Each month SUFI selects special interviews and articles from its Archives as a free offering to our readers. Just click on the free access link and download your PDF.
From SUFI Issue 91
Himalayan Buddhist Nuns and Gender Equality
By Dominique Butet
Translation by Susan Maneville
Photographs by Oliver Adam
The Dalai Lama and other Buddhist masters are calling for gender equality in the Buddhist tradition, recognizing that “the coming era will be more ‘feminine’ and women will make a greater contribution.” An article written for SUFI issue #91, Summer 2016, highlights women in the Buddhist tradition and describes how Buddhist nuns, once overlooked, are gaining access to education, theological training and greater self-sufficiency. SUFI article contributors, photographer Olivier Adam and his partner Dominique Butet, who is a journalist, had been documenting the path of Buddhist nuns in the Himalaya region for more than 8 years at the time of our article. Their photographic work Daughters of Buddha began in five nunneries in North India, near Dharamsala, where His Holiness the Dalai Lama and thousands of Tibetans found refuge in 1959 after the Tibetan Uprising. The nuns’ level of education has been growing thanks to their project. In December 2016, for the first time in history, twenty nuns received the so-called Geshema degree, the equivalent to a Doctorate in Buddhist philosophy.
From SUFI Issue 91
Showing Love in Our Actions
An Interview with ALEX WILSON
Interviewed by Safoura Nourbakhsh
The summer 2016 SUFI edition focused on the topic of gender, one of today’s turbulent issues. A First Nation view of how spirituality and gender intersect was explored with Alex Wilson, Associate Professor and Academic Director of the Aboriginal Education Research Center at the University of Saskatchewan, Canada. Her Opaskwayak Cree Nation language doesn’t recognize the Western male/female, but instead incorporates a spiritual belief system of connectedness among animate and inanimate identities. A central way of being is showing love in your actions and “…everyone is equal within the circle so that each person has a gift that they bring….”
photo © John Erickson
From SUFI Issue 92
Bridging Contemplative Life and Action
A Conversation with ADAM BUCKO
Interviewed by Safoura Nourbakhsh
SUFI issue 92 features a 2017 interview with Fr. Adam Bucko, episcopal priest, writer, and activist. His profound spiritual journey across continents, beginning at age 17 leaving communist Poland, led him to work with homeless youth in New York City. Fr. Bucko describes accompanying children and youth in the experience of their suffering, being with them in a state of prayerfulness, receptivity, listening, and healing. “And it’s all Grace. And that’s when action becomes contemplation….” Fr. Bucko is now a leading voice for contemplative spirituality and the New Monastic Movement.
From Sufi Issue 85
Our Skin is Not Our Body
A Conversation with ROBERT THURMAN and HYUN KYUNG CHUNG
Interviewed by Llewellyn Smith
Almost a decade ago, Issue #85 of SUFI journal shared a rich and provocative dialogue about embodiment, offering the perspectives of two spiritual luminaries. Robert Thurman, author and academic, offering a Buddhist perspective, distinguishes the “course” from the “subtle” body and mind, and the joy and freedom to be realized with detachment from the course body. Hyun Kyung Chung, as an eco-feminist and Christian theologian, emphasizes the reality that “we are sharing the body of God… my body is connected with Buddha body, Christ body, earth body, universe body.”
From Sufi Issue 98
Nomads of the Tibetan Plateau
A Conversation with TRACHUNG KUNCHOCK PALSANG
Interviewed by Tracy Butnett and Tsering Dorje
Many yearn for times past when daily lives and cultural identity were more grounded in the natural world. Trachung Palsang, raised amidst the Tibetan grasslands and nomadic culture, fosters environmental and cultural discussions with visitors to his hometown. In a dialogue with Tracy Burnett and Tsering Dorje, he offers stimulating and poetic insights into the socio-ecological underpinnings of Tibetan nomadic life— how efforts to sustain the interdependence of the four livestock of the grasslands bind households’ prosperity and grassland ecosystems in support of one another. Palsang offers his simple yet profound insight about the meaning to be found in the daily tasks of caring for animals, environment and needs of the community — “wherever there is real life, there is beauty.”
From Sufi Issue 94
Change Yourself, Change the World
A Conversation with NIPUN MEHTA
Interviewed by Russell Leung and Rita Fabrizio
Amidst such a troubled world, how can we overcome despair, and make the world a better place? Nipun Mehta, once a successful Silicon Valley tech entrepreneur, is now realizing a vision for generating change in the world through service. Channeling his tech expertise, creativity and heartfulness, ServiceSpace (www.servicespace.org) was launched in 1999 as an online global, humanitarian community. Focused on small acts of service that catalyze inner and outer transformation, ServiceSpace is an incubator of “labor-of-love projects” and volunteerism, leveraging technology and generosity to fuel a giving economy with “a shift from consumption to contribution, transaction to trust, scarcity to abundance, and isolation to community.” Nipun’s impact is well-recognized, including as a recipient of the Dalai Lama’s Unsung Hero of Compassion award.
In SUFI’s 2018 interview, Nipun Mehta talks about his spiritual source and journey, and the transformation that can be realized through combining head, heart and hands in everyday acts of kindness.
From Sufi Issue 87
Soil, Soul Society
An Interview with SATISH KUMAR
Interviewed by LLewellyn Smith and Annie Stopford
Jain monk Satish Kumar is relentless champion of pacifism and environmental causes who walked an 8,000 mile peace walk to the capitals of the world’s nuclear-armed countries, and founded and directs the Schumacher College international center for ecological studies. In a remarkable interview, Kumar shares his views that justice cannot be achieved for our human societies until we are committed to justice for the earth, how capitalism is driving ecological disaster, and that an alternative spiritual paradigm to sustain our souls and society is a slow life at peace with nature.
From Sufi Issue 37
Songs of the Sufi Mystics – Part II
An Interview with Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan
Interviewed by Jameela Siddiqi
Having explored the origins of Sufi Music at the
Nizāmuddīn Shrine in Delhi (see SUFI, issue 36),
we headed towards our next stop, Lahore, a historic
Moghul city in the north of Pakistan.
Lahore was home to the world famous Qawwāl
Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan who died in August 1997,
only a day before his exclusive interview was to be
broadcast as part of a BBC World Service series,
“Songs of the Sufi Mystics.”