Buddhism in Australia Conference
May 18, 2012
Joshua Guilar, Professor
This past February, I attended and presented a paper (co-written with MAPC student Karen Neudorf) at the Buddhism and Australia conference in Perth, Australia. In this blog, I give major appreciations. First, I would like to thank my hosts, the Estonian Nyingma conference holders, especially Buddhist Monk and conference leader Vello Vaartnou. He is the founder of the Estonian Buddhist Brotherhood that was founded in the former Soviet Union in 1982 (www.buddhismandaustralia.com).
We wrote a well-received article on Steve Jobs. Although attitudes vary by Buddhist Scholars as to whether Jobs was a practicing Buddhist of the Soto School of Zen Buddhism, I encourage you to read the article on Jobs by Karen and myself (http://www.buddhismandaustralia.com/index.php/en/articles/40-2012/116-steve-jobs-a-practicing-buddhist-an-entrepreneur-and-an-innovator-joshua-guilar-and-karen-neudorf.html). Please give other articles a read also.
I made many friends at the conference. One was Venerable Sayadej Vongsopha, a Buddhist Monk and Lecturer at the Sangha College in Vientiane, Laos. One small illustration of what differentiates a Buddhist Monk from many Westerners: After the Venerable Sayadej Vongsopha was finished explaining to us the use and effects of the Jataka tales in Laos (http://www.buddhismandaustralia.com/index.php/en/articles/40-2012/101-the-role-and-impact-of-vessantara-jtaka-in-the-lao-pdr-ven-sayadej-vongsopha.html), he was asked by what I took to be a well-heeled Australian gentleman in the audience, What have been the effects on the people in Laos to the communist government there? The Venerable Sayadej Vongsopha said there were none. Later I asked the Venerable about the extensive American bombing in Laos, especially the many unexploded bombs from the Vietnam war. He said in response to my question he did not know if there was a need to forgive (because that would indicate a sense of self held to be different by Buddhists?), and 2) the Americans had helped Laos since.
Food for thought and response . . .