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August 12, 2008

Opening Ceremonies

So maybe the Opening Ceremonies weren't all they seemed, what with the lip-syncing and "pre-recorded" fireworks. But it's hard to tell what's real in the era of Photoshop and other digital manipulators. More »
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August 12, 2008

Money, Sex, War, Karma

I am currently reading David Loy’s sensationally titled Money, Sex, War, Karma: Notes for a Buddhist Revolution. It is probably the most thought-provoking book on Buddhist themes that I have read for several years. MSWK comprises a series of fourteen essays that address major cultural, political, economic, and spiritual issues from a Buddhist perspective. The book is written in a direct, urgent, yet almost conversational style. Topics include money, time, Karma, sex, attention, ecology, food, and war. More »
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August 11, 2008

Police State 2.0?

Naomi Klein discusses how China used the Olympics as a chance to tighten security. Activists in China now find themselves under intense pressure, unable to function even at the limited levels they were able to a year ago. Internet cafes are filled with surveillance cameras, and surfing is carefully watched. At the offices of a labor rights group in Hong Kong, I met the well-known Chinese dissident Jun Tao. He had just fled the mainland in the face of persistent police harassment. After decades of fighting for democracy and human rights, he said the new surveillance technologies had made it "impossible to continue to function in China." Mikel Dunham on the question of Indian vs. Chinese influence in Nepal. More »
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August 11, 2008

Ten Thousand Mistakes

There’s little of Buddhist liturgy or ritual these days that I find indispensable. Still, I follow a daily pattern of chanting the Heart Sutra, a praise for Avalokiteshvara, the Three Refuges, and the Bodhisattva Vows, along with the traditional bowing and ringing of the gong. I couldn’t tell you why I continue to do so. I think I once had reasons but if so I’ve forgotten what the reasons were. I no longer ask why I’m doing any of this or feel any need to know. I just do what I was once taught to do—and none of it feels essential. It’s ironic that the one element of Buddhist liturgy that I do find indispensable is not among those I observe daily. I entered the path of Zen because I was weary of the hurt and pain I somehow managed to cause myself and others, and I thought that Zen might help me to cease from it. The truth is I felt guilty. Old wrongs of mine would rise up in memory, prior events of sometimes forty or fifty years earlier, and I would cringe at the recollection. It’s puzzling to me what sorts of memories come to haunt me in this way, seemingly minor lapses in kindness that might seem insignificant to others but somehow loom large among the things I wish I hadn’t done. More »
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August 10, 2008

By the half-light of burning republics

While the world watches the Beijing Olympics, Russian forces attack Stalin's hometown in Gerogia. More »
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August 08, 2008

8/8/08 arrives

As China defends its right to deny visas to "activists" such as former U.S. Olympian Joey Cheek, who has spoken out on Darfur, and a new generation of Tibetans challenges the Dalai Lama's stand vis a vis China, let's honor the memory of the 1988 Burma uprising, twenty years ago today. Plus, you'd never know it from the media coverage, but there are protests around the world today as the Games begin. More »
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August 07, 2008

Realpolitik from the Dalai Lama?

Nicholas Kristof: For the first time, the Dalai Lama is willing to state that he can accept the socialist system in Tibet under Communist Party rule. This is something that Beijing has always demanded, and, after long discussion, the Dalai Lama has agreed to do so. “The main thing is to preserve our culture, to preserve the character of Tibet,” the Dalai Lama told me. “That is what is most important, not politics.” The ball is now in China's court, indeed. But if the Olympics don't make them soften, what will? More »
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August 05, 2008

China seeks "absolute security" in Tibet for Olympics

A UN envoy, Tomas Ojea Quintana, is visiting the Irrawaddy delta in Burma to check on the conditions there. He also met with senior members of the State Sangha Organization but no details of the discussions were released. Meanwhile as expected China is intensifying its crackdown on Tibet as the Olympics loom closer. More »
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August 05, 2008

Professor Nimbus and the Mick

Michael Sloan's creation, Professor Nimbus, has a full count on Mickey Mantle. What kind of pitch do you think he'll throw next? More »
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August 05, 2008

Driver distracted by bee killed two girls

I was on the train to work last week when I looked over to see a girl reading a local newspaper. The article she was studying was headed, ‘Lorry driver “distracted by bee” killed two girls’. Intrigued by this, before stepping off the train I picked up the now discarded copy. According to the trucker’s story, he had become distracted by a bee in his cab and so had veered off course, ploughing into oncoming cars, and killing two young women. In the words of the judge, who presided over a trial for dangerous driving, ‘It is something that might happen to anyone’. The trucker was convicted of dangerous driving and sentenced to four years in prison. Yet his true sentence is life: he will have to live with the knowledge that his actions, no matter how unintended, resulted in the cutting short of two young lives. More »
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August 04, 2008

Meditation and Your Immune System; Erik Davis; Dukkha

The latest on meditation from research at UCLA: It may help your immune system. Danny Fisher interviews Cambodia scholar Erik Davis. And Wisdom Quarterly on Dukkha: Five Painful Facts. More »
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August 04, 2008

Nepal and China; 21awake

Mikel Dunham has a good piece on Nepal's brutal protest crackdowns, not suprisingly done at the request of China. And check out the cool new blog 21awake, with its awesome opening image of a security camera. The more security cameras we have, the safer we'll all feel. More »
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August 04, 2008

More on China's lack of press freedom; Salzberg; Solzhenitsyn

More on China's anxious mix of almost-freedom (for foreigners) and increased repression (for its own citizens.) A German rights-group criticizes the IOC for its role in the press restrictions. Sharon Salzberg has a new blog post at Huffington Post. And the literary giant Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn has died. From his Times obituary: He wrote that while an ordinary man was obliged “not to participate in lies,” artists had greater responsibilities. “It is within the power of writers and artists to do much more: to defeat the lie!” More »
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August 02, 2008

IOC intervenes to allow unfettered internet access for reporters

Just don't let any Chinese citizens near those censorship-free zones! Repressive governments always fear their citizens, and with good reason. More »
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July 31, 2008

China Reiterates Pledge to Limit Internet Access During Games

China is angry that President Bush met with Chinese dissidents at the White House and accuses the U.S. of politicizing the Olympic Games. China reiterated they would limit internet access during the Games as well: The Chinese authorities also remained resolute about their decision to maintain a firewall on the Internet and limit access for journalists covering the Olympics. More »
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July 30, 2008

Wendy Johnson

Tricycle's longtime contributor Wendy Johnson continues to pop up right and left. An article in Voice of America profiles her work at Green Gulch, while Wendy herself will be reading from her new book, Gardening at the Dragon's Gate, at East West bookstore in Manhattan tonight at 7:45 pm (78 Fifth Ave., between 13th and 14th Sts). More »
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July 30, 2008

India and Terror

Terror attacks are becoming routine in India. Do they need a Department of Homeland Security? More »
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July 30, 2008

UN suckered by junta; ASEAN wakes up; Bush continues to hassle junta

The UN has a great reputation for being careful with its money. Hope this doesn't tarnish it: The UN has admitted losing about $10m (£5m) to the Burmese regime while delivering emergency aid to the country in the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis because of a distorted official exchange rate. The UN's senior humanitarian aid official said it had suffered the "significant" loss because the junta enforced an artificial exchange rate that was at least 15 per cent lower than the genuine rate. More »
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July 30, 2008

Monks in Korea Stick up for Disgraced Scientist

But why? South Korea's Buddhist monks have urged the government to allow disgraced scientist Hwang Woo-suk to continue his stem cell research. "It is deplorable that research by Hwang Woo-suk and his team is suppressed unreasonably," the monks said in a resolution. "The government should approve the research in order to save a greater soul." The resolution came ahead of the Health Ministry's decision Saturday over whether to approve Hwang's request to restart his work. Hwang, once considered a national hero, has been on trial for alleged fraud and violation of bioethics laws after his team was found in January 2006 to have fabricated results to claim success in his study. More »
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July 30, 2008

Meditating Monks Ignore Earthquake

An earthquake rocked L.A. yesterday, fortunately causing little damage. It managed to scare the usually unflappable Judge Judy, but a group of monks meditating at a Thai temple were unfazed. A meditator was also shown to have special insight in problem-solving according to the New Yorker. Hat tip: the good folks at Thanissaro Bhikkhu's Metta Forest Forest Monastery. And it seems someone is saying meditation can slow HIV. Most of this article is behind a free registration link. More »