First and foremost, my dear readers, it is the second Friday of the month which means you’re all being treated to a new episode of the DharmaRealm podcast. And not just any new episode but the first episode recorded before a live studio audience!
Actually pulling this event off was pretty rewarding, I gotta say. Between you and me, we kind of threw it all together without much foresight (a consequence of a more-than-insanely-busy late summer, early autumn). Harry and I learned a lot from the experience, though and are looking forward to recording more stuff with an audience. And next time we’ll do it on a Saturday so more people can attend (and maybe I’ll look into live-streaming but don’t hold your breath!). Apart from all that behind-the-scenes stuff, the content of this episode is, in my humble option, actually quite good! We were inspired by a question about the nature of the Pure Land, and to the extent this is the kind of question us Shin Buddhists get asked a lot, it was good to hash out our ideas. Harry’s perspective, that the idea of whether or not the Pure Land is really real and how that forces us to question the reality of our mundane world, is something worth considering. Needless to say, he blew my mind once or twice.
Next up in our cavalcade of announcements, planning for the IBS’s March 2010 conference on Buddhism in the west is coming along smashingly, and I’m happy to announce that registration for the conference is officially open. The registration fee is only $25 for the weekend and gives you access to the whole conference; panels on transnationalism and representation of Buddhism in the States, papers on everything from Buddhists on the Internet to Buddhists and end-of-life care, big names in the filed along with young upstarts, receptions and film screenings. So, you should come. You can find all the pertinent details, including housing and travel information, over on the conference webpage.
Last (but certainly least), you may be thinking to yourself, “Hey, something looks a little different with the blog…” And it’s true. I’ve gone and re-designed the site, again, after just doing a major overhaul less than two months ago. The deal is, that last design is proving to be a better fit elsewhere, and for what I’m trying to accomplish in this space, it felt like overkill. So I thought I would bring back a more minimalist approach, one that would force to me focus this blog on what I’ve always wanted to focus it on: my own meandering thoughts and reflections coupled with some shameless self-promotion.
It was a long and difficult summer. And over the last couple of months, as I spent more time dedicated to real-world projects and less time arguing with people on the Internet, I’ve been reconnecting with the things in my life that provide me, consistently, with value and joy. Expect good things in the months ahead.