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January 08, 2009

Two events in New York on Tibet and the Environment

Two major Tibet events: Meltdown: The Impact of Climate Change on the Tibetan Plateau (with live video webcast) at the Asia Society in New York. January 16th 8am – 6pm Asia Society, 725 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10021 Most of Asia's major rivers find their source on the Tibetan plateau. More »
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January 07, 2009

The body is a Bodhi tree. . .

Wayne's Dhamma Blog describes a visit to Mei An, the southern Chinese temple built to honor the Sixth Zen Patriarch Huineng. Theres a whole series of plastic statues telling Huineng's story. At right is a photo from Wayne's blog of a diorama depicting the famous poetry contest between Huineng and Shenxiu with Hongren (the Fifth Patriarch, transliterated more like Hung-jen in my misspent youth) presiding. That should be Huineng in the dark blue and Shenxiu next to him, with Hongren in red at right? Plus another senior monk. More »
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January 06, 2009

Eat Less Beef III

From Audobon Magazine: Simply put, raising beef, pigs, sheep, chicken, and eggs is very, very energy intensive. More than half of all the grains grown in America actually go to feed animals, not people, says the World Resources Institute. That means a huge fraction of the petroleum-based herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers applied to grains, plus staggering percentages of all agricultural land and water use, are put in the service of livestock. Stop eating animals and you use dramatically less fossil fuels, as much as 250 gallons less oil per year for vegans, says Cornell University’s David Pimentel, and 160 gallons less for egg-and-cheese-eating vegetarians. But fossil fuel combustion is just part of the climate–diet equation. More »
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January 05, 2009

God and Buddhism

Barbara O'Brien points us to Ed Halliwell of The (Manchester) Guardian on Buddhism and theism and the Buddha's famous refusal to not answer metaphysical questions: When I first started reading about the Buddha's life, I was disappointed to learn that the existence of God was one of the subjects on which he declined to make a definitive comment. At the time, this seemed to me either rather unfair or something of a cop-out – surely this was exactly the kind of topic that an awakened being should pronounce upon, for the benefit of all. More »
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January 05, 2009

Gary Snyder on his correspondence with Allen Ginsberg

The San Francicsco Chronicle discusses a recent reading the poet and environmental activist Gary Snyder gave in North Beach, the San Francisco neighborhood at the heart of the Beat scene. He read from the new book that collects his correspndence with Allen Ginsberg, spanning 35 years. Snyder cheerfully discusses the evolving media of correspondence: "Today, you'd do it all with cell phones and e-mail and you'd constantly be in touch with each other," Snyder said. More »
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January 04, 2009

Genpo Roshi in Deseret News

Via Precious Metal: It seems the perfect confluence of life events may have brought Dennis Genpo Merzel Roshi to Buddhism. Or at least prepared his mind for Buddhism to find him. It happened in 1971 while on a trip to the Mojave Desert. Genpo Roshi had climbed a mountain and was contemplating his life and purpose. The past years had brought him experiences with death, relationship struggles and also pain. While on the mountain, he had what he now considers a Zen experience. It was an awakening of the mind that shifted his perspective on life and made him more interested in serving others. More »
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January 02, 2009

Shaolin Monks to bring in Tourists

A Chinese city looks to the "kung-fu monks" to bring in tourists: The cluster of temples at the heart of this dusty, traffic-clogged town are picturesque reminders of China’s faded Buddhist past. On a recent day, dogs warmed themselves in the winter sun as a few toothless devotees bowed before smiling Buddhas. The only sounds were the occasional clanging of wind chimes and the splash of coins tossed into a mucky pond. While soothing to some, the tranquillity is galling to Guandu’s city fathers, who recently spent $3 million to rebuild the four temples. A Chinese city looks to the "kung-fu monks" to bring in tourists: More »
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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 »