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July 21, 2008

Where are the poets of yesteryear?

The great religious figures are not philosophers, they're not historians, they're not institutional leaders in any sense. They are people who inspire the imagination and therefore deserve the word "poet." In Salon, religious studies scholar James Carse argues that religion does not necessitate belief -- but that poetry is necessary to religion. His new book is The Religious Case Against Belief. More »
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July 21, 2008

Democracy in Nepal, Activists in Burma

Mikel Dunham has an excellent and heartening post on Nepal and it's newborn democracy. You really can't beat Mikel's blog for news on Nepal. And the estimable Danny Fisher has an update (from the Washington Post) about the new generation of activists in Burma. More »
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July 21, 2008

BuddhaJones and Dorje Shugden

Check out BuddhaJones.com -- a Nichiren blog with multiple authors that addresses serious issues. And in case anyone missed it, the mainstream media peeked into the Dorje Shugden issue. More »
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July 16, 2008

Molting

It was a tiny feather, not more than an inch and a half in length, pale gray and barely discernible against the matching gray surface of the sidewalk. And then there was a second feather as well. It’s unlikely that I’d have noticed them at all if a little breeze hadn’t blown them about just as I came along. This was in mid-August, and the House Sparrows that nest in the hollows and crevices under the eaves of the building that houses Chico Natural Foods we’re beginning their fall molt from breeding plumage into their winter feathers. More »
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July 16, 2008

Tibet-China Conflict Featured in this Week's The Economist

The Economist has published a lengthy report on the mass uprisings in Tibet earlier this year. The article is written from magazine's signature centrist point of view, and takes a relatively non-judgmental stance. The most interesting part is the author's musings on China's response to the riots in March. In a perplexing course of action, China did not react to the initial unrest with their usual level of brutal efficiency (several people were still killed). As a result, the chaos was allowed to spread far further than it may have otherwise. The article then goes on to offer cynical speculation on the motives of the Chinese government for their actions at the time(an excuse for the later wide-scale clampdown of the region, or caution leading up to the Olympics?), and then, the motives of all involved parties in general. More »
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July 15, 2008

Zero Emission, No Noise

This may have been done before, but it's new to me, at least as far as I can remember. It comes courtesy of Frank Olinsky (who designed the cover for Juliana Hatfield's new memoir, how cool is that?) -- There's a car company called out there called ZENN (Zero Emission, No Noise.) I don't really know what to say about that. Noble silence? Danny Fisher has a clip of Lama Surya Das, one of the great and persistent proponents of Buddhist humor, on the Colbert Report talking about Barack Obama. For some reason this blogpost feels very name-droppy. I saw Billy Crystal at the airport Thursday night. More »
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July 15, 2008

Break Ups 2 Make Ups

Danny Fisher recommends Buddhist books on love and hearbreak. More »
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July 15, 2008

Celebrating Waso

The New York Times ran a brief piece on Burmese Buddhists celebrating Waso in Prospect Heights. In Burma, the full-moon day of Waso "marks the day of the Buddha’s first sermon and the start of a monsoon season retreat, a time of contemplation during which monks do not travel." More »
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July 14, 2008

When You're Falling, Dive

Manhattanites in the mood for Mark Matousek can head to the Barnes and Noble at 97 Warren St tonight at 7 pm. He'll be reading from his new book, When You’re Falling, Dive: Lessons in the Art of Living. More »
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July 14, 2008

Sharon Salzberg on Huffington Post

Tricycle blogger Sharon Salzberg also appears now and then on the Huffington Post. Take a look at her posts over there right here. More »
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July 14, 2008

Funeral Buddhism in Japan

The New York Times says Buddhism may be dying out in Japan. (Shades of Clark Strand's "Dharma Family Values" here.) But what is there to do about it? More »
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July 11, 2008

The Karmapa on PBS

Tonight on PBS's Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly: an interview with the Seventeenth Karmapa. From the press release: In a conversation with correspondent Kim Lawton, the Karmapa Lama talks about his increasing public role and how he can help the modern world better understand the teachings and main purpose of Buddhism: "It does seem to be the case that I am receiving more and more recognition in the world. And my main aspiration is that I use this recognition for a beneficial purpose . . . The essential points of Buddhism are beyond culture and beyond traditions." The interview will be available online at http://www.pbs.org/wnet/religionandethics/index_flash.html after 8:30 pm today, or watch tonight at 5 pm EST (check your local listings). More »
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July 08, 2008

Recent news from the China-Tibet Drama

Drama: No other word quite encapsulates recent happenings so well. It's only barely an irreverent choice of words, considering the almost comical amount of nothing changing. First off, belated, but... Happy Birthday, His Holiness the Dalai Lama! Apparently, that is about as exuberant as the actual celebrations were. "Tibetans all over the world will be praying today for the long life of the Dalai Lama. But as the situation in Tibet continues to be bad, we have decided to not hold any cultural song and dance event to mark the event," -Thupten Samphel, spokesman of the exiled government. More »
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July 07, 2008

Power and Zen

Dosho Port is musing about power and Zen, in both the traditional Japanese and modern American contexts, over at his Wild Fox Zen blog: Why Teacher-Student Relationships Often Get Wacky. . . . power relationships are usually unspoken and yet are among the most important factors in organizations as well as in relationships, but Zen folk often tend not to want to talk about power. It isn't considered polite. His full reflection is definitely worth reading, and if you've got something to share, he's invited comments on the thread. More »
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July 07, 2008

Buddhism, from peerless caves to the silver screen

The New York Times has a lengthy article on Mogaoku, the "peerless caves" in Dunhuang, China. Decorated with devotional paintings and sculptures dating back to the fifth century, the caves are rapidly deteriorating due to increased tourism as well as the natural ravages of time. Writer Holland Cotter muses, The question of access versus preservation is a poignant one and is by no means confined to Mogaoku. It applies to many fragile monuments. What are we willing to give up to keep what we have? More »
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July 04, 2008

Sitting With Fire

Tassajara Zen Monastery, part of the San Francisco Zen Center, is currently threatened by the wildfires raging in Big Sur.  You can follow what is going on by reading their wildfire-related blog, Sitting With Fire, which is kept updated.  You can also get details at Tassajara's website, including how you can help.  The monastery is been closed until July 11, although some residents remain to help fight the fires and carry out some services.  One interesting part of practice with fire has been the residents' chanting of the Smokey the Bear Sutra, written by Gary Snyder.  Zen practitioners throughout the country are also chanting the Shosai Myokichijo Darani, a basic service chant in Tassajara's lineage, in solidarity with the residents of the threatened mon More »
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July 03, 2008

Teenage wasteland?

Not for these budding Buddhists. Newsweek's Beliefwatch has a post on teenagers turning to the dharma--particularly ones from non-Buddhist families. More »
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July 02, 2008

China - Tibet talks begin, and we have.... Silence?

At least from the inside. No news about what went on behind closed doors between the Dalai Lama's envoys and the Chinese government. However, we do have some delicious sound bytes from both parties on the day of the talks, keeping with their usual messages to international media. From Tibetan government in exile: Hoping for results, while reiterating the call for international support of Tibet's not-quite-independence. From those in employ of the Chinese government: The Dalai Lama's followers incited violence. In conclusion, more of the same. Still, it doesn't have to mean more of the same ahead. I hope for the best, and look forward to good news when the talks are done. More »
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July 02, 2008

From Salon

Andy Cooper flagged two Salon articles that may be of interest. Dalai Lama's time bomb ponders the Dalai Lama's policy of nonviolent activism in the face of widespread frustration among many Tibetans. And physicist/theologian Karl Giberson asks science and religion, Can't we just all get along? More »
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June 30, 2008

"I believe that flowers can blossom from anguish and inhumanity."

That's Japanese artist Ikuo Hirayama in an NPR interview, talking about the core belief that compels him to create. Hiramaya was fifteen years old and living in Hiroshima when the U.S. detonated the atomic bomb in 1945. His paintings, including a series on the Silk Road, address Buddhist themes of hope and change. More »