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Everybody Loves Wendy May 9, 2008

Posted by Sarah Todd in Books, Environment, Zen.
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Who’s the greenest of them all? Our vote gets cast for Tricycle columnist and Zen gardener Wendy Johnson, the subject of a big splashy ol’ profile in the New York Times Home and Garden section (“Dharma in the Dirt,” May 8, 2008). Wendy’s “On Gardening” column has been a prize rose of the Tricycle garden for over ten years, and with the publication of her new book, Gardening at the Dragon’s Gate, she’s getting a wave of much-deserved attention.

In the Times article, Wendy discusses her lovingly cultivated garden near Green Gulch Farm and the path that led her to appreciate the Buddha-nature of hemlock and lilacs alike. Basically, her life is awesome: meditating with trowel in hand, serving visitors homegrown lemon verbena tea, teaching, composting, writing… We want in! In the meantime, we can always content ourselves with reading about it. Check out one of Wendy’s columns for free here, and learn about upcoming readings and events on her website.

World Food Crisis; Street Zen April 17, 2008

Posted by Philip Ryan in Environment, Zen.
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The world food crisis:

Scientists and economists worry that the reallocation of scarce water resources — away from rice and other grains and toward more lucrative crops and livestock — threatens poor countries that import rice as a dietary staple.

The global agricultural crisis is threatening to become political, pitting the United States and other developed countries against the developing world over the need for affordable food versus the need for renewable energy. Many poorer nations worry that subsidies from rich countries to support biofuels, which turn food, like corn, into fuel, are pushing up the price of staples. The World Bank and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization called on major agricultural nations to overhaul policies to avoid a social explosion from rising food prices.

With rice, which is not used to make biofuel, the problem is availability. Even in normal times, little of the world’s rice is actually exported — more than 90 percent is consumed in the countries where it is grown. In the last quarter-century, rice consumption has outpaced production, with global reserves plunging by half just since 2000. A plant disease is hurting harvests in Vietnam, reducing supply. And economic uncertainty has led producers to hoard rice and speculators and investors to see it as a lucrative or at least safe bet.

And a street retreat in British Columbia:

Jordan and 13 other volunteers will live on the street from July 31 to Aug 3, avoiding shelters so they do not take beds from those who need them, but eating in soup kitchens and mingling with the street population.

Under the leadership of Zen Sensei Genro Gauntt, the group will meditate twice a day, and, in a non-judgmental way, bear witness to what is going on.

“Most people think it is odd, but sort of odd-good,” Jordan said.

Others accuse them of being no more than tourists, but even tourists gain some understanding of the places they visit, he said.

The first thing each volunteer has to do is raise the $400 cost of the retreat by going to friends, family or associates and asking for donations.

“To sincerely engage in this experience we need to humble ourselves at the outset, attempt to explain to others our reasons for participating and beg for their support,” say the instructions.

Burma Peace Walk; Donna Karan’s Urban Zen April 16, 2008

Posted by Philip Ryan in Burma, News, Tibet, Zen.
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Here’s a collection of links on the recent Burma Peace Walk and other Buddhist activities in the Bay Area, courtesy of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship:

ABC7 Local Network Coverage: Monks march through Golden Gate

KRON 4 NEWS Video: Burmese Monks and Supporters Walk Across Golden Gate Bridge

Burma April 9 Torch Protest Featured Coverage:

Salon.com spent a day with Burma protesters and made this feature front page story:

Press Democrat: On day of chaos, quiet march speaks loudly

YouTube Video of  Peace Walk taken from the Air

San Francisco: Peace Walk begin

Peace Walk Across the Golden Gate Bridge

Peace Walk Across the Golden Gate Bridge2

CNN.com Photo Collection: 

CNN: There photos from Bridge Walk made it to this collection of 14 photos by

The Province: Bridge Walk Photo is used in this Canada Article:  B.C. residents join anti-China demo

Flickr: Peace Walk for Burma Photos

Flying Free Burma Banner: San Francisco Olympic Torch Relay and Protests; 

Free Burma, Olympic Torch Protest Against China’s Human Rights practices, Led by Burmese Monks on the Golden Gate Bridge, April 9, 2008, San Francisco

Peace Walk for Burma Photos

Other coverage where Burma was mentioned: 

Americans take dim view of relay

Olympic Torch Takes Unexpected Route Through SF

CBC Canada on the Bridge Walk Coverage: 

USA Today:  Olympic torch run out of sight for most: 

BBC: Confusion strikes US torch relay: 

The Guardian: San Francisco is braced to greet Olympic torch – and thousands of protesters 

AP: Torch concludes bumpy tour of Bay Area:  

Some of the coverage before April 9 :

NBC11 Video: Burmese Activists To SF: Drop Torch Run completely

Video: Burmese activists protest SF torch run

Video: Burmese activists protest SF torch run
ABC7 News: http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=news/local&id=6048985

Plus, Donna Karan and her Urban Zen Foundation in the Village Voice.

China and the IOC April 10, 2008

Posted by Philip Ryan in News, Zen.
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There is some daylight between China and the IOC.

How to Cook Your Life was great. Ed Brown seems like someone who could be difficult at times in the kitchen, but who isn’t? And the part with the battered teapots in the end was excellent.

UPDATE: “teacups” changed to teapots. The Manitoba Buddhist Temple‘s excellent blog has a post on this with video from, well, much closer to the actual release date of the film.

Nepal’s Election; World Food Crisis; How to Cook Your Life April 10, 2008

Posted by Philip Ryan in News, Zen.
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Nepal’s election is here, but it may be dangerous to vote. Manjushree Thapa writes:

Democracy may be imperfect, but unlike absolute systems like Maoism and monarchism, it incorporates mechanisms to correct its own flaws.

So, yes: I am planning to risk my life to vote today.

Not that the election will resolve much. Most Nepalis recognize that it will, in fact, send our country into an era of heightened instability.

Plus the world’s growing food crisis, and how biofuels are at least somewhat to blame. And speaking of food, I recently watched the first half of “How to Cook Your Life”, a movie about Edward Espe Brown, the author of The Tassajara Bread Book, teaching people to make bread as part of their Zen practice. Here’s the trailer. It’s quite entertaining and well worth watching. (There’s a lot of reviews online if you’re interested.)

“Take care of kitchen pots and tools as if they were your own eyes.”

Electro-zen! April 10, 2008

Posted by Philip Ryan in Zen.
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A time-saving device. Hat tip to the Level 8th Buddhist.

A Horse to Water April 5, 2008

Posted by Philip Ryan in General, Zen.
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Two recent finds from the Worst Horse: The Urban Zen Foundation, founded by Donna Karan and Sonja Nuttall, which is about empowering patients and inspiring “change in the areas of well-being,” and If It’s Hip, It’s Here: a collection of Buddha-shaped items.

Philip Whalen and the Bhutanese Bob Dylans April 1, 2008

Posted by Philip Ryan in Art, Books, Review, Zen.
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Danny Fisher points us to the Nation‘s review of The Collected Poems of Philip Whalen.

And from the Worst Horse: “a small platoon of Bhutanese Bob Dylans”. Ok, sure.

Burma’s new constitution disenfrachises monks March 24, 2008

Posted by Philip Ryan in Burma, Dalai Lama, News, Tibet, Zen.
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A picture of a cute and cuddly koala (which seem to be slightly larger than I’d imagined), plus an interview with His Holiness the Dalai Lama from Dreaming of Danzan Ravjaa:

Some images of the recent casualties have been graphic and disturbing. Have you seen them? What was your reaction? We heard you wept. Yes, I cried once. One advantage of belonging to the Tibetan Buddhist culture is that at the intellectual level there is a lot of turmoil, a lot of anxiety and worries, but at the deeper, emotional level there is calm. Every night in my Buddhist practice I give and take. I take in Chinese suspicion. I give back trust and compassion. I take their negative feeling and give them positive feeling. I do that every day.

A talk by Shodo Harada Roshi from Urban Monk.

Burma’s new constitution disenfranchises monks.

The Tibet Initiative, a German rights group, says they’re trying to starve out the monasteries in Tibet. From the Buddhist Channel.

From the Precious Metal blog: China puts out its own message on Tibet, and a Thai torchbearer withdraws from the 2008 Olympic run-up because of the Tibet crackdown.

Mu March 24, 2008

Posted by Philip Ryan in Zen.
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Apparently the old koan was wrong.