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January 02, 2009

Sri Lanka takes rebel capital Kilinochchi

A major happening in Sri Lanka's endless brutal civil war: Sri Lankan forces captured the Tamil Tigers' de facto capital Friday, winning a major victory in their decades-long battle to destroy the rebels and crush their dream of establishing an independent state for minority Tamils. <!-- var rn = ( Math.round( Math.random()*10000000000 ) ); document.write('<s\cript src="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/01/02/AR2009010200187_StoryJs.js?'+rn+'"></s\cript>') ; // --> The rebels swiftly sent the message that they would fight on, exploding a suicide bomb near air force headquarters in Colombo that killed three airmen and injured 37 other people, authorities said. The civil war betwee More »
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December 31, 2008

Arrests in Burma; Fleeing Tibet; China's Human Rights Action Plan

Activists calling for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi have been arrested in Burma: Nine activists were arrested in Myanmar's commercial capital Tuesday during a march calling for the release of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, witnesses said. The eight men and one woman from Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy party were grabbed and shoved into waiting trucks by plainclothes police officers outside the old parliament building in Yangon, witnesses said on condition of anonymity because of fear of government retribution. The protesters started their march at the party's headquarters and walked silently along Yangon's main road for about 30 minutes before they were detained, witnesses said. Some carried a banner calling for Suu Kyi's release. It was not immediately clear where the NLD members were taken. More »
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December 31, 2008

Save the Birds

A nice Washington Post article on Garuda AvIary at the Kunzang Palyul Choling Temple in Poolesville, Maryland: Since the 1980s, the temple, where several hundred members practice Buddhism in the Tibetan tradition, has been housed in a white-columned mansion on a rural stretch of River Road. The idea of helping tropical birds came about 15 years ago, when the temple's founder, a Brooklyn native whose name is now Jetsunma Ahkön Lhamo, adopted a Moluccan cockatoo from a friend who couldn't stand its screaming. She soon found that the need was much greater. More »
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December 30, 2008

Rubin Museum of Art's Bhutan Exhibit

A friend and I visited the Rubin Museum of Art here in New York yesterday and finally saw the exhibition The Dragon’s Gift: The Sacred Arts of Bhutan. We were shown around by the lovely and thoughtful Louise Brooks (not the silent film star of yore) who pointed me to the blog of a visiting Bhutanese monk, Lopen Sonam. (Two monks are "in residence" at the RMA and perform twice-daily ceremonies in part of the museum. There is also a sand mandala being constructed -- I missed both these things.) It's a great blog  full of unexpected observations. More »
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December 27, 2008

59 Arrested in Tibet

For "spreading rumors" and downloading forbidden music. More »
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December 24, 2008

"So what are you doing for Christmas?"

Lots of posts about what Buddhists do for Christmas. There's more Buddhist blog posts on Christmas than these -- many more. Anyway here's what one sangha did. And thanks to Barbara for her Buddhist Celebrity Blog find! More »
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December 23, 2008

The Iraq War and Bring Me the Rhinoceros

Click on this little guy below to read. Comes courtesy of Blamblog by way of Konchog of Dreaming of Danzan Ravjaa. David Chadwick recommends Bring Me the Rhinoceros and Other Koans That Will Save Your Life by John Tarrant for your holiday gift-giving. Sounds good. More »
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December 23, 2008

Monkey mind

The age-old koan asks, "Does a dog have Buddhanature?" Well, after reading the Times article on The Evolution of Deceit this morning, we can now ask whether a monkey—or a chimp—can take the precepts. Maybe not, but he can certainly break them. Image: Toni Angermayer/Photo Researchers More »
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December 22, 2008

Dalai Lama talks retirement again

Beliefnet: The Dalai Lama said Wednesday (December 17) the movement he has led for nearly five decades should now be guided by the prime minister of the Tibetan government-in-exile. "I have grown old and already taken semi-retirement. It is better if I retire completely and get out of the way of the Tibetan movement," he told reporters in Dharamsala, India, where he has lived since fleeing Tibet in 1959. "The future course of the Tibetan movement will be decided by the elected government under Prime Minister Samdhong Rinpoche," the 73-year-old Buddhist leader added. His complete retirement would strengthen democracy in Tibet, the Dalai Lama said. The Nobel Peace Prize winner's remarks came a month after a key conclave of nearly 600 exiled Tibetan leaders. More »
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December 22, 2008

A little more on the Lotus Sutra

Our Spring 2006 issue featured a special section on The Sutra of the Lotus of the Wonderful Law. Here's the introduction to it from our own Andrew Cooper. More »
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December 22, 2008

Happiness Test

From the Huffington Post: The Authentic Happiness Test from the University of Pennsylvania. But HuffPo columnist Gretchen Rubin, who's working on her own Happiness Project, doesn't tell you that you have to register and give personal information because of course, it's an experiment for UPenn and they want to know your income so they can find out, at last, if money does bring happiness. Dr. More »
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December 18, 2008

Returning to the Buddhist Past Through the Tale of Genji

On Tuesday, I posted an announcement about a new translation of the Lotus Sutra. I thought it would be interesting to take a moment to peer back into the past and see how this text, and other elements of Buddhism, have often been understood in traditional Buddhist cultures. At the same time, we can’t really understand the past without reference to our own situation, so I’ll include some comments on how traditional ideas relate to our modern views. Let’s take a look at a vignette from the Tale of Genji (Genji monogatari). Written in the eleventh century, the Tale of Genji is often described as the world’s first novel. Over 1,000 pages long in English translation, it records the courtships of several generations of the Japanese nobility. In fact, it is rather like a very long Buddhist version of a Jane Austin novel. More »
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December 18, 2008

This photo is a fake

Here's the story. More »
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December 18, 2008

The Arising of the Ad Hoc Sangha

Sangha is a Sanskrit word that in its narrowest sense has as its referent the community of those who follow the Buddha’s teaching. As limited as this application of the term might be, the community of Buddhist followers nonetheless consists of a vast network of sangha within sangha arranged like concentric rings of mutual inclusion. The Chico Zen Sangha, for example, which I founded and teach is a sangha in its own right. But it is as well a sangha within the larger sangha of both Soto and Rinzai Zen, having established formal affiliation with both traditions. But the Zen tradition itself is in turn a sangha within the larger sangha of the whole Buddhist community. Whether it be Tibetan, Theravada, Insight Meditation, Pure Land, or whatever, the community of those who follow the Buddha’s teaching constitutes one vast world-wide sangha. But it doesn’t end there, for it is taught that Buddha nature pervades the whole universe, a concept descriptive of a virtually limitless sangha comprised of the intimate and intricate interweaving of all beings into one seamless whole. This being so, what is there to exclude? What stone, what drifting feather, what clot of earth or sky, what soiled and drunken soul sleeping in the doorway of the convenience store, what cranky or cheerful clerk at the checkout stand, what mother, father, child, what family rich or poor, hungry or full, what being of any sort, anywhere, at any time, is not sangha? More »
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December 18, 2008

Thailand's Tiger Temple

You may have heard about Wat Pa Luang Ta Bua, the famous Tiger Temple in Thailand. Well, now the rest of the world has too. This is really just an excuse to post this fun picture. Now, if this big kitty, or his Siberian tiger cousin, were wandering the streets of Ulan Bataar would Konchog give him a home? Some info on tigers here and more on the tiger temple here. More »
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December 17, 2008

An Account of Meditate NYC

[The following is a guest post from Jolie Gorchov that I was supposed to put up last week! Sorry. If your organization is mentioned here but not linked, and you would like to have it linked, please let us know - Phil] A recent panel discussion in BuddhaDharma about The Future of Buddhism focused on “convert” western Buddhists without mentioning Asian Buddhists. This has kicked off a firestorm of web chatter about oppression and “Wonderbread” (western) Buddhists vs. Asian Buddhists. In light of this debate that’s made its way to blogs such as Dharma Folk, The Worst Horse, Shambhala Sun Space and the Tricycle Editor’s Blog, I wanted to counter with a recent afternoon in New York that was spent with all sorts of different Buddhist teachers, speakers, and sects. On Sunday, November 9, the Buddhist Council of New York presented its second annual Meditate NYC event.  Meditate NYC is a free week-long event aimed mostly at newcomers to meditation, and people who are interested in Buddhism. The Meditate NYC kick-off offered a wide-ranging program with speakers from America, Japan, Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, and Tibet. The afternoon event opened at the Church of St. Paul & St. Andrew on the Upper West Side of Manhattan with the traditional Tibetan ringing of 108 bells. The event’s emcees, Roshi Pat Enkyo O'Hara, abbot of Village Zendo and Michele Laporte of Shambhala Center sat on stage as the Buddhist Council’s former President, Reverend T.K. Nakagaki of New York Buddhist Church opened the program and welcomed attendees.  Each speaker following gave about a 20-minute offering. More »
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December 16, 2008

An Important New Translation of the Complete Lotus Sutra

Buddhism’s history in America began in 1844, when Unitarian Elizabeth Palmer Peabody translated a section of the Lotus Sutra into English for the Transcendentalist journal The Dial.  Since then there have been a number of complete translations of the Lotus Sutra, but translation is always an ongoing process and new versions often help reveal things obscured by earlier ones. Many sutras were translated repeatedly into Chinese, for example, with each version providing something new based on the training and viewpoint of the translator (or translation team, as was common in Chinese history). It’s a great thing to hear, therefore, of a new, complete translation of the Lotus Sutra now available from Wisdom Publications. This new version is translated by Dr. Gene Reeves, who for many years has worked with the liberal Buddhist movement Rissho Koseikai, which focuses on study of and devotion to the Lotus Sutra. The Lotus Sutra has an unusual history in America—due to historical quirks, it has largely become associated with the minor Nichiren Shoshu sect and its 20th century spin-off Soka Gakkai, groups that have often taken an exclusivistic approach to Lotus Sutra interpretation that is at odds with how most East Asian Buddhists approach it. Indeed, the Lotus Sutra is a pan-sectarian text considered core for the Zen, Tendai, and Nichiren denominations, as well as exercising an important influence on the Shingon, Pure Land, and other groups as well. The Lotus Sutra is certainly the single most important scripture in East Asian Buddhism, rivaled only by the Heart of Perfect Wisdom and Larger Bliss Realm Adornment Sutras. More »
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December 16, 2008

ESP; 100 episodes of Buddhist Geeks; and a somber moment for single women

A very amusing post from Somewhere in Dhamma (based on a post from the Level 8 Buddhist) regarding an ESP experiment online. Amazing how we overthink things. Did I figure it out myself? No, I didn't. 21awake points out that Buddhist Geeks has turned 100 episodes old with their interview of Jun Po Roshi! Congratulations and best wishes to them -- Please drop by and have a listen. And congratulations are in order for Dogo Barry Graham, who gets married on December 27th. Somehow, the world feels a little smaller now. More »
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December 16, 2008

Brooks has Buddhism on the Brain

Maybe I can interview him for Tricycle. Discussing Malcolm Gladwell's new book, he David Brooks writes: Most successful people also have a phenomenal ability to consciously focus their attention. We know from experiments with subjects as diverse as obsessive-compulsive disorder sufferers and Buddhist monks that people who can self-consciously focus attention have the power to rewire their brains. Control of attention is the ultimate individual power. People who can do that are not prisoners of the stimuli around them. They can choose from the patterns in the world and lengthen their time horizons. This individual power leads to others. It leads to self-control, the ability to formulate strategies in order to resist impulses. More »
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December 15, 2008

Tricycle and Nichiren Buddhism

The current issue of Tricycle features an interview by contributing editor Clark Strand with Daisaku Ikeda, President of Soka Gakkai International. The interview, which was made available online, has become one of our most widely read web articles. Soon after it was posted, Buddhajones, an independent Nichiren-themed site, developed a thread with comments (many evidently posted by former SGI members) many of which criticized SGI and Tricycle for not being more critical of the organization. Below is editor-at-large Andrew Cooper’s entry to the thread, which was meant, in his words, to explain, how the magazine “viewed this interview as an editorial matter.” It might be of interest here, as the points it makes are relevant not only to that particular article but also to issues of diversity and inclusiveness for meditation-oriented Buddhists, as well as the sometimes thorny task of dealing editorially with controversies within Buddhist communities. This is a slightly abridged version, and readers can find the entire post, as well as the rest of the thread here. My name is Andrew Cooper and I am the Tricycle editor who worked with Clark Strand to develop his interview with Daisaku Ikeda. Please allow me to address, in a general way, some of the concerns raised in this thread. It would be presumptuous of me to attempt to speak to the specific disagreements among Nichiren Buddhists, but I can try to explain how we at Tricycle viewed this interview as an editorial matter. More »