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October 27, 2008

The Dalai Lama says he has given up on autonomy for Tibet

Precious Metal reports: The Dalai Lama has given up on efforts to convince Beijing to grant greater autonomy for Tibet. James at The Buddhist Blog has an interesting post on gold scratched off Buddha statues in Burma. He asks the very reasonable question, Why are there gold Buddhas in Burma? (He also has a post on Intentional Chocolate, which is as good as he says!) More on the research behind Intentional Chocolate here. More »
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October 27, 2008

Blogging from Buddhaland #3

Under the Bodhi Tree with Thich Nhat Hanh Bodhgaya - October 21-22 Thich Nhat Hanh (Thay) looked amazingly refreshed on the heels of a 7 hour bus ride from Banaras to Bodhgaya, site of the Bodhi Tree under which the Buddha sat until he had achieved his long sought enlightenment.  Accompanied by a delegation of monks, nuns, and lay practitioners numbering almost 300 people, the 84 year old Thay walked mindfully in procession toward the Mahabodhi Temple on this crisp sunny morning.  His path was adorned by lines of various monks and school children bearing flowers, and above them large banners bidding a warm welcome... a scene almost suggesting the arrival of a spiritual rockstar. As Thay walked gracefully and slowly ahead, the lines of followers behind him closed in fast with various enthusiasts running to catch up with him. Some slight jockeying for better positioning subtly ensued. After a formal welcoming from the Sri Lankan delegation of monastics, Thay and his group circumambulated the Temple and the surprisingly green and healthy looking Bodhi Tree, and took their seats in preparation for the morning Dharma Talk. Additional guests at the event included about 50 young students from the Antioch College Buddhist Studies Program led by Robert Pryor since 1979, and other students who are studying Tibetan Buddhism at the nearby Root Institute. More »
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October 27, 2008

Blogging from Buddhaland #2

The Four Noble Inter-Truths Thich Nhat Hanh at Sarnath, October 21-22, 2008 No fewer than 50 monks and nuns from Plum Village, and another 50 more monks from the local Tibetan Institute, as well as 200 lay members of his delegation, and other lucky onlookers sat on the landscaped lawn opposite the imposing Dhamek Stupa in Sarnath to hear Thich Nhat Hanh (Thay) speak about the Four Noble Truths.  Over 100 feet high and delicately carved with geometrical and floral patterns, the stupa marks the area where the Buddha gave his first sermon, not coincidentally, on the Four Noble Truths. The Dhamek Stupa has special significance to modern Buddhism as it is the site where in 1835 British archeologist Alexander Cunningham had his hunch confirmed Sarnath was a significant place in the life of the mysterious "Booda," and proceeded to uncover the many sites of Buddhaland and their significance. Built in the spot of many earlier constructions as excavations reveal ancient brickwork, the stupa was partially destroyed by Moslems in 1194, and when workmen were removing more stone from it in 1794 they broke into a casket later discovered to have contained remnants of the Buddha's remains. More »
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October 23, 2008

Peter Fenner drops by Tricycle

Peter Fenner, developer of the Radiant Mind course in nondual awareness, stopped by Tricycle to chat with the editors today. Fenner, an Australian currently living in France, studied with Lama Thubten Yeshe in the 1970s and ’80s, completing a Ph.D. in 1983 during the course of a 9-year turn as a celibate monk. Here’s the latest: Guru Tulku Rinpoche of Tawang Monastery in northeast India has invited Fenner to teach there, tentatively beginning next fall. We were intrigued—an Australian teaching Buddhism in India. The dharma comes full circle… For more on Radiant Mind, check out their website. And here’s an interview with Fenner on nondual awareness. More »
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October 23, 2008

Saffron Revolution Talk at Rutgers

Received this press release today: NEWS RELEASE The media is also invited to attend “teach-ins” during the day; contact Douglas Irvin, 973/353-1260 for schedule FOR FIRST TIME, SAFFRON REVOLUTION MONKS WILL SPEAK OUT ABOUT 2007 UPRISING IN BURMA/MYANMAR Rutgers University in Newark Will Host Free Public Forum Oct. 29, 2008 (Newark, N.J., Oct. 21, 2008)  -- The Saffron Revolution Monks of Burma/Myanmar will speak out Oct. 29 about their experiences during the peaceful popular uprising of 2007, and the brutal state crackdown, which left hundreds dead and many more jailed.  This is the first time the monks will discuss the uprising during a public forum, which will be held from 2:30 - 3:50 p.m., Oct. 29, in Hill Hall Room 101 at Rutgers University, 360 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Newark.  The monks will answer questions from the audience during this free public forum, which is sponsored by the Rutgers Center for the Study of Genocide and Human Rights (CGHR).  More »
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October 22, 2008

Two reasons to celebrate Inquiring Mind

Inquiring Mind, the wonderful and whimsical Berkeley-based publication, has two big reasons to celebrate its twenty-fifth anniversary. One is its new twenty-fifth anniversary issue (pictured) and the other is the publication of The Best of Inquiring Mind: 25 Years of Dharma, Drama, and Uncommon Insight. Both are worth savoring in detail, so get your copies now! More »
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October 22, 2008

Meditate and Destroy

This film about Dharma punk Noah Levine is coming to Times Square and is also being silmulcast on the web. Press release reproduced below: MEDITATE AND DESTROY on Friday Oct 24 @ 9 p.m. at the Times Square Arts Center. MEDITATE AND DESTROY provides an intimate and dynamic portrait of an unconventional Buddhist teacher and counselor. This powerful 80 minute documentary shows how author Noah Levine (Dharma Punx, Against the Stream) uses his personal experience and punk-rock sensibilities to connect with young people within juvenile halls and urban centers around the country. More »
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October 22, 2008

Blogging from Buddhaland

New Delhi, India - October 19-20 India is an assault to the senses from the moment you land-- the worn enclosed walkway on the jetport as you deplane seems unchanged from the first days of jet travel, and the unmistakable acrid smell of insecticide and industrial cleaning solvent are the first welcome to the paradox that is India.  But once inside the terminal, one must be impressed by India's admirable attempt to create a modern world-class international airport; the lighting is soft, the marble corridors clean and well constructed, and the floor to ceiling glass offers unimpeded views of the pandemonium that awaits you outside baggage claim. My bags safely retrieved, and armed with my pre-paid taxi ticket, I venture out of the terminal into the chaos of night.  A hot wind is blowing and the tall overhead halogens are lighting up the kumba mela of flying insects that fill the dark sky. Swirls of black crows make the night sky even blacker. More »
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October 21, 2008

Tibetans in Nepal

The indefatigable Mikel Dunham--writer, photographer, journalist, blogger and adventurer--has passed out digital cameras to Tibetan refugees living in Nepal, asking the fledgling photojournalists to record their everyday lives. He hopes to pull together enough photos for a book but until then, posts them on his site. Apparently, writes Dunham, a bit of a competition has sprung up among the refugees so expect more and better to come. More »
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October 21, 2008

Thaksin Shinawatra convicted in Thailand, but he's in England

Ex-Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra was convicted of corruption in a Bangkok court and sentenced to two years in prison. Good thing for him he's not in the country right now. It may just be pandering to the protesters: Although the infraction was relatively minor and the details of the case obscure to many Thais, the court’s decision set the tone for further confrontation between the current government, which has links to Mr. Thaksin, and anti-government protesters who have barricaded and occupied the prime minister’s office compound since August, leading the government to conduct its business in Bangkok’s former international airport. Protesters cheered when the verdict was read. More »
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October 20, 2008

Beijing's New Buddhist Academy; Burma's Resolve

Beijing is building a general Tibetan Buddhist Academy in Tibet. It's claimed to be the first of its kind but the real idea is to continue the process of wresting control of Buddhism from the lamas and into the hands of the "appalling old waxworks" in Beijing. More »
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October 20, 2008

Land-Use Reform in China; 365 Days of Trash

Rural reform is a big part of communism -- take the huge estates, break them up into plots for small farmers to work, and so on, but the state owns the land. China is moving in the opposite direction and starting to re-privatize the land. (In North Korea, where people are starving, this would have a big impact. Fields that people own seem to produce more.) China's communism is very pragmatic and based on money these days rather than ideology. Money will keep them in power. Beijing wants farmers to consume: Increasing incomes in the countryside is a major part of the government’s effort to raise China’s domestic consumer spending at a time the overall economy is slowing. More than 700 million people are still designated rural inhabitants, yet their spending is minimal. More »
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October 17, 2008

With more monks safely in jail, China lures tourists back to Tibet

In Tibet, more monks are going to jail: Eight Buddhist monks convicted of bombing a government building in Tibet during an anti-government uprising in March have been sentenced to prison, two of them for life, a judge said Tuesday. The monks were sentenced at the People's Court in Chamdo, a Tibetan prefecture, after being convicted of setting off a bomb at the building in Gyanbe township, said Gang Weilai, the judge who presided over the case. Gyanbe is about 855 miles (1,375 kilometers) east of Lhasa, Tibet's capital, where peaceful protests against Chinese rule erupted into violence in March. Gyurmey Dhondup and Kalsang Tsering were sentenced to life in prison while the others received sentences of between five and 15 years, Gang said in a telephone interview. More »
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October 17, 2008

Burma: "Poverty and hunger, climate change and politics"

The illegal hunting of wild cats is flourishing in Burma. The biggest buyer of wild cat parts is China. TRAFFIC [the wildlife trade monitoring network] called on the Burmese authorities to clampdown on the illicit trade by: • Closing down markets where the parts are on sale and prosecuting the dealers. • Working with other neighbouring countries to end the international trade. • Trained staff being more vigilant at airports and border points. • Regular and systematic monitoring of markets by NGOs working with the authorities. • Revising existing laws and enforcing all CITES regulations. • Clarifying the status of the Fishing Cat, Leopard Cat and Jungle Cat. It is a difficult issue to get moral about except as it concerns governments. More »
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October 17, 2008

Friendship

A friend endowed with these three qualities is worth associating with. Which three? He/she gives what is hard to give, does what is hard to do, endures what is hard to endure. A friend endowed with these three qualities is worth associating with. - Anguttara Nikaya, III.133, trans. by Thanissaro Bhikkhu More »
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October 16, 2008

The Hidden Costs of Eating Meat

Ezra Klein, who blogs so often and well on food-related issues, discusses feedlots, where most of our meat comes from, the subsidization of meat which hides its true cost, and Michael Pollan's food proposals for our next president. Overconsumption of meat imposes huge costs on both the environment and on public health. And that's to say nothing of the indefensible cruelty that characterizes CAFO operations. Yet we spend billions to subsidize ever cheaper meat. And billions more to treat the ill health that results from our meat-heavy diets. And we will pay billions, even trillions, more, to handle the environmental damage that eventually results from these policies. More »
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October 16, 2008

Prison Chaplains are struggling

Precious Metal points us to a piece from The Yomiuri Online's series on capital punishment. This one is about the struggles of prison chaplains, specifically those chaplains dealing with death row inmates. Tricycle does its own small part to help prison chaplains and prisoners with our online Prison Project, and our partnership with Prison Dharma Network, but with prison rates as shockingly high as they are in the United States, there is much much more to be done More »
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October 16, 2008

Tensions High in South Korea; Beginner's Guide to Zen

There's more uproar over religious discrimination in South Korea. More »
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October 16, 2008

Gary Snyder in the New Yorker

A profile by Dana Goodyear and poetry. There's a blogpost about the profile, which isn't online. More »
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October 15, 2008

Temple at the Heart of Border Dispute

Cambodia and Thailand are having border skirmishes over Preah Vihear, a 900-year-old mountaintop temple, and the surrounding land. At least two soldiers have died and several more were wounded. The area is studded with landmines and as in the hands of the Khmer Rouge until a decade or so ago. More »