Saturday, February 27, 2010
China's Frozen Desert
As commerce flourished along the Silk Road, Central Asia became a melting pot of cultures. Here on the edges of the Taklmakan Desert, an exotic blend of Indian, Mongol, Chinese, and European influences fueled an astonishing cultural Renaissance. In the 7th century, a Chinese monk, Xuanzang, plunged into the desert while on a Buddhist pilgrimage to India. His descriptions of the oasis-cities he encountered would prove invaluable to another explorer, more than a thousand years later. 20th century archeologist Sir Aurel Stein took on the deadly Taklamakan to prove his own theories about Western China's lost civilization. Again and again Xuanzang's writings led him to archeological treasure - once thriving cities now buried in the sand. On their monk's trail, Stein made his greatest discovery, a thousand-year-old Buddhist library in near-perfect condition.
Monday, February 22, 2010
Big Mind Workshop BERLIN 2008 - Genpo Roshi
This DVD presents a highly original and accessible pathway to self-discovery and personal liberation. Since 1999 the Big Mind process has been experienced by many thousands of people in seminars across America. Big Mind employs a Jungian voice dialogue technique that enables people to step out of limited self-concepts into awareness of their many different sub-selves (emotions/mental states). In addition to exploration of the more familiar sub-voices like anger and fear, author Zen Master Dennis Genpo Merzel uses this technique to help people access the ever-present Big Mind/Big Heart awareness - the clear, "just being" awareness and the unconditional compassion that we all can experience. Benefits: Access to our innate wisdom, compassion and equanimity; openness of mind and ability to shift perspectives; greater presence and empowerment; and appreciation for the wisdom within all of our many sub-selves even ones we tend to dislike or disown, like fear and anger.
Sunday, February 21, 2010
BBC - Sue Johnston's Shangri La
Sue Johnston goes in search of her life long dream - to find the lost world of Shangri La.
We follow Sue as she sets out to find her childhood dream - Shangri La. Sue first came across the story of Shangri La as a 16 year old in 1959 when she watched the old black and white movie, Lost Horizon, with her mother on their first black and white TV. The film was based on a book written by James Hilton in 1933. She read the book voraciously and has been re-reading it over the years since. As a child she was always fascinated by the orient and the mysteries of the far east. But in those post war austerity days in Merseyside the chances of ever following her dream seemed unattainable goal. Then life took over. She got married, had a child, started a very successful acting career, got divorced and the dream slipped further and further away - into the dark forgotten corners of her mind.
Recently as her life started to change. Her son left home and settled into his own life and her parents died.. Her sense of mortality hit home so she decided that it was time to try and follow that childhood dream. She decided to go in search of Shangri La - to find the inspiration for Hilton's book, the story of Lost Horizon.We follow Sue on her quest through SW China's Yunnan Province and into Tibet, traveling over high mountain passes, into deep hidden valleys and gorges, through bustling towns and ultimately on horse back to her final destination, the scared mountain of Kawarkapo and the beautiful tiny isolated village of Yipung on the edge of the Tibetan Plateau - fulfilling a childhood dream to find the mysterious world of Shangri La.
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Monday, February 15, 2010
In this simple primer on compassion and kindness, the Dalai Lama teaches that "if we really want happiness, we must widen the sphere of love." The book draws on many of the same principles found in His Holiness's other works, most notably The Art of Happiness, but it presents them in a seven-step process that is both practical and wise. Readers are encouraged to use the warm feeling they have for their best friends as a model of how they can regard all people and extend their circle of loving relationships to include others, even enemies. Then they can proceed to the next steps: developing a "heroic intention" to further their personal enlightenment, having compassion for the suffering of others and committing to a life of altruism. Although the last few stages of this plan can be blurry and indistinct, the overall effect is valuable. This is a generous and sensible road map to not-so-random acts of kindness.
Friday, February 12, 2010
When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times
How can we go on living when things fall apart—when we are overcome by pain, fear, and anxiety? Pema Chödrön’s answer to that question contains some spectacularly good news: there is a fundamental happiness readily available to each one of us, no matter how difficult things seem to be. To find it, according to traditional Buddhist teaching, we must learn to stop running from suffering and instead actually learn to approach it—fearlessly, compassionately, and with curiosity. This radical practice enables us to use all situations, even very painful ones, as means for discovering the truth and love that are utterly indestructible.
Saturday, February 6, 2010
Taoist Master Chuang
Until his death in 1976 Master Chuang, a descendant of 35 generations of Taoist Priests, carried out his ancient rituals for the benefit of a small band of believers in Taiwan. His family, who claimed to have come from Hua Shan, the Taoist mountain in western China, followed the observances of the Dragon-Tiger Mountain sect in southeastern China. Although there are many conflicting Taoist schools, the antiquity and authenticity of Master Chuang's traditions cannot be doubted.
Michael Saso, a Western disciple of Master Chuang, recounts the teachings of Taoist Master Chuang, including Taoist history as Master Chuang understood it, the role of Taoist Priests in modern Chinese society, and Master Chuang's own rituals of Taoist black magic, meditation, and rarely discussed exorcistic thunder magic.
Ethics and the World Crisis: A Dialogue With the Dalai Lama
Buddhist leader His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet is the focal point of this panel discussion, in which a group of political, environmental, and spiritual activists discuss the dangers and dilemmas that face the global community at the dawn of the 21st century. Ethics and the World Crisis: A Dialogue With the Dalai Lama features discussions of ethical issues and how they relate to the media, global economics, the peace movement, and the environment. In addition to the Dalai Lama, panelists include U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich, Rev. Al Sharpton, Susan Sarandon, Russell Simmons, Amy Goodman, Ben Cohen, and more; the discussion is moderated by Robert Thurman.