All posts tagged: Buddhist

Lama Rod describes himself as a Black Buddhist Southern Queen. He wants to free you from suffering

Lama Rod describes himself as a Black Buddhist Southern Queen. He wants to free you from suffering

ROME, Ga (AP) — Instead of traditional maroon and gold Tibetan Buddhist robes, Lama Rod Owens wore a white animal print cardigan over a bright yellow T-shirt with an image of singer Sade, an Africa-shaped medallion and mala beads — the most recognizable sign of his Buddhism. “Being a Buddhist or a spiritual leader, I got rid of trying to wear the part because it just wasn’t authentic to me,” said Owens, 44, who describes himself as a Black Buddhist Southern Queen. “For me, it’s not about looking like a Buddhist. It’s about being myself,” he said at his mother’s home in Rome, Georgia. “And I like color.” The Harvard Divinity School -educated lama and yoga teacher blends his training in the Kagyu School of Tibetan Buddhism with pop culture references and experiences from his life as a Black, queer man, raised in the South by his mother, a pastor at a Christian church. Today, he is an influential voice in a new generation of Buddhist teachers, respected for his work focused on social change, …

Inspired by reality TV, Buddhist monks become matchmakers

Inspired by reality TV, Buddhist monks become matchmakers

GANGHWA ISLAND, South Korea —  Three monks, a horde of reporters and 20 singles looking for love walked into a Buddhist temple. The singles sat on gray mats in the center of the temple’s study hall, visibly tense because the two dozen reporters crammed in the back were causing a small scene. An irritated cameraman snapped at a competitor: “Can you get out of my shot?” The three monks of the Jogye order — South Korea’s largest Buddhist sect, with around 12 million followers — looked on with placid smiles. So began the third edition of “Naneun Jeollo” — or “To the temple” — a matchmaking event launched last year by the Korean Buddhist Foundation for Social Welfare to fulfill the religion’s commitment to fostering “social cohesion.” Ji-su, a participant, hangs a wish note under a lantern. (Jean Chung / For The Times) One of the organizers reminded the participants of the weekend’s stakes: nothing less than the future of the country. “I’m sure all of you have noticed how that day-care center in your neighborhood …

What the Buddhist text Therigatha teaches about women’s enlightenment

What the Buddhist text Therigatha teaches about women’s enlightenment

(The Conversation) — Images of Buddha’s enlightenment often portray him sitting alone under the bodhi tree, his body emaciated from fasting. Some depictions show the Buddha’s right hand pointing down, asking the earth goddess to bear witness to his enlightenment. Demonic armies or dangerous temptresses can be shown on both sides of the Buddha, demonstrating his fortitude in the face of violent threats and seduction. In some images, he may also be flanked by two male disciples while expounding his teachings. A third- to fifth-century statue of a fasting Buddha from the Kushan period.Samuel Eilenberg Collection, Ex Coll.: Columbia University, Purchase, Rogers, Dodge, Harris Brisbane Dick and Fletcher Funds, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, and Lila Acheson Wallace Gift, 1987 What is missing, however, from these images are Buddhist women. What does enlightenment look like for them? I’m a scholar of women and gender in Buddhism, and one of the key questions driving my research is the unique ways in which enlightenment is experienced in a female body. This led me to the Therigatha, a collection of …

Tep Vong, the leader of Cambodia’s Buddhist community, dies at 93

Tep Vong, the leader of Cambodia’s Buddhist community, dies at 93

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — Tep Vong, the senior monk who headed Cambodia’s Buddhist community and was vital for its rejuvenation in the wake of the Khmer Rouge genocide in the late 70s, has died. He was 93. Cambodia’s Ministry of Cult and Religion said Tep Vong died Monday after an extended illness. Tep Vong in 2006 was granted the title of the Great Supreme Patriarch, making him the religious chief of both the Mahanikay and Dhammayut orders of Theravada Buddhism in Cambodia. About 97% of Cambodia’s 17 million people are Buddhists. He had been close to the ruling Cambodian People’s Party and its leader, Hun Sen, who served as prime minister for 38 years before stepping down last year. Tep Vong was key to the rejuvenation of Buddhism in Cambodia after the communist Khmer Rouge during their 1975-79 rule tried to eradicate all organized religion. Their radical policies are blamed for the deaths of as many as 1.7 million people from starvation, illness, and execution. After an invasion by neighboring Vietnam ousted the Khmer …

The Lotus Sutra − an ancient Buddhist scripture from the 3rd century − continues to have relevance today

The Lotus Sutra − an ancient Buddhist scripture from the 3rd century − continues to have relevance today

(The Conversation) — State legislatures across the United States have introduced over 400 bills to limit transgender Americans’ rights. Many of these bills’ sponsors, such as the Christian nonprofit Alliance Defending Freedom, cite Christian values as well as the values of the other Abrahamic faiths – Judaism and Islam – to justify their anti-trans positions. The Alliance Defending Freedom claims that Christians, Jews and Muslims view gender as binary and defined only by biology, though these religions’ diverse followers actually hold a range of views on LGBTQ+ issues. Historically, these religions were often more accepting of varied gender identities before colonialism imposed binary gender as a universal concept. Religious values from multiple traditions have supported transgender identity. As a scholar of Buddhism and gender, I know that several Buddhist texts treat gender as fluid. One such text is the Lotus Sutra, one of the most popular Buddhist scriptures in East Asia. Its core message is that everyone, no matter their gender or status, has the potential to become a Buddha. The Lotus Sutra conveys its …