique service to the Northwest Buddhist community. With our website, online news magazine, and sponsored events, we provide a forum that knits the whole of the Buddhist community together. It’s easy to take this for granted. We…

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Dharma Education

Teaching Buddhism, Psychology, the Absolute

This fall, for the fourth time, I taught a course on Buddhism and Western psychology – a topic that’s been at the heart of my intellectual life since I was old enough to have an intellectual life.

I taught the course under the auspices of the Experimental College, run by the Associated Students of the University of Washington, in Seattle. The course title is “Buddhist Insight Meditation and the Psych of Spiritual Development.” (I had to shorten psychology to psych, to fit the title into the catalogue’s computer template.)

After retiring from a career as a university professor in psychology, and after a lifelong interest in spiritual development, I missed teaching.

So when I discovered the opportunity to teach a…

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Dharma in Canada

A Year of Living Peacefully: Ajahn Sona’s Upcoming Solitary Retreat

After almost 25 years of monastic life, Ajahn Sona, abbot of Birken Forest Monastery (Sitavana) in British Columbia, Canada, will be taking a step back from his duties to devote a full year to solitary retreat at the monastery.

He is to start his retreat in April, 2013, and end the following April. Venerable Sona will conduct his retreat in his small cabin, called a “kuti” in Theravada tradition.

During his retreat he will maintain silence, forsake contact with the outside world, and use no electronic gadgets.

The following interview was conducted by one of Birken’s resident stewards. The monastery is in the Thai western forest tradition, and is located in the secluded forests of British Columbia’s interior.

Interviewer: Ajahn…

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Compassionate Action

Kobai Scott Whitney Ordained as Novice Monk

Kobai Scott Whitney, well known in the region for his work in prisons, has opened a new chapter in his life by ordaining as a novice monk in the Linchi (Rinzai) line of Vietnamese Zen Buddhism.

Due to his extensive life experience as a Buddhist practitioner and teacher, Whitney will spend only a year as a novice before being ordained a full monk.

As a monk Whitney has committed to a celibate lifestyle as a monk in the Vietnamese Thien tradition, and is now considered a teacher at Mount Adams Zen Center, as well as for the Plum Mountain Buddhist Community.

The ordination ceremony was performed on Oct. 15 at Chua Lien Hoa, a Vietnamese Buddhist temple in Olympia, Wash…

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Sangha News

Building Chenrezig Hall for Sravasti Abbey

Sravasti Abbey in Eastern Washington is now building its largest structure yet: Chenrezig Hall.

Named for the Buddha of Compassion, Chenrezig Hall, when finished in a year, will provide an array of facilities for growing numbers of guests.

At 9,882 square feet, the building will provide a kitchen and food storage facilities, a large dining room, a guest library, and guest sleeping rooms. It also will include a small chapel, and rooms for meetings, classes, and spiritual counseling.

“We want this building to radiate compassion,” said Tibetan Buddhist Nun Venerable Thubten Chodron, who founded Sravasti Abbey in 2003. “It will be the hub of activity when it’s completed, and the first stop for guests when they arrive at the abbey…

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