I'm pretty sure I'll be cathing this one when it hits theatres on November 13. It's true that there aren't enough words to describe the notion of GOD. For the time being, I am very satisfied with the simple description that GOD IS LOVE!!!
You may remember Sue May from her documentary entitled Bernardino which was recently an official selection at San Francisco's VIDEOFEST 2009 of the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts. Well, she's back at it again with a new project appropriately called The United States of Enlightenment.
Sue and her team will be conducting interviews this month including intimate interviews with HIS HOLINESS the DALAI LAMA at his teachings in Long Beach, CA on September 25th and 26th. I intend to take Sue up on her invitation to join her on some of the interviewing as well as sitting in on the teachings of HHDL. I get the feeling that United States of Enlightenmentis unfolding at just the perfect time!!!
Via LA times -"There will be no word from the outside world in the Great Retreat, only the quiet of rock and cactus. Adherents hope to find enlightenment in the silence, a gift they plan to share when they emerge.
Stumpf has nearly finished building the 600-square-foot cabin he and his wife, Susan, will share on a small patch of earth surrounded by paddle cactus and ocotillo plants, whose red blooms shoot from the ground like Fourth of July fireworks.
Surveying the rolling landscape and cloud-streaked sky one recent day, the 56-year-old proclaimed the setting ideal for deep meditation. "This place is stunning at sunrise," he said. "The lighting on the hillside is just magical."
To reach "retreat valley," drive 107 miles east from Tucson on Interstate 10 through empty stretches of desert to the small town of Bowie, then head south on a narrow asphalt road. From there, a rutted dirt roadway leads to Diamond Mountain University, a nonprofit Buddhist campus where footpaths connect an adobe temple, a tented student lounge and round Mongolian-style yurts.
Another short road from the university to retreat valley is even more primitive, coursing through brush-covered hillsides once home to a cattle ranch.
In the heart of the valley is a single yurt within sight of several cabins under construction. This is the home of Geshe Michael Roach and Lama Christie McNally, the university's founders.
Roach and McNally were born in Los Angeles, two decades apart. Both grew up as Episcopalians.
An altar boy in his youth, Roach, 56, thought he might become a minister. Then he traveled to India while studying religion, Sanskrit and Russian at Princeton University. He was driven by a question he believed Christianity did not address: If God existed, why did people suffer and die?
It was a poignant query; Roach's mother and father had died of cancer about the time he was finishing high school, and his brother had committed suicide -- all within a year of one another.
Buddhism offered him answers: Life and death had no intrinsic meaning. Instead, reality depended on perception. Through meditation, yoga and other practices, negative thoughts could be replaced with positive ones, allowing karmic seeds planted in the heart to ripen into happiness.
The idea of karma was key: How people acted in the past determined what they experienced in the present. Roach spent two decades studying at monasteries in India and the United States. He was ordained a monk in his early 30s and later earned a Geshe degree, the equivalent of a doctorate of divinity, one of the first Westerners to do so.
McNally, 36, who studied philosophy and literature at New York University and then traveled to Tibet and Nepal, met Roach at one of his teachings in New York in the late 1990s. They have been spiritual -- though celibate -- partners for a decade, they say, an arrangement that has provoked criticism from some Tibetan Buddhists and scholars, who point out that monks are barred from relationships with women.
In 2006, the office of the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism, cited Roach's "unconventional behavior" in rebuffing his effort to teach in Dharamsala, India, seat of the Tibetan government in exile.
"The older lamas are disapproving," said Robert Thurman, a professor of Buddhist studies at Columbia University, who considers Roach a friend. "People have their fingers crossed that he will turn around and eventually do the conventional thing." Read more here...