For the Welfare of Many: Rediscovering the Quest for the Common Good
Humankind faces two momentous challenges in the coming decades. One is to establish the social and economic conditions essential for everyone on this planet to live a life of dignity and purpose. The other is to safeguard the natural environment on which we depend from irreversible damage, especially through climate destabilization. Buddhism too faces a major challenge: to expand its radical vision and moral compass wide enough to contribute toward our efforts to meet these two goals. In this talk, Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi will explore the ways in which Buddhism—and Buddhists—might face these critical demands and apply its insights toward promoting the common good.
Multiple Workshop Sessions
90 minutes Environment and Climate Change Panel
David Loy, Kristin Barker, Kritee Kritee, Samuel Grant III
90 minutes Dharma Men: A panel with dharma elders on how practicing and teaching dharma has transformed their lives
Bhikkhu Bodhi, Ralph Steele, Subhuti
Moderator: Lama Dawa Tarchin Phillips
During this panel, male dharma elders will share what the path has been like for them, if the promise of the path has delivered on their expectations, and how they see their roles and responsibilities today in modern dharma communities.
All participants, regardless of gender, are welcome to attend.
90 minutes Engaged Buddhism—Opening Our Western Eyes
Rev. Hozan Alan Senauke, Dh. Maitriveer of Nagaloka (India), Bhante Buddharakkhita of Ugandan Buddhist Centre, and Ouyporn Khuankaew of International Women’s Partnership for Peace and Justice (Thailand)
Buddhadharma in the West was brought to us by bold teachers who made a difficult journey to our shores. At the same time, living dharma traditions across the world continue to offer radical expressions of liberation in their own lands. In many ways, this ongoing work is hardly known in Western Buddhist communities. The exemplary teachers on this panel can open our eyes to their transformative work. How can we learn from them? How can we support each other in spiritual and material ways? How can we deepen that work?
What are the challenges—structural and mental—to working across different (Buddhist) cultures and geographical regions? Sharing their work and dedication, this international panel—diverse in gender, age, tradition, and national identity—can awaken us, and move us towards greater understanding and cooperation.
90 minutes Face to Face: An Art Practice Retreat
FORMAT: Everyone will be guided in simple mark making and drawing techniques to work with their own face image on zoom and a partners image in breakouts. The session will end with a sharing of images and experiences.
Materials needed: A few pieces of paper, a few pens, pencils, or thin markers, eraser, masking or scotch tape. A small board or cardboard to lean on.
At just this very moment what is it that appears in front of you? —Zen Master Dogen, from Body-and-Mind Study of the Way
What are we facing? Today many of us are on ZOOM in gatherings such as this and are seeing our own face and the faces of our companions quite close up, yet behind a screen. In this workshop participants will be guided in simple, direct, drawing and mark- making techniques to take a closer look at each other through the zoom lens and to express the marvel of our own face or the face of another with no goal other than to meet and see how we meet.
In our life as Bodhisattvas in Dharma Practice, we all must have discussed the insubstantiality and false security of a separate self. But when it comes to dissolving the illusory barrier between self and others, we do need to work on practical levels and keep it real. They myth of separateness is very convincing event and is not easy to shake.
This will be a courageous practice perhaps to expose some of our agendas, and strategies of self- importance. It is seeing how we may see whether we are studying our own face, the face of another, whether we are the one being studied, in facing what is there to face we will find challenges. Where do we draw the line? How do we attend to the forces that insist on judgments, the likes and dislikes?
Together we will practice and appreciate taking a raw, unadorned look with what appears right in front of us . We may just fall in love falling into the crevasses, wrinkles and creases that life has etched into skin, relishing the bumps, scars, colors and varied textures of this terrain. Hopefully we may be humbled, softened, inspired to meet and live in the circle of wonder with everything we encounter.
Dharma friendship: the inclusivity and diversity of the GenX Buddhist Teachers Sangha [GBTS]
GBTS grew out of a conference of “NextGen” Buddhist teachers in 2011 at the Garrison Institute in upstate New York. Fueled by the joy of meeting peers learning how to practice and teach the dharma across lineages, the group decided to meet every two years. We shifted from defining the community by age, which would have had the effect of a continuously changing constituency, to defining our group by birth year. For a variety of reasons, after lively and substantive discussions, we settled on 1960 to 1982.From the very beginning, GBTS has actively cultivated a culture of peership, viewed as the intention to put our teacher role to one side and relate to each other as friends on the path, helping each other learn and grow personally and in our profession. In addition, GBTS aims for diversity in many ways—foremost across Buddhist lineages, followed by ethnicity, race, sexual orientation, gender, and monastic/lay status.
You can never have enough Dharma friends. Please join us for what we hope will be a lively conversation.
Linda Modaro – Theravada Buddhism
Karma Yeshe Chodron – Tibetan Buddhism
Kiyonobu Kuwahara – Shin Buddhism
10:00AM - 11:30AM
Planning for 2025
Mahasangha 2025 — A Call to Action
Moderators: Dharmacharini Vimalasara and Lama Dawa Tarchin Phillips
Purpose is to find out who is interested in planning; get commitments; and pass on the baton!
END OF MORNING SESSION
Led by GuoGu Laoshi
The foundation of faith in Buddhist practice
The talk will center on three aspects of faith in the Buddhist tradition: bright faith, verified faith, and abiding faith. We will explore the importance of the correct kind of doubt (eg questioning in contrast to cynicism), and look at how despair is actually the opposite of faith.
Sharon Salzberg is a meditation pioneer and industry leader, a world-renowned teacher, and New York Times bestselling author. As one of the first to bring meditation and mindfulness into mainstream American culture over 45 years ago, her relatable, demystifying approach has inspired generations of meditation teachers and wellness influencers. Sharon is co-founder of The Insight Meditation Society in Barre, MA, and the author of eleven books, including the New York Times bestseller, Real Happiness, now in its second edition, her seminal work, Lovingkindness, and her newest book, Real Change: Mindfulness To Heal Ourselves and the World, released in September of 2020 from Flatiron Books. Sharon’s secular, modern approach to Buddhist teachings is sought after at schools, conferences, and retreat centers worldwide. Her podcast, The Metta Hour, has amassed over 3 million downloads and features interviews with the top leaders and thinkers of the mindfulness movement and beyond. Sharon’s writing can be found on Medium, On Being, the Maria Shriver blog, and Huffington Post. Learn more at www.sharonsalzberg.com
Multiple Workshop Sessions
60 minutes Learning, Reflecting, and Cultivating: A Nichiren Buddhist Approach
In a frequently cited letter in Nichiren Shu, our founder Nichiren Shonin wrote: “Without practice and study, there can be no Buddhism. You must not only persevere yourself; you must also teach others. Both practice and study arise from faith. Teach others to the best of your ability, even if it is only a single sentence or phrase.“ As an ordained priest of Nichiren Shu, I have taken this to heart and designed a program of study for those wishing to become clergy or lay leaders and for those dedicated practitioners who want to know for themselves what the Buddha taught.
In Nichiren Buddhism the mantra Namu Myoho Renge Kyo (Devotion to the Sutra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma) is the primary practice that expresses our deep joyful confidence (i.e. faith) in the message of the Lotus Sutra that all beings can attain buddhahood through receiving and upholding the Wonderful Dharma (Saddharma) and more importantly that the realm of buddhahood is always and everywhere expressing itself in our lives. The study of the Buddha’s teachings informs and matures our practice, and our practice in turn enables the realization and actualization of what the Buddha is teaching us.
In many ways, this program of study is a contemplative reading group focused on faith in and practice of the Lotus Sutra. The Lotus Sutra assumes a lot on the part of the reader and practitioner. What is needed is an overview of Buddhism using key discourses and treatises in a way wherein each lays the groundwork for the next until the Lotus Sutra itself can be understood and put into practice. This course of study, therefore, begins at the beginning with texts from the Tripitaka of mainstream Buddhism covering the life of Shakyamuni Buddha and the core insights, values, and practices that he taught. This is followed by a survey of Mahayana teachings concerning the six perfections, emptiness, buddha-nature, and the three bodies (trikaya) of the Buddha using a representative selection of major Mahayana sutras and treatises. After that, those who have gone through this course of study are ready to read the Lotus Sutra with a fuller understanding of its proper context within the Buddhist tradition as a whole. It is my hope that this understanding will inform and inspire practitioners in terms of their faith in and practice of the Wonderful Dharma.
Though this course of study was designed for practitioners in Nichiren Shu, I hope that others who wish to have a deeper appreciation for the values, practices, and insights of Buddhism and of the Lotus Sutra in particular will also find it helpful.
60 minutes Buddhism & Climate Change: Realizing Planetary Health
For the past three decades, my practice has been to provide safe drinking water to vulnerable populations worldwide. This work has been my best effort to address environmental justice, especially targeting poor women and their families who lack safe drinking water, this basic condition of well-being. Given the urgency of the climate crisis, in the past six years, I have refocused my work on climate action
In January 2021, I was given teacher authorization by Trudy Goodman of Insight LA. We jointly created that Zoom ceremony and invited those closest to us to join the celebration. At the end of the ceremony, I expressed my vow “to dedicate my life to Planetary Health, the health of the Earth and all beings on Earth, especially focusing on water, climate change and “One Health” the integration of human health, animal health, plant and planetary health.”
I am a teacher with one foot in each of two worlds. As an environmental engineer, I teach at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.” I teach students about courses in water, sanitation, climate change and planetary health. Also, I am a woman with a deep background in Buddhist feminism, having co-published “Kahawai: Journal of Women and Buddhism in the last 1970s and 1980s, and having translated and published “The First Buddhist Women” in 1992.
This lecture and discussion with share my perspective in bringing together these two worlds of Buddhism and Climate Change. The guiding principle is taken from the Four Noble Truths:
There is suffering … There is climate change.
There is a cause of suffering … Excess human-generated greenhouse gas emissions are the cause of the climate crisis.
There is an end to suffering … There are numerous, currently-available, planetary health interventions, nature-based solutions, and geo-engineered approaches to addressing the climate crisis
There is a path … There is a path.
This lecture/discussion is about unifying these two perspectives, with a focus on the actions Buddhists can take to mitigate, adapt and transform the most profound crisis humanity has ever faced.
60 minutes The F-Word: A Place for Faith?
As Buddhists, how comfortable are we with notions of the divine? Growing up proudly self-sufficient and atheist, it took the trauma of addiction to create a crack in my thick layers of protection. Once this crack opened up, the Buddha’s light could stream in. In this workshop I’ll share my experience of being a religious Pure Land Buddhist, looking at how this fits with 12 step fellowships, Christian thinking and Internal Family Systems, the model I use as a psychotherapist. There will also be space for us to explore our own experiences of religion and the divine, and maybe some new cracks will open up!