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02-19-09 - Chinese Chan Master Sheng Yen has departed this floating world
Thanks to Andrew Main for sending this report.
I came across one of Master Sheng Yen's books some fifteen years ago, and immediately appreciated his simplicity and directness. (In particular, he was the first Buddhist public figure I'd come across who was willing, in response to a student's question, to speak the plain truth about abortion.) I never met or saw him, but have followed his activities from a distance now and then. Every picture I've seen of him, he always seems to be smiling. He became a monk the year I was born.
Here's an interesting dialog between Master Sheng Yen and H.H. the Dalai Lama, on Tibetan and Chinese Buddhism (they both laugh a lot):
12-04-08 - A Seasonal Letter from Brother David Steindl-Rast
+ Dear Friends,
These are not the Three Kings from Orient on their camels – though it would be fitting for this season. Rather, it is my favorite picture from a week in the Sahara, a time i was privileged to share with seven inspiring Bedouins of the last generation still raised in the desert, with seventeen camels (one white), and with a truly remarkable group of twenty-five retreatants gathered by Cornelia Walterspiel. In the vast expanse and silence of the sand dunes by day and under the deep desert sky by night we exposed ourselves to the same Presence to which those Kings were led by a star.
For me, this was the climax of a lecture tour of almost five months. That i was still able to do these travels at my age was possible thanks to the care and assistance of Anthony Chavez, my young friend and helper. He brought me back in good health and high spirits, thank G-d. Now, however, i am ready for a long retreat in the mountains of Guatemala, for which my friend of many decades, Sister Mary Peter and her community of Poor Clares, are offering me the opportunity. This will mean celebrating Christmas this year in a different way, new to me: no mail, except heart-mail; no presents, except intangible ones. At the end of this year when two of my closest friends, Nancy Graeff and Norman Daly, left this world, i need to focus on that Presence that is ever now, while we come and fade away like shadows gliding over sand.
Deeply grateful to Patricia Carlson and Margaret Wakeley, the pillars of our Gratefulness web-team, for giving me this opportunity to be away by taking care of practical matters, i want to thank all of you, too, for your understanding and silent support. May the year 2009 bring us the long hoped-for turn in world affairs. May it bring each one of you the joy of contributing to a better world by following the star of your highest desire.
Your brother David
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