Category Archives: About the Blog

Dharma Dialogue Spins Off

Spin off Blogs by Dharma Dialogue contributors.

Spin off Blogs by Dharma Dialogue contributors.

It’s finals week here at University of the West and the contributors of Dharma Dialogue have been busy completing their final projects.  Please look for some of them to be adapted and appear on the blog over winter break.  Classmates are working on papers, infographics, story collecting, and even websites of their own.  In latter case, we have three exciting spin off blogs to announce.  It appears some of our contributors have enjoyed blogging so much, they’re going to attempt to take it up as a habit.  Please check out their wonderful blogs and continue to check back at Dharma Dialogue: Buddhism in the U.S. for ongoing posts.  Although the class is over, the contributors were unanimous in their desire to keep the blog alive.  Look for exciting contributions from other members of the UWest family in the months ahead.

Family Dharma is “Practicing in the midst of life” thanks to Joseph and Sarit Rogers.  Per the site:

Joseph Rogers is a group facilitator, trained under Noah Levine, with Against the Stream Buddhist Meditation Society.  He is also a Masters of Divinity in Buddhist Chaplaincy candidate at University of the West under the supervision of Reverend Danny Fisher.  He currently teaches meditation to at risk youth, and co-facilitates the weekly young people’s group at ATS Santa Monica.


Sarit is a photographer specializing in fine-art portraiture, creative commercial photography, and  lifestyle photography primarily made up of musicians, yogis and the occasional pinup. …Sarit writes for Visions Teen, covering a wide array of issues surrounding addiction, recovery, mental health, adolescence, and parenting. She also has a blog of her own dedicated to her photography. Some of her most inspired subjects is the integration of mindfulness, breath, yoga, and meditation into family and recovery.

Their blog will seek to explore 1) Buddhism in America as a minority religion, 2) Family in Buddhist practice, 3) Lay practice in American Buddhism, 4) Relationships out of context, and 5) Finding time for formal practice.  Also, read Joseph’s first post on Dharma Dialogue if you haven’t already.

Path of Pleasure is “Using the Jhanas on the Buddha’s path to awakening” with classmate Buddhakaruna.  He describes himself and the blog this way:

I practice the jhanas as taught by Ayya Khema and Leigh Brasington. These are often called the sutta jhanas to distinguish them from the Visuddhimagga jhanas, which may be an entirely different creature from what I practice (a form of cessation?).

I also may discuss my experience as a Master of Divinity student at the University of the West, an accredited Buddhist University in Los Angeles. This degree will allow me to be a professional interfaith chaplain.

My hope is that blog will help those interested in, or currently practicing the jhanas to awaken themselves. There are so few of us relative to the dry-Vipassana practitioners that it is often difficult to connect and share our experiences.

Recent posts discuss self-compassion and fear.  Also check out Buddhakaruna’s earlier discussion of jhanas on Dharma Dialogue.

The Monkey King is “Taming the monkey mind in the Dhukka jungle” from Dancing Yellow Monkey.  This is a collaborative blog and a place for story telling and experience sharing, so please join in the conversation.

Welcome to the digital hub for a new generation of young adult practitioners of the Dharma.

This is a place for young adult Buddhist practitioners and scholars to share their experience as a person of color in the U.S.  Writings about one’s personal practices, relationships, work, parenting, social action, or various topics related to Buddhism in the U.S. are greatly encouraged. I invite you to share your experience.

This is a site for you. Please share your personal essays, poems, screenplays, short stories, art, photography, and video. Let your voice be heard!

Also, please read Dancing Yellow Monkey’s first post about young people of color in American Buddhism on Dharma Dialogue.

Finally, I shall continue to help edit and contribute to the blog along with our fearless leader, Dr. Jane Iwamura, Chair of Religious Studies at University of the West.  You can read more about my adventures at Dharma Cowgirl.  We hope you will keep following Dharma Dialogue, commenting, and contributing to the growing conversation about Buddhism in the U.S.

Post by Monica Sanford.

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Continued Reading About Buddhism in the U.S.

As previously mentioned, the class which is linked to this blog has continued apace and additional reading materials have been assigned.  They are listed below in a sort of thematic order.  Most are shorter journal articles used to supplement the original book list.  You may need a library subscription (either academic or public) to access some of them, but a simple web search should find a good many.  Happy reading!

  • “Religious Oppression” by Joshi, Khyati Y. in New Roots in America’s Sacred Ground: Religion, Race, and Ethnicity in Indian
  • An Introduction to Zen Buddhism by Suzuki, D.T.
  • “Zen” article in Time magazine (1957)
  • “Profiles: Great Simplicity” by Sargeant, Winthrop in New Yorker, 31 Aug 1957.
  • “Beat Zen, Square Zen, and Zen” by Watts, Alan in Chicago Review, 1958.
  • “Wondrous Activity” by Okamura, Mihoko in A Zen Life: D.T. Suzuki Remembered
  • “Two Buddhisms, Three Buddhisms, and Racism” by Hickey, Wakoh Shannon in Journal of Global Buddhism
  • “What is Zen?” by D.T. Suzuki in Zen and Japanese Buddhism (1959)
  • “Pagan Temples in San Francisco” by Masters, Frederick J.
  • “The Shallowness of Cultural Tradition” by Fei, Xiaotang
  • “‘Democracy According to the Buddhist Viewpoint’: American Buddhism and Buddhist Americanism” by Pierce, Lori A.
  • “Life a Dream, Like a Fantasy”  by Senzaki, Nyogen
  • “From Pearl Harbor to 9/11: Lessons from the Internment of Japanese Buddhism” by Williams, Duncan
  • “‘Beyond This World of Transiency and Impermanence’: Japanese Americans, Dharma Bums, and the Making of American Buddhism during the Early Cold War Year” by Masatsugu, Michael K. in Pacific Historical Review
  • “Immigrant Religious Adaptation: Vietnamese American Buddhists at Chua Viet Nam” by Do, Hien Duc and Mimi Khuc
  • “Racial Diversity in Buddhism in the U.S.” by Dugan, Kate & Hilary Bogert
  • “El Latinismo y sus Bellos Colores; Voices of Latina and Latino Buddhists” by Zubizarreta, Rosa
  • “Coming out in the Sangha: Queer Community in American Buddhism” by Corless, Roger
  • “Carry the Dharma in Español” by Sagbien, Julia
  • “Moving toward an End to Suffering” by               Jones, Marlene
  • “Family Life and Spiritual Kinship in American Buddhist Communities” by Prebish, Charles in American Buddhism as a Way of Life
  • “Buddhism and the Child in the United States” by Gross, Rita in Children and Childhood in American Religion
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Dharma Dialogue Featured on American Buddhist Perspective

I am happy to report that our little blog has been featured on fellow Buddhist blog American Buddhist Perspective hosted by Patheos, a blog service devoted to religion.  ABP is written by Justin Whitaker, a native of Montana who is “currently working on a Ph.D. in Buddhist Ethics at Goldsmiths-University of London.”

Justin ladles both praise and criticism for our short lists of posts, all of which is worth reading and considering.  One critique however, can be quickly addressed:

One of the things I noticed that was unfortunate is the anonymity of the people creating each post. It would be nice if each person gave, if not their name, then at least some background, for example: “authored by “Tim,” a 27 year old Ohio native, world traveler, and former business student who is now a Tibetan practitioner (of 4 years) and studying chaplaincy at U West.”

Sorry to say, Justin, this template is kinda weird.  The name of the author of each post is not displayed on the main page, but if you click on the post title itself, the author’s name is displayed on the sub-page.  I am looking for a fix.  Also, some classmates were hesitant to put themselves out there right off the bat, so their anonymity is being protected.  However, future posts will feature either the name or chosen internet handle of the post author in the body of the text.  In the meantime, if you scroll to the bottom of the blog, you can see a list of authors.  If you mouse over their gravatar image, you can view their profile.  A quick click on any of them will display the blog posts they’ve authored.  A list of author bios is being added to the About This Blog page, but only on a voluntary basis.

So thanks for reading, thanks for sharing, thanks for keeping us sharp, and please come back again.

Post by: Monica Sanford.

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About This Blog

Beyond the Ivory Tower

This blog begins as a discussion space for a graduate-level course about Buddhism in the U.S.  However, we hope it will become a public space for discussing the past, present, and possible future of Buddhist history and practice in the United States.  This course is being taught by Dr. Jane Iwamura at University of the West in Rosemead, California.  Dr. Iwamura and her students will be posting here regularly about topics being raised in the class.  Comments are welcome and encouraged both from enrolled students and the general public.  Please, tell us what you think!  What does Buddhism in the U.S. look like to you?

Ground Rules for Happy Blogging

We hope this blog can remain a safe space and while we encourage lively discussion, debate, and even disagreement, please respect your fellow commentors.  Although anonymous comments are allowed to protect the safety and privacy of commentors, inflammatory, defaming, threatening, or discriminatory comments will be deleted by the editor.  We encourage commentors to log in and use their real names or personal internet handles whenever they feel comfortable.

Reading Along

If you would like to have some background about the topics being discussed here on the blog, feel free to follow the reading outline for the class, which is found below.  This is only a draft and other reading materials will be mentioned as appropriate to the topics raised in the class.  In some cases, we may only read specific sections, chapters, or excerpts from the books mentioned below.  These will be noted as they are announced.  However, please don’t feel like you have to follow along exactly before voicing your opinion or sharing your experience.

Books (in the order of reading)


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