To the south of Los Angeles is a lively independent suburb named Garden Grove. This small city with a population of around 170,000 is home to the Little Saigon of the Los Angeles region, named for the large number of Vietnamese refugees that immigrated there during the 1970s. Garden Grove has long been known as a conservative bastion with a well-run political machine that kept a tight leash on who ran the city. On 4 November by a margin of just 15 votes, Bao Nguyen beat incumbent mayor Bruce Broadwater to become one of a growing number of Buddhists now engaging in public political service in America.
In doing so, Bao Nguyen became not only the second Vietnamese-American mayor in US history, but also the first to serve in an American city with a population of over 100,000. In addition, at the sprightly age of 34, he became the youngest mayor in the history of Garden Grove. His path into the arena of public service was accompanied by a journey deep into the heart of the Buddhist faith. His Bachelor’s degree, which was in Political Science, came from the University of California in Irvine, but after graduating he turned to Naropa University, where he received a Master’s degree in Indo-Tibetan Buddhist studies, studying under the guidance of Dr. Judith Simmer-Brown.
Having been highly active in civic service since his youth, he did not take his studies at Naropa as a call to become a recluse; rather, he took the ideas of Buddhism as a call to benefit others through public service.
When asked how his faith and Buddhist Studies have influenced his experience, he says that Buddhism guides him in his belief in good government. He is highly influenced by the Vimalakirti Sutra, specifically the The Holy Teaching of Vimalakirti: A Mahayana Scripture, a translation of the sutra by Robert Thurman. In a telephone interview, Bao said, “Vimalakirti showed that there is a way for a lay person to benefit many beings—one does not have to be a monastic. He shows that as a lay person one can help many beings see reality and engage in non-judgment . . . one can develop tolerance through recognition of the non-arising of phenomena.”
Bao emphasized being influenced by the principle of anutpattikadharmakshanti, which Vimalakirti says is the “entrance into non-duality” and Judith Simmer-Brown explained as “tolerance for the birthlessness—or incomprehensibility—of all things, which allows one to experience joyful patience within ambiguity and have a direct curiosity into the unknown.” Bao believes that someone who has dedicated their life to public service will find that this helps to free them from a divisive view and to engage with people from a place of openness, enabling them to hear others’ needs.
When speaking of his education at Naropa, he fondly remembered his time there: “I was able to develop a very strong moral compass. I am grateful for the education that I received there,” he said, adding that when people ask him how he finds Buddhism useful, he replies that it is “extremely useful. I used it every day during my campaign, and now I use it in governing.”
Bao Nguyen winning the election to govern Garden Grove is not just a sign of Americans accepting a new generation of youth into the realm of governance—it is a sign that the Dharma is starting to be well accepted in American culture. Bao’s election indicates that Buddhist thought is beginning to shape and influence American political thinking, and in doing so, is bringing principles of compassion, openness, and integrity into an area of life that is well served by good motivation and intention.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama is greeted by well-wishers on his arrival at Shedurb Choekhorling - A Tibetan Buddhist Center at Mount Saleve, France, on 12 August 2011.... During lunch His Holiness the Dalai Lama said faith must be developed on the basis of conviction and thorough reasoning. Otherwise faith is not stable.
His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, was born on July 6, 1935 to a peasant family in the small village of Taktser in northeastern Tibet and was recognized at the age of two as the reincarnation of His predecessor, the Thirteenth Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lamas are the manifestations of the Buddha of Compassion, who chose to take rebirth to serve humanity.
Kyabje Khensur Kangurwa Lobsang Thubten Rinpoche (1925-2014), or simply Rinpoche as his thousands of students around the world affectionately call him, is a Buddhist Monk and also the founder of TBI.
He was born in December 1925 to a farming family in the small village of Rinda in a mountainous valley of eastern Tibet (Kham) in what is now the Kartse (Ganzi) Prefecture of Western Sichuan. This area was the birthplace of many great lamas of contemporary times, including Khensur Rinpoche Urgyen Tseten, the late Geshe Ngawang Dhargye and the late Geshe Rabten
Marie Beuzeville Byles was born in 1900 into a Christian family in England. At the age of eleven years, she migrated with her family to Australia. She was one of the first women to graduate in Law from the University of Sydney and certainly the first to set up practice as a solicitor after graduation. At that time, the best that a woman graduate in Law could expect was employment in a Law Office as a solicitor's clerk. This, Marie could not accept so she established her own practice at Eastwood, a Sydney suburb.
On 26 February 2015 (i.e. the 8th of the 1st lunar month, Ất Mùi year), the renouncing ceremony for Miss Bích Liên was held greatly and repespectfully at Ngọc Vân Temple, Bắc Bình province, Bình Thuận county. Most Venerable Thích Giác Hoằng and Most Venerable Thích Nữ Diệu Liên, the abbess of Ngọc Vân Temple, honorly attended to bless for her. After the teaching from Most Venerable Thích Giác Hoằng, Miss Bích Liên now aka Reverend Thích Nữ Liên Ngọc expressed her good reason to be a nun. Her voice was so emotional and sensitive as she reviewed her reasons for renouncing: