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November 19, 2008

Sangha Appears Naturally in Daily Life

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 once 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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November 18, 2008

Agent Orange's Toxic Legacy Lives on in Vietnam

More than thirty years have passed, and Vietnamese people of all ages are still suffering. Children who weren't even born when the war ended were exposed either though their parents or through environmental contamination. The government of Vietnam cannot afford to help the many dioxin victims. Many U.S. veterans have received money from the several companies that produced Agent Orange, but will the Vietnamese ever see any compensation or help? More »
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November 17, 2008

Young Tibetans split from Dalai Lama and call for civil unrest

After years -- or lifetimes -- of frustration with China, some young Tibetans are not satisified with the way the Tibetan leadership is handling things. And it's happened before. More »
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November 17, 2008

Karen Armstrong on Compassion

The eminent religiologist (not a real word) Karen Armstrong writes about a Charter of Compassion -- this is all over the Buddhist blogs (and sure is geting some nasty comments from people who feel that their particular faith isn't properly reflected in the blog.) Well, seems like a nice enough idea, who doesn't like compassion? So a Yes vote for compassion (and wisdom too, if you have any to spare.) But the whole charter idea seems to wither in the light of the very serious challenges religions face these days. The nasty commenters will fill you in when you visit. More »
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November 17, 2008

More on Tibet and Burma

None of this will cheer you up. More »
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November 17, 2008

Talks in Tibet

Tibetan exiles have gathered in Dharamsala to discuss the future -- and the past. The Dalai Lama has been ill, he has expressed disappointment with China regarding talks about Tibet, and suggested that the office of the Dalai Lama will not last forever -- nothing does. But for anyone with a shred of sympathy for a free or autonomous Tibet, the picture is a bit gloomy. More »
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November 13, 2008

Petition from US Campaign for Burma

Danny FIsher has a petition from the U.S. Campaign for Burma for you (that means you) to sign urging UN Secretary General to visit Burma and give the junta a kick in the pants about human rights violations. More »
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November 13, 2008

13 More Pro-Democracy Burmese Dissidents Arrested

From the AP by way of the New York Times: The junta has no shame. Time for Mr. Green, the U.S. special envoy to Burma, to get to work. Buddhist Art News discusses Vaishali. More »
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November 12, 2008

The war on food miles

More on the war on food miles. Ronald Bailey from the conservative reasononline argues that air freighting food accounts for a small fraction of the CO2 emitted in getting food from farm to our plates, and that we're better off growing food where it's cheapest to do so. Of course, this is capitalism's answer for everything, and explains why it's cheaper to make New York City's manhole covers in India. More »
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November 12, 2008

More on "Buddha Boy"

Ram Bahadur Bamjan, known in the press as "Buddha Boy" emerged from the jungles of southern Nepal to teach for a week. He is said, by whom is unclear, to be the reincarnation of Siddhartha Gautama, the historical Buddha. The reincarnation of the Buddha? There is of course some controversy to his claims: However, as word of Bamjan's claimed feats spread worldwide several reports raised doubts over his authenticity. At the height of his fame, a French journalist filmed him nibbling on a piece of fruit while supposedly midway through his mammoth fast. More »
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November 12, 2008

"Fuel-price protestors" arrested in Burma

And given de facto life sentences: A Burmese court has sentenced 14 prominent dissidents to 65 years' imprisonment each for leading peaceful protests against a fuel price rise that spiralled into the widespread Buddhist monk-led demonstrations crushed by the military junta last year. The sentencing to de facto life imprisonment of the second tier of leaders of the 88 Generation students was described by one diplomat as "political revenge" against activists who helped shine a global spotlight on the political repression and economic stagnation in military-ruled Burma. "This is not a criminal justice system," said a Bangkok-based western diplomat, who monitors developments in Burma. More »
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November 12, 2008

Bush names special envoy and policy chief for Burma

Michael Green. He's known as a neocon and hawk and is also intended to keep an eye on ASEAN and China and push U.S. (Bush administration) policy in south and southeast Asia generally. Ah, memories of SEATO. US President George W. More »
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November 12, 2008

"Buddha Boy" Reappears

Nepal's Buddha Boy is back from the jungle he disappeared into a year and a half ago. A teenage Nepalese boy who some believe to be the reincarnation of the Buddha has re-emerged in a remote southern jungle after disappearing more than a-year-and-a-half ago. Officials said thousands of his followers flocked to see Ram Bahadur Bomjan speak Tuesday in Bara district about 150 kilometers south of Nepal's capital, Katmandu. Police said the teenager plans to preach to his devotees for a short time every day for a week, and then plans to return to the jungle to meditate. Bom More »
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November 11, 2008

Sulak Sivaraksa imprisoned

Danny Fisher points us to this disturbing news: the eminent social activist Sulak Sivaraksa was imprisoned by the Thai government for insulting the nation's royalty. Thailand's royalty lacks real political power but are defended by strict and repressive laws. He has since been released on bail. More »
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November 10, 2008

Tibet Talks Falter, China Blames Dalai Lama (then says, "We will never make a concession")

The Dalai Lama, who has said that while his faith in the Chinese people remains strong his faith in Beijing is diminishing, is predictably being blamed by China for the failure of recent peace talks. Beijing accuses him of asking for sovereignty, which he is not. "They are at a complete breakdown," said Michael Davis, a law professor at Chinese University of Hong Kong who frequently writes about Tibet. More »
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November 10, 2008

Burmese Blogger Nay Phone Latt sentenced to 20 years in prison

A Burmese blogger, Nay Phone Latt, was sentenced to twenty years and six months in prison for mocking the brutal and humorless criminals who run Burma. His blog, in Burmese, is here. (The standoff between Burma and Bangladesh has ended as well. More »
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November 10, 2008

Blogging from Buddhaland #6

Nalanda and the Bamboo Grove October 27 - 28, 2008 A short ride from Rajgir, one arrives at Nalanda, where is found the vast red brick ruins of a great Buddhist university, and one of the first institutions of higher learning in the world, dating back to 400 AD. Flourishing under Emperor Harsha in the 600's, Nalanda received a visit from the Chinese monk Hiuen Tsang who reported that several thousand students of many nationalities were in attendance.  Nalanda, taken from one of the Buddha's names meaning 'insatiable in giving,' enjoyed a reputation around the world. Well known was the strict gatekeeper who administered a test right at the entrance denying admission to 80% of applicants. By this time, Buddhism was already in decline in India, and was found concentrated in only a few places where there were powerful patrons.  Many differing philosophical schools of Buddhism were at variance, the lively yet peaceful debates were like "contending utterances rising like the angry waves of the sea," noted the pilgrim.  Even within the Mahayana, there were multiple factions, and some that took on the character of Tantricism.  Mathematics, astrology, and medicine were among the many secular subjects studied as well. More »
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November 07, 2008

Asian Contemporary Art Fair New York

Thursday afternoon, Tricycle caught a press-preview glimpse of this weekend’s Asian Contemporary Art Fair New York. Located on Manhattan’s Pier 92, the event features over 80 galleries from 15 countries, this year including artists from the Middle East and Central Asia. We were particularly taken by Ran Hwang’s expansive, glittering pin-and-button wall installations. Be on the lookout for her work in upcoming issues. Some of Hwang’s installations can be seen here. Another of our favorites was the exhibition of the Tibetan Bridge Foundation, an educational nonprofit working to build a community center in a village in Eastern Tibet. More »
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November 07, 2008

Congressional Buddhists

More Buddhist news this political season: Barbara O'Brien at About.com notes two Buddhists were re-elected to Congress! And The Buddhist Channel has unsurprising news that repression continues in Tibet and access for foreign journalists is blocked. Tensions heat up between Burma and Bangladesh over natural gas exploration in the Bay of Bengal. Burma has ominously positioned four warships off its coast. Danny Fisher noted the early signs of this a few days back. More »
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November 06, 2008

Stories by Mikel Dunham, Ed Brickell, and Wendy Johnson on tricycle.com

Here are three new stories we're proud to feature on tricycle.com: Writer, photographer, and blogger Mikel Dunham writes about Nepal's treatment of Tibetan refugees in "Deporting Protest." Ed Brickell of Bad Buddha writes about a run after a rainstorm that brings to mind the beginning of the world in "Genesis Run." Tricycle columnist More »