• A Big Gay History of Same-sex Marriage in the Sangha Paid Member

    Buddhist same-sex marriage was born in the USA. That’s a little known but significant fact to reflect on now, just after the Supreme Court has declared legal marriage equality throughout the country. Appropriately enough, it all started in San Francisco, and was conceived as an act of love, not activism. The first known Buddhist same-sex marriages took place in the early 1970s, at the Buddhist Church of San Francisco. Founded in 1899, it’s the oldest surviving temple in the mainland United States. It’s also part of the oldest Buddhist organization outside Hawaii: the Buddhist Churches of America (BCA), part of the Shin tradition of Pure Land Buddhism. More »
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    Taitetsu Unno, Shin Buddhist Scholar and Minister, Dies at 85 Paid Member

    Rev. Dr. Taitetsu Unno—one of the world's preeminent scholars of Jodo Shinshu (Shin) Buddhism and a longtime minister in that tradition—passed away on Saturday, December 13. He was 85 years old.  Unno's final moments were spent surrounded by friends and family, including his son Mark, who describes his father's enduring equanimity and gratitude: More »
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    Buddhist, Hindu Make History in New Congress Paid Member

    (RNS) Congress will become a shade more religiously diverse this January, after Tuesday's (Nov. 6) election of the first Hindu representative and first Buddhist senator.Tulsi Gabbard, a Democrat from Hawaii, will become the first Hindu-American congresswoman, after defeating her Republican rival on Tuesday.Ami Bera, a California doctor who was raised Hindu but now identifies as a Unitarian Universalist, according to the Hindu American Foundation, narrowly leads the race for California's 7th congressional district. More »
  • Buddha Buzz: Buddhist News from Around the World, Week of November 5 Paid Member

    As we all know, President Barack Obama was re-elected for another four years on Tuesday. Our commander-in-chief may not have changed, but the Senate and the House of Representatives did get shuffled around, making way for a whole host of firsts:   The first openly gay senator, Tammy Baldwin, a democrat from Wisconsin.       The first Hindu congresswoman, Tulsi Gabbard, a democrat from Hawaii. (She'll be taking her oath over the Bhagavad Gita.)     More »
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    Remembering Jane Imamura Paid Member

    Other Friday evenings found Whalen and Snyder in Berkeley for the study group with Rev. Kanmo Imamura and Jane Imamura at the Berkeley Buddhist Temple. Together the Imamuras were descended from the most important old families of Jodo Shinshu Buddhism, yet they welcomed the young men, going so far in the subsequent years as to turn their little church publication—the Berkeley Bussei—over to the artist Will Petersen for a time. Snyder, Whalen, Ginsberg, and Kerouac all published early poems in its pages. The benevolent Imamura family gave both Snyder and Whalen their first contact with people actually practicing Buddhism instead of purely discussing its philosophies and traditions. —David Schneider, from "Lives Well Shared: The Friendship of Philip Whalen and Gary Snyder" More »
  • Buddhists in the House Paid Member

    Did you know that Hawaii's membership in the House of Representatives in 2011 will be 100% Buddhist? There are two House members from the Aloha State: Democrat Mazie Hirono and newly elected Colleen Hanabusa, also a Democrat and currently president of Hawaii's Senate. Hanabusa defeated Republican Charles Djou to win the seat representing the 1st district, which covers urban Honolulu, while Hirono represents the 2nd district, which covers suburban Honolulu and the rest of the islands. Both are of Japanese heritage and Wikipedia names both women as Shin Buddhists. More »