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September 08, 2007

Magic Kingdom

The Atlantic Monthly has a web-only slideshow of photos from Bhutan. These pictures accompany an article that seems to be only available to subscribers. The pictures are very cool and beautiful, but the whenever a country and culture is presented as so exotic, as such a spectacle, it gets a little condescending and weird. But this is interesting to people like me and probably you who have never been to Bhutan, and of course most of us will never get all the way to the valley of the Blue Moon. People with the time and money can go and gawk if they want, and bore us with their photos and stories when they get back. More »
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September 07, 2007

L.A. Buddha Project

Long-Bin Chen has a way cool exhibit of "Reading Sculptures" -- sculptures made out of old reading material -- at the Frank Pictures Gallery in Santa Monica. Not exactly sure what went into the Buddha head at right. And check out this Long-Bin Chen sculpture from 2005 made out of Manhattan phone books. If you're in the southeast U.S., look for "Mystical Images of Tibet" in Myrtle Beach. Check out this cool blog on Tantric deities -- with many pretty pictures! More »
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September 07, 2007

Burmese Monks Fight the Power

Buddhist monks are seriously involved in the protests in Burma. They recently went as far as holding twenty hostages, at least 15 of whom were "mainly local and security officials" for a day. Plus Monks vs. the Military, and Buddhist Monks trash a (local militia leader's) shop. Staying Southeast Asia, more on the proposal to make Buddhism the state religion of Thailand. More »
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September 07, 2007

It Was, Then It Wasn't

I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying near Savatthi in Jeta's grove, Anathapindika's monastery. Now at that time the Blessed One sat reflecting on the various evil, unskillful qualities that had been abandoned [in him] and on the various skillful qualities that had gone to the culmination of their development. Then as he realized the various evil, unskillful qualities that had been abandoned [in him] and the various skillful qualities that had gone to the culmination of their development, he on that occasion exclaimed: Before, it was, then it wasn't. Before, it wasn't, then it was. It wasn't, won't be & now isn't to be found. [Udana (Exclamations) VI.3, from Handful of Leaves 4, An Anthology from the Khuddaka Nikaya, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu, © 2003] More »
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September 06, 2007

Gore and the Buddhist Monastery

Read the Vanity Fair article "Going After Gore" today to be reminded of the whole fundraising debacle the Veep had involving Buddhists. This Washington Post article from 1999 (by the fair and balanced Ceci Connolly) gleefully pictures Gore "grubbing for dollars inside a monastery." These days Hillary Clinton has fundraising scandals of her own, but the one with Gore and the Buddhists (the exotic religion carries the whiff of foreign money and therefore corruption that raises American hackles) had particularly long legs. It didn't lose him the election, but what a different world we'd live in if he'd won. More »
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September 05, 2007

Change Your Mind Day 2007 and the Village Zendo

A fun day today as (Tricycle Associate Publisher) Allison Steinberg and I trooped over to Village Zendo here in Manhattan to film Roshi Pat Enkyo O'Hara for Change Your Mind Day 2007. That's her over to the right. Thanks for your help, roshi! Village Zendo is housed in a very beautiful space on lower Broadway, but the sangha's tenancy there is unfortunately threatened by steadily rising commercial real estate prices. More »
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September 05, 2007

Pagodas over Pungo

A victory for the International Campaign for Tibet: Congress passed a resolution allowing them to host a ceremony honoring the Dalai Lama on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol on October 17th, 2007. That same day in the rotunda Congress will also give the DL the "highest civilian honor" Congress can give (the Congressional Medal of Freedom?) It's actually pretty amazing. Don't worry, we'll hear from China on this one. Some Buddhist monks are running into trouble from neighbors in Pungo, Virginia who want to keep their neighborhood rural. Three monks want to live in the house and hold services there. More »
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September 04, 2007

Where's Meng?

Thanks to our friend Tom Armstrong of Thoughts Chase Thoughts for pointing us to a New York Times piece on Google engineer Tan Chade-Meng, a founding father of Buddhism online with the venerable site "What do you think, my friend?" (Tom points out that the NYT piece makes no mention of Mr. Tan's ur-Buddhist webwork.) Instead, the article focuses on pictures of the Google engineer with celebrities visiting the Google campus. More »
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September 04, 2007

Burned any good books lately?

The Tibet Connection, and English-language radio show, airs the last Friday of each month from Los Angeles, but you can also stream it live at kpfk.org. You can listen to the most recent show (August 31, 2007, featuring Robert Thurman, among others) here. The next show will be September 28th at 2 pm Pacific time. Banned Book Week is September 29-October 6, 2007. Learn more about it from the American Library Association. More »
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August 30, 2007

Labor Day Weekend Open Thread

"Only what happens is possible." - Franz Kafka More »
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August 29, 2007

Join the club -- Or else!

“You just cannot be a meat-eating environmentalist,” says Matt A. Prescott, manager of vegan campaigns for PETA. Many of us have heard by now that cows are worse for the earth than cars. (The carbon cost of ice cream is particularly high, as it must be refrigerated throughout its "lifespan" -- hence just being vegetarian isn't good enough.) None of this nonsense in beef-eating Britain, where they are working instead to change cows' diets to cut down on methane production. More »
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August 29, 2007

Free Aung San Suu Kyi!

This great little item has been making the rounds lately: Jim Carrey's Burma video. Good work, Jim! Love the long hair, too. Here's the U.S. Campaign for Burma site. The government of Myanmar is one of the most brutal in the world. Promising signs, though, as this astonishing protest showed. The BBC's profile of Aung San Suu Kyi here. Update: Buddhist monks join pro-democracy protests in Myanmar. More »
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August 29, 2007

Symbols, Punks, Geeks

When I type "Buddhist" into Google, the wise and witty search engine promptly suggests "Buddhist symbols" as the search I should perform. I wonder why? I blame Body Vows. When you think "Buddhist Punk," you may picture Brad Warner or Noah Levine. But Google Images thinks of this. Buddhist Geeks is interviewing artist and Naropa professor Robert Spellman. Cool. - Philip Ryan, Webmaster More »
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August 29, 2007

Killing the Buddha Reloaded

I happened to click over to Killing the Buddha today and noticed they've more or less relaunched in a new bloggy way. Part of the blogization of the world, I guess. In ten years there will be no more jobs, no more people nor wars nor car accidents nor even credit card debt -- everything will just be blogs. Well, there may still be credit card debt floating around. More »
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August 29, 2007

Collateral Damage?

Human Rights Watch says that 89% -- or 2,196 -- of the people killed by the "separatists" and "insurgents" in southern Thailand since January 2004 are civilians. They are careful to say separatist and not use the "T" word -- a good thing, since the word's overuse by the current junta in Washington has rendered it essentially meaningless. Oh, I guess there's two "T" words -- terrorist/m and torture. The obfuscated meaning of both is part of the shining legacy of the Department of Justice under Bush 2. What does it mean when nearly 90% of a separatist or insurgent group's victims are civilians? I guess I'm naive. I guess I just don't understand modern asymmetrical warfare. Of course most victims are civilians -- they're there. More »
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August 28, 2007

Tibet: Open for Business

Tourists, rejoice! Sure, you may have to wait all day in the summer heat to get tickets to the Potala Palace, but now Tibet is open in the winter too! No more long lines! No more hot dusty streets! Just cool, refreshing ice and snow. Beijing is working Tibet into the Olympics, starting with the torch on Everest. But more generally they are planning to transform Tibet entirely, as they expect its quaint charm to be a tourist draw for Olympic visitors. More »
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August 28, 2007

Navel Gazers & Firebrands

Ajahn Punnadhammo asks: "Is there a doctrinal aspect of Buddhism that hinders action in the world?" In his most recent post, the Theravada monk goes on to offer an answer of his own: Possibly. There is the underlying sense that this conditioned realm is inherently flawed and will always be so. However, there is also a very great emphasis on compassion for all beings caught in it. And there are plenty of scriptural references to the Buddha advising on how to live a comfortable and decent life within this world, and even commenting on what we would relate to as social or political questions. The ajahn's post was inspired by Bhikkhu Bodhi's article appearing in the current issue of Buddhadharma, published by the Shambhala Sun, the Canadian bimonthly founded by the late Chogyam Trungpa Rincpoche. More »
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August 27, 2007

Fox News misses some big stories

Check out this screenshot of the Fox News website this evening. (Click the graphic to see it life-size.) I think they missed a big story concerning the attorney general, but I'm not sure. I guess they're not on the ball today, because they also seem to have missed the hospitalization of Owen Wilson, a sad tabloid tale that would fit right in with their other top stories. More »
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August 27, 2007

Bombs and Buddhists

Three bombs were discovered in Sri Lanka on Sunday, one of them in the town of Kandy along the route of a procession to honor the Buddha's Tooth Relic. The 10-day festival will go on regardless. Sri Lanka has lived with terrorism for a very long time, and the Temple housing the Tooth was damaged by a truck bomb in 1998. Meanwhile, a Buddhist delegation arrived in Sri Lanka from another majority-Buddhist country involved in a civil war, Thailand. The fighting there is getting more violent. Visitors from Myanmar / Burma are also due in Sri Lanka. Is it ironic that a Tooth Relic is held in a town called Kandy? Teeth are tough customers. More »
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August 27, 2007

Nepal Watch

If you're looking for info on Nepal you can't do much better than Mikel Dunham's blog. Frequent updates, in-depth articles, great photos, and even info for tourists planning to visit the country -- for Nepaloholics, this site has it all. More »