About the UBA

The University Buddhist Association of UCLA is an organization of students, faculty, and community members who come together to learn about and practice Buddhism. We're a non-sectarian Buddhist group that welcomes all Buddhists and non-Buddhist of all faiths and traditions.

If you're interested in learning more about the UCLA Buddhist community, please come to our meetings.

When: Every Tuesday, 5:30 - 7:00pm
Where: University Catholic Center
633 Gayley Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90024

If you have any questions, please contact us at uba.ucla.online@gmail.com.
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Monday, March 30, 2009

Week 1: New Start for a New Quarter!

Hello UBA friends,

It's a brand new quarter for the UBA and we'll be starting again with our regular meditation meetings with Reverend Kusala this Tuesday (that's tomorrow!) March 31st, from 5:30-7 pm at the UCC (633 Gayley). We'd love to see you all there!

For any newcomers out there, our meetings are a great way to get to know many different levels and aspects of Buddhism and to meet others with the same interests. Rev. Kusala, whose podcasts can be found on his website at www.dharmatalks.info, leads us in a dharma discussion, followed by a chance to ask questions and the opportunity to meditate.
We also have a website at www.theUBA.org, which offers a few other links that act as a jumping-off point to learn more about Buddhism.

Also, we are starting to work with the new staff members that will help run the UBA next year. We are always looking for more help! All talents and skills are welcome; you do not need any prior experience. Ask any of the staffers or send us an email at ucla.uba.online@gmail.com if you are interested or have any further questions.

And as always, if you have a more general question or comment, please feel free to drop us a line at ucla.uba.online@gmail.com.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

South Africa bans Dalai Lama from Peace Conference

I guess you just can't please everyone, though I do like how the prime minister of the Tibetan-government-in-exile interpreted the situation:

"Samdhong Rinpoche, the prime minister of the Tibetan government-in-exile, said South Africa was under pressure from Beijing and its decision to bar the Dalai Lama was a business matter.

'South Africa is a newly emerging country and China is giving it considerable economic resources so it is understandable,' he said Monday in Dharmsala, India. 'Every country has to protect its economic and political interests.' "

Read full article.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Colors in Buddhism

Here's a great blog post about the symbolism behind different colors in Buddhism.

Colors of Religion: Buddhism

Monday, March 23, 2009

The West’s largest Buddhist stupa rises in Spain

So what is it doing there in Spain??

"This isn’t to say that the Benalmádena stupa is devoid of political overtones. “The target may be other Buddhist groups,” suggests Martin Baumann, a professor of religion at Lucerne University (Switzerland) who researches the political impact of religious buildings. Many Tibetan Buddhists believe that their tradition is the purest. “In this way,” Dr. Baumann adds, “the Dalai Lama and other lamas are seen as being the carriers of unpolluted spirituality.” Built in strict accordance with traditional prescriptions and rituals, the stupa thus gives Tibetan Buddhism high visibility in the West’s Buddhist landscape.

The stupa also plays into an internal dispute within one of the four principal schools of Tibetan Buddhism, the Karma Kagyu. The Dalai Lama is the most prominent international spokesman for Tibetan Buddhism and for the Tibetan diaspora. This shines the spotlight on the school he heads, the Gelugpa school. Some speculate, however, that upon his death, focus could shift to the Karma Kagyu school and its head, known by the title of “Karmapa,” as the rallying point for Tibetans in exile."

Read Full Article.

The Buddha as Astute Businessman, Economist, Lawyer

I regret not having attended this lecture by Gregory Schopen, chair of the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures and an authority on ancient Indian Buddhism.

"The Buddha was a businessman. But don't take anyone's word for it — it's written in stone.

Of all the iconic scenes found in the earliest Buddhist art from India, none are more striking than the sculpted representation of a title deed involving one of Buddhism's most venerable monasteries: The transaction, involving 10 million gold coins, clearly shows that, far from being an ascetic, other-worldly religious tradition, Buddhism was, in fact, "deeply entangled with money – and a very great deal of it at that," according to Gregory Schopen, chair of the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures and an authority on ancient Indian Buddhism."

Read Full Article.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Spring Break: Summer in Thailand

Hi there UBA friends,

We hope you're enjoying the break so far! This is just a quick note to let you know of a great travel study opportunity for students wishing to get away this summer. Here is the forwarded message:


Hi all Dharma friends at the UBA,

I wanted to let you all know about a program I've developed on Sustainability in Thailand, Thailand Sustainable Communities and Ecosystems. Do you want to learn about Dharma practice in Buddhist Thailand? While our program does not focus on Buddhism directly, taking part in the 5 week summer program provides an authentic experience and insight into Buddhist life.

Please let me know your interest or any questions you may have.


Michael Silverman, Ph.D.
Lecturer, Institute of the Environment
300 La Kretz Hall, UCLA
Los Angeles, CA, 90095-1496

Registration ends April 15th, and financial aid may still be available to those who sign up pretty soon. Here's the link for more
information: http://www.ieo.ucla.edu/travelstudy/IOE-Thailand/overview.htm.

See you next week when we start up again in the spring!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Buddhist Life in South Korea

The LA Times gives "A taste of Buddhist life in South Korea"

"South Korea may well be the land of TV soaps and reality shows, but it is also where Seon Buddhism, Korea's answer to Japan's Zen, has remained the purest, or so the Koreans say.

I was sampling it at the Hwagyesa temple at the foot of the pine-tree covered Mount Samgaksan, where Koreans go hiking on weekends. Also called the Seoul International Zen Center, this is one of several temples where tourists can get a taste of Korean Buddhism for a day or more — and take a restoring break from the tumult of the economic meltdown."

Read full article.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Buddhist Superhero Movie

A Buddhist superhero film in English? hm...sounds promising...

"For this reason, Canadian Buddhist Zen Duke has brought together talented artists from all over the world and all faiths including all Buddhist sects from Nichiren and Zen to Western and even Chinese. They are now on the verge of completing an ambitious global epic that will promote inspirational Buddhist teachings and philosophies to a mainstream English speaking audience like no other film before it.

The film is completely non-political and is meant for both Buddhist and non-Buddhist audiences as it uses the popular superhero genre to both entertain and empower all demographics with an inspirational message during these challenging times."

Read full article.

Dharma Tunes

Here's a recent post from The Buddhist Channel:

"Dharma Tunes Vol. 1 is the first Malaysian Buddhist songbook complete with lyrics, guitar chords and full music notation. The song book aims to spread the Buddha's teachings through music. It is a community project initiated by Setenang.

Dharma Tunes Vol. 1 is especially suitable for Buddhist Sunday Dharma School teachers and students, Dharma Discussion groups and Buddhist music enthusiasts."

For more information, read full article.

Photo from The Buddhist Channel.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Humanistic Buddhist Monastic Life Program

I received news of this program from the UCLA Center of Buddhist Studies. Sounds like a great way to start off your summer!

Humanistic Buddhist Monastic Life Program

Program Location

The Humanistic Buddhist Monastic Life Program (HBMLP) will take place at the Fo Guang Shan Monastery outside the city of Kaohsiung (Gaoxiong) in southern Taiwan. All participants will be provided lodging on the monastic grounds. All courses and activities will be conducted in English.

Program Objectives

The objective of this program is to promote the understanding of Chinese Buddhism by exposing the participants to the daily practice of Humanistic Buddhism within a traditional Buddhist monastery. The Buddhist Monastic Life Program provides international graduate and undergraduate students interested in the study of religion, Buddhism and/or Chinese culture first-hand experience in the lifestyle, training, and rituals of contemporary Chinese Buddhist monastics. This year, approximately 40 applicants will be selected to participate in the program. The primary goals of the program include:

  • Offering participants a chance to view and experience Buddhism as it is practiced in modern-day Taiwan.
  • Providing courses on Buddhism and Chinese culture, taught by Buddhist monastics from Fo Guang Shan
  • Introducing participants to the concepts and practices of Humanistic Buddhism
  • Teaching Buddhist monastic disciplines and traditions
  • Exposing participants to Chinese culture and language
  • Cultivating spirituality through meditation
All of these goals are to be achieved within the context of the monastic experience.

For more information, visit their website.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Legal Education in Tibet

"Tibet has reported success in a year-long legal education at its monasteries, where monks have been told to abide by laws and regulations in religious practice, rallies and parades, officials in charge of religious affairs said Monday.

More than 2,300 officials were sent to Tibet's 505 monasteries after the deadly riots of March 14 last year to promote the legal awareness of monks and nuns and dissuade them from being duped by separatist forces and ensure the normal practice of Buddhism, said Soinam Renzin, deputy chief of the United Front Work Department of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Tibet Regional Committee."

Read full article.

Photo from ChinaView

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Buddhists protest Buddha Bar

Buddhist plan to hold a prayer service to protest the Buddha Bar's use of Buddhist icons.

"Hundreds of Buddhists plan to hold a prayer service in front of the Buddha Bar club in Central Jakarta on Thursday morning, in protest against the French franchise management's use of Buddhist attributes.

Eko Nugroho, head of the Indonesian Buddhist Students Association, told tempointeraktif.com that the service was organize to honor Buddha, who is represented by a Buddha statue in the Buddha Bar building.

Eko expects the bar management to change the bar's name. "It is most inappropriate to use a religious icon to name an entertainment place that sells liquor," he said."

Read full article.

Buddhist Recovery Network

I found this from a pretty neat blog: dharmadoctors.org.

"Dharmadoctors.org is dedicated to serving health care providers by providing Buddhist resources and inspiration for the enhancement of their practices and the benefit of their patients. Both Medicine and Buddhism are fundamentally concerned with alleviating suffering, and a dialogue between these two great traditions seems not only natural, but of particular relevance in today’s climate of health care crisis."

One of their recent entries that I found interesting is on The Buddhist Recovery Network.

"The Buddhist Recovery Network supports the use of Buddhist teachings, traditions and practices to help people recover from the suffering caused by addictive behaviors. Open to people of all backgrounds, and respectful of all recovery paths, the organization promotes mindfulness and meditation, and is grounded in Buddhist principles of non-harming, compassion and interdependence. It seeks to serve an international audience through teaching, training, treatment, research, publication, advocacy and community-building initiatives."

What is your concept of eternity?

Ah, my favorite type of articles. The News & Observer features "Voices of Faith", in which Rev. R.L. Baynham, pastor of Metropolitan Baptist Church, and Lama Chuck Stanford of the Rime Buddhist Center & Monastery provide insight from their respective faiths. In this article, they discuss "What is your concept of eternity?"

Rev. R.L. Baynham: Eternity is an attribute of God, and he alone fathoms its depths. We are challenged to live within the divine purpose of God's will as ascribed in the Bible. When we live in harmony with our purpose, we experience life as it is supposed to be. We understand the purpose is to live a full, meaningful life.

Lama Chuck Stanford: Unlike the monotheistic faiths, Buddhism has no concept of eternity after death. In fact, from the Buddhist perspective, death is viewed as a very temporary state between a nearly infinite number of rebirths.

Read full article.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Buddhist lessons from "He's Just Not That Into You"

I've got to watch this movie. Seven buddhist lessons in all, reviewed by The Buddhist Channel. First one:

"1. Some express aversion to those they have attachment to – because they are intimidated by their own attachment, such that they try to reverse it, to reject their attachment. What they really have is aversion to themselves, not the other. Why not try to cultivate equanimity beyond the extremes of attachment and aversion instead?"

For the rest, read full article.

Photo from The Buddhist Channel.

The Buddha Bar labeled sacrilegious

Indonesian students taking matters into their own hands:

"The exclusive Buddha Bar in Central Jakarta, part-owned by the daughter of former President Megawati Sukarnoputri, has been labeled sacrilegious by the Indonesian Buddhist Student

Association chairman Eko Nugroho told the Jakarta Globe on Sunday that the new bar and restaurant in Menteng violated laws related to insulting religions and should be shut down.

Eko said that a number of Buddhist organizations in Indonesia had filed official complaints about the name with the Ministry of Religious Affairs, the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Tourism.

He said the Jakarta administration should have considered the law regarding the misuse of religious symbols before issuing permits for the restaurant.

“We urge local governments in Jakarta to take strong action against the new bar to avoid angering Buddhists,” he said."

Read full article.

UCLA Buddhist Scholar Gregory Schopen

From our very own UCLA:

"As one of the world's leading authorities on Buddhism, Gregory Schopen has shattered many myths, notably the notion that Buddhist monks in ancient India renounced money and property.

Schopen finds the widespread Western fascination with Buddhism "highly artificial and a little bit silly because it takes place completely in the abstract." The average Westerner is not interested in the "totality of what Buddhism is – a way of interacting and being human – but with a certain set of free-floating ideas that have been connected with Buddhism," he explained, adding: "I have a problem with that."

One of his favorite images of Buddhism as it's practiced in America is from a photograph of devotees in a Thai Buddhist temple in Los Angeles: "All the local Thai people are doing worship to the Buddha image in the front; in the back is a whole row of white guys meditating," said Schopen. "These are completely different approaches to the same phenomenon – the picture is worth a thousand words."

Read full article.

Week 9: Guest Speaker Ven. Huei Hsuen

Man, it's been quite a while since I've posted, but I'm back. Stop by our meeting tomorrow; we have a guest speaker, Venerable Huei Hsuen. Hope to see you there!


Hello UBA friends,

To begin with, apologies for the lateness of the weekly update; hopefully many of you can still make it to this week's meditation because we are mixing it up a little with a guest speaker! Venerable Huei Hsuen, a Buddhist monastic in the Chinese tradition, will be coming to lead a discussion and meditation. Come ready with questions!

We will be meeting at the usual time and place, from 5:30-7 pm on Tuesday, March 3rd at the University Catholic Center.

In the meantime, we wish Rev. Kusala a speedy recovery after his surgery this week! We hope to see many of you this Tuesday evening as our winter quarter starts to wrap up and, as always, any questions or comments can be directed to ucla.uba.online@gmail.com.

Thank you and have a great week!