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March 12, 2008

Meditation Myths

The Chinese embassy in Israel seems to have put pressure on Tel Aviv University to remove a Falun Gong flyer. Some students and faculty were appropriately outraged. An article on meditation myths. One myth? More »
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March 12, 2008

All About China: Tibetan Protests and Pollution from Solar Panels.

The second day of protests in Tibet: Out comes the teargas. And still no permission for Tibetans to march from India. And Chinese police in Kathmandu observe Tibetan demonstrators, manipulate the local police, and try to get American journalists arrested. The latest "eco-friendly" product to get a black eye: solar panels. The never-ending quest for capital brings more poison to China. More »
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March 11, 2008

U.N. Losing Hope for Burma?; Freedom Torch; By-products of Biodiesel

 Is the U.N.'s Burma effort running out of steam? It doesn't seem like it ever had much. And sanctions haven't bothered the junta either. Blood rubies: Who's buying Burma's gems? Monks and some citizens staged a bold protest in Lhasa to celebrate Uprising Day. But Tibetan protesters in Greece (where the Olympic torch is lit) were blocked by police, and will face similar treatment in India. More »
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March 10, 2008

Buddhist News and More, March 10, 2008

[Now with two updates! And one amended comment (#2.)] Ibrahim Gambari's latest visit to Burma is over without achieving conclusive results other than meeting with Aung San Suu Kyi twice. Burma said No thanks to having U.N. or international oversight for its May constitutional referendum. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, president of the Philippines, stepped up and criticized the junta on this. Thailand's problems in its restive south with insurgent Muslims have left 3,000 dead in four years of conflict. To confront this issue, senior Buddhist monks arrived in Cairo to speak with Sheikh Muhammad Sayyed Tantawi, the leading Sunni Muslim in Egypt, on the issue. More »
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March 07, 2008

Tricycle Pilgrimage to India, January 2008

The Tricycle pilgrimage to India was an eventful one, with so many sites visited we were all a bit winded by the end of it. This year, our unflappable Indian guide, Shantum Seth, took us down to the stone-temple caves of Ajanta and Ellora--truly spectacular. Stephen Batchelor and Shantum led mediations and teachings, and most memorable for me--after Ajanta and Ellora--was our visit to Sanchi, in Madhaya Pradesh. Sanchi is the site of some of the most well-preserved stupas and examples of Buddhist architecture. Stone structures spanning centuries are perched high on a hill overlooking the plains below. The great thing about Sanchi is that it spans a period from the third to the twelfth centuries. The earliest structures show no representation of the Buddha at all, in keeping with the tradition's focus on the teachings, not the man. More »
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March 06, 2008

Overcoming Caste

An article on dalit oppression in India from the Washington Post, via Going for Refuge. Not so long ago, in the back of a tin-roofed restaurant, Ramu, a teenage dishwasher, spent his nights chained to a radiator. That's how his employer kept him from running away. Ramu wanted to flee because his boss, who was from a higher, more privileged caste, constantly berated him for showing an interest in learning to read. The boss believed Ramu had to get used to a life of cleaning up after other people because as a Dalit, a member of India's lowest and most shunned caste, he could never amount to anything. Then a foreigner who ran a private school and home for Dalit children noticed Ramu. He enrolled him in classes. More »
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March 05, 2008

Bodhidharma's Shoe

Two-part movie of a dai-sesshin at Bodhi Manda in New Mexico with Joshu Sasaki Roshi, the last of the O.G. Japanese Zen "missionaries" to America. (See A Century of Zen, about his hundredth birthday.) The film is by Tom Davenport, who writes: I will be taking this film off revver.com in a few days. This is a draft version -- there some mistakes -- Bodhi Manda is a "Zen Center" -- not a monastery. The Roshi leads about 18 seven days sesshins a year, not 30, but still an impressive number! Also delivery of the narration and camera moves on the still pictures can be improved. More »
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March 05, 2008

Life in Lhasa

A photo essay on Slate. This weekend in 1989, martial law was formally imposed on the Tibetan capital of Lhasa by the Chinese government amid growing protests by Tibetans and violent crackdowns. Magnum presents portraits of Lhasans and images of the transition the country has had to undergo in recent years. [Photo: LHASA, Tibet—A monk at Jokhang Temple, 2000. © Steve McCurry / Magnum Photos] More »
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March 05, 2008

Mandalay Monks Say No to Draft Constitution

Burmese monks strike back at the junta's proposed constitution. Buddhist monks in Mandalay in upper Burma on Monday launched a harshly worded poster campaign urging a “Vote No” against the government’s referendum on a draft constitution, said sources close to the campaign. Meanwhile, the All Burma Monks Alliance earlier issued a hard-hitting statement ridiculing the referendum, the election and the regime. Teams of volunteers have put up anti-regime posters in Amarapura Township in Mandalay, a monk who asked not to be identified told The Irrawaddy on Tuesday. “The posters say the current situation is more important than ‘a fire on your head,’” he said. “If your head is on fire, only you will die. If you endorse the constitution, the next generation will also die.” More »
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March 05, 2008

Burmese Monks, Thai Monks, Bhutanese Politicians

Burmese monks taking refuge in Thailand wait, and hope for the best. More on the Thai monks networking online, including some -- to cynical Western ears -- fairly mild quotes: One user who called himself "Monk Chat" sent a message to a woman that said "(I) miss you," reported Thai Rath, Thailand's top-selling newspaper. Bhutan prepares to join the wonderful world of participatory democracy, with all that that implies (including a primary season that may last right up to the convention!) More »
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March 05, 2008

H-Buddhism Pwns the Pew Study; Paris plays with our affections

Another great post by Danny Fisher on The Buddhist Scholars Information Network (H-Buddhism)'s take on the Pew Study. Check it out, it's a great piece of work, and points out some major failings of the study as it relates to Buddhists. Please read some of the Samadhi Sutta in l33tspeak on the Level 8th Buddhist. This is the best synthesis of Buddhism and the web in a long time! And The Worst Horse points out that the rumors of Paris Hilton being spotted with a Buddhist monk were greatly exaggerated (deliberately.) More »
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March 04, 2008

Harness

[Author’s note: I have written this in celebration of the inner animal spirit shared by humans and non-humans alike. It is a spirit that shouldn’t and perhaps can’t be subdued. It might be what Zen Master Chao-chou had in mind when upon being questioned as to how one might rid oneself of passion, he replied “Why get rid of it!”] She was always a potential runaway. You needed to keep that in mind. If you didn’t she could bolt and be gone before you could do anything to stop her. She was a big horse. She could hit a full gallop in the space of a few yards, the bit in her teeth, her neck stretched taut, nostrils flared, her powerful legs pumping her forward without direction or intent. Once started, nothing but her own exhaustion ever stopped her. At times I could smell a runaway coming, feel the heat of it in the palms of my hands as though they were held over a flame. I would take up the reins, drawing in the slack ever so lightly, and tell her “Whoa now, Smokey. Easy now. More »
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March 04, 2008

Strange Happenings at Sera Monastery

The Dorje Shugden controversy goes on. Were monks devoted to Dorje Shugden discriminated against at Sera Monastery in India? More »
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March 04, 2008

Buddha Wild

Buddha Wild - The Monk in a Hut, directed by Anna Wilding, will screen at Tibet House on March 19th. The film is up for a major award in India. More »
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March 04, 2008

Meaty Issues

Our Winter '07 article, Gifts That Keep on Giving, has attracted some attention for its praise of Heifer International, a charitable foundation dedicated to providing international communities in need with livestock. Some livestock are used to help with farming and transportation, while others provide families with food and an opportunity to earn money through their milk, eggs, cheese, wool, and -- yes -- meat. In our Spring '08 issue, we published a letter from reader Kate Lawrence, who wrote, For Buddhists, a donation through Heifer violates the First Precept about not killing. These animals and their offspring will be killed, and killed specifically at the request of the donor. Do we really want to celebrate the holidays by sending animals to slaughter? Even if the donated animal is kept for milk or egg production, there is still killing involved: the female animals’ unwanted male siblings have most likely been slaughtered sooner rather than later. More »
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March 04, 2008

China trying to crack U.S. computer network?

This story seems quite inflammatory. Cyberwars are already happening, so this would mean declaration of cyberwar by China (in the year of their Olympic triumph) if true. But remember it's all according to a Pentagon annual report. And to put it as mildly as possible, opinions vary on the trustworthiness of reports from Bush's Pentagon. More »
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March 04, 2008

WNYC's Gift to Bhutan

Andrea Bernstein of WNYC spent a week in Bhutan, training local reporters to cover the nation's first-ever election on March 24th. Bernstein blogged her interesting and amusing experiences here. Hmmm, some gift. Welcome to the wonderful world of political journalism, Bhutan! A free and disinterested press is very important, of course. But there's little enough of that on these shores when it comes to covering the current U.S. campaign. More »
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March 04, 2008

Panchen Lama Too Young for Politics, Burmese and Sri Lankan News

China has apparently changed its mind and now says Beijing's Panchen Lama is too young for politics. The Dalai Lama's choice for Panchen Lama remains hidden somewhere, probably under arrest. having undergone years of "re-education." U.N> special envoy Ibrahim Gambari heads back to Burma. Will he diplomatically express his dissatisfaction with Burma's "roadmap to democracy?" India, the world's largest democracy, is tightening ties with Burma. They are neighbors after all. Can India use its considerable leverage to ameliorate the situation? Time will tell, but first the money has to start flowing. Imagine your next-door neighbor beats up his wife. But he sells you lots of things you want very cheaply and lets you park your RV in his driveway. More »
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March 03, 2008

Frank Olinsky's blog

Tricycle contributing editor Frank Olinsky has had a hand in many cool designs over the years including the original Tricycle logo and the timeless MTV logo, and now he has his own blog. The excellent picture here is taken from there and is called "Dogs Waiting for Their Humans." Don't you love it? You can find it supersized on Frank's blog, alongside many other cool pictures, logos, and designs. More »
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March 03, 2008

Stephen Malkmus

Ok, we were prepared to poo-poo one mention of Stephen Malkmus being a fan of Tricycle, maybe even two. But three? No, we can no longer stay silent! Besides, Pavement rocked. Here he is in index, Rolling Stone, and the Toronto Globe and Mail (purchase required for this last one.) A sharp=eyed reader in Toronto spotted the mention and wrote us a very thoughtful letter, for which we thank him. More »