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May 16, 2008

One-Liners from Lama Surya Das

Some pithy Words of Wisdom from Lama Surya Das: That which we call "I" is just impermanent, ownerless karma rolling along. Don't take it personally. * Reality is not all it's cracked up to be. * I'm enlightened enough for now. * Don't forget to medicate the ferrets. More »
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May 15, 2008

Two Buddhists, Fifteen Feet

Also in today's NYTimes: a feature on Michael Roach and Christie McNally, two Buddhist teachers who consider themselves (celibate) spiritual partners. Roach, 55, who ordained as a monk in 1983, and McNally, 35, live in a yurt, say that they are never more than fifteen feet apart and "admit to a hands-on physical relationship that they describe as intense but chaste." Okie dokie. More »
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May 15, 2008

News on China and Burma

Heartbreaking updates on China and Burma in today's New York Times. In China, the Times notes, many of the dead appear to be children, "in a country where most families are allowed to have only one." Meanwhile, farmers in Burma fear they will miss the fall harvest, having lost seeds, livestock, rice stock, and draft animals in the cyclone. The deputy country director for the World Food Program estimates that at least 50,000 tons of rice are needed for the next six months, and 50,000 more will be necessary if farmers are not able to plant within the next few weeks. More »
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May 15, 2008

Kristof on Amdo

Nicholas Kristof on violence against monks in Amdo: At Labrang Monastery in Xiahe, almost 10,000 feet high in the mountains, more than 220 Buddhist monks were arrested and beaten, local Tibetans said. The great majority have been released, but some are still hospitalized because of injuries. Some monks are hiding in the mountains, and they are all terrified. “I was beaten for two hours with sticks, and kicked all over,” said a monk who was released after one night of imprisonment. Last month, the Chinese authorities ushered a group of journalists here on a tightly scripted tour to show that Labrang was calm — and then 15 monks rushed up to the group. More »
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May 14, 2008

Aid Stolen in Burma

It's a growing problem: The Burmese military continues to steal international aid packages sent to aid victims of cyclone Nargis. An estimated 1.5 million Burmese face -- (UPDATE: 2.5 million) -- disease and starvation and little aid is reaching them. And the death toll continues to rise in China. A Buddhist man woman who converted to Islam in Malaysia can go back to being Buddhist, the courts say. More »
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May 13, 2008

Words for Buddhist Livin'

Three quotations from Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, from Ocean of Dharma: 365 Teachings on Living Life with Courage and Compassion. The Lion's Roar The lion's roar is the fearless proclamation that any state of mind, including the emotions, is a workable situation, a reminder in the practice of meditation. We realize that chaotic situations must not be rejected. Nor should we regard them as regressive, as a return to confusion. We must respect whatever happens in our state of mind. Chaos should be regarded as extremely good news. More »
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May 13, 2008

Tibetan Tectonics

The twin disasters continue to unfold. The storm is over in Burma but the humanitarian nightmare continues. And the constitutional referendum went ahead despite being "blatantly rigged." Meanwhile ABC says "Tibetan tectonics triggered China quake." The violent quake that shook China's Sichuan province this week is linked to a shift of the Tibetan plateau to the north and east, researchers say. Hmm. And some inside China didn't take kindly to the cheery spectacle of the Olympic torch jogging along as if nothing were wrong. More »
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May 13, 2008

David Brooks on "neural Buddhism"

David Brooks discusses the "militant materialism of some modern scientists" then says: Over the past several years, the momentum has shifted away from hard-core materialism. The brain seems less like a cold machine. It does not operate like a computer. Instead, meaning, belief and consciousness seem to emerge mysteriously from idiosyncratic networks of neural firings. Those squishy things called emotions play a gigantic role in all forms of thinking. Love is vital to brain development. Researchers now spend a lot of time trying to understand universal moral intuitions. Genes are not merely selfish, it appears. Instead, people seem to have deep instincts for fairness, empathy and attachment. Scientists have more respect for elevated spiritual states. More »
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May 13, 2008

Rescuers Struggle to Reach Quake Survivors

There are as many 12,000 dead in China after the quake, plus hundreds of thousands injured and homeless, and there may be more quakes to come in the region. Those suffering here are not the ones who ordered troops into Lhasa or tanks into Tienanmen Square, but even if they were, in a previous life, whether you take that literally or not, each one of them was your mother, and in yet another life, your child. More »
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May 12, 2008

China Quake

Terrible death and suffering in Sichuan Province. More »
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May 12, 2008

An Open Appeal on Behalf of the People of Burma by Jack Kornfield

Dear Dharma Friends, I want to ask you to consider help for the people of Burma. As you know the blessings of many of our Buddhist teachings have come from the tradition and generosity of the people of Burma. Now the devastating cyclone Nargis has plunged an already impoverished nation into chaos. The most effective was to help that I know of is The Foundation for the People of Burma (FPB), a U.S. registered charity I support. The Foundation already has 70 staff and volunteers on the ground and working to relieve suffering in sites across Burma right now, while most foreign aid workers are still waiting at the border for visas. Because FPB has worked in Burma for many years, it has been able to quickly mobilize its Burmese staff and partner networks to address emergency needs in target areas. More »
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May 12, 2008

Burma help

Hal Nathan, who launched the Foundation for the People of Burma in 1999, was in northern Burma when the cyclone struck. You could say he found himself in the right place at the right time. His non-political charitable organization is devoted to providing humanitarian aid of all sorts to the Burmese people. According to Nathan, what gives his group a leg up in efficiently delivering desperately needed aid is the infrastructure his organization has built over the years. "We can distribute goods and services through the monasteries and temples and other community centers, and have good relations with people on the ground," he told me this afternoon. More »
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May 12, 2008

Lynda Barry in the Times

Not to brag or anything, but I think The New York Times may have a bit of a crush on us. Hot on the heels of columnist Wendy Johnson's profile last week comes an article about artist/author Lynda Barry, whose drawings of meditating monkeys, along with an original essay, are featured in our Summer 2008 issue. More »
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May 12, 2008

350

Spread the word. More here. More »
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May 12, 2008

Has Nargis caused more death than the 2004 tsunami?

Terrible images from the cyclone from the site of a music school in Rangoon: The post-cyclone situation here is worse than even our previously pessimistic estimates. The total worldwide deaths from the 2004 tsunami reached 220,000 and the total homeless population was 1.5 million. Unofficial but credible estimates here on the ground say that the total numbers of dead and of homeless from the cyclone now exceed those 2004 worldwide tsunami figures. Information trickling in from the villages in the Delta area indicates it is normal for a community to have lost 50-60% of its population by now. James Fallows of the Atlantic calls the junta evil. And as usual, Danny Fisher has the best Burma coverage out there. More »
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May 12, 2008

"Nowhere Near the Scale Required"

There's been a lot of back and forth over aid to Burma, but the first U.S. plane has just landed. A number of other flights arrived over the weekend and some supplies reached Burma by land. But many foreign experts are still waiting for visas to enter the country and on Sunday, the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) said that the amount of aid getting to victims was "nowhere near the scale required". The US military says about 11,000 servicemen and four ships are in the region for a military exercise and could be harnessed to help. The junta insists that foreign aid is acceptable but foreign aid workers are not. The BBC has an interactive map of the torch's route in China -- You can click on a city to read more about it. The torch is due to be in Lhasa June 20th and 21st. More »
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May 09, 2008

Everybody Loves Wendy

Who's the greenest of them all? Our vote gets cast for Tricycle columnist and Zen gardener Wendy Johnson, the subject of a big splashy ol' profile in the New York Times Home and Garden section ("Dharma in the Dirt," May 8, 2008). Wendy's "On Gardening" column has been a prize rose of the Tricycle garden for over ten years, and with the publication of her new book, Gardening at the Dragon's Gate, she's getting a wave of much-deserved attention. In the Times article, Wendy discusses her lovingly cultivated garden near Green Gulch Farm and the path that led her to appreciate the Buddha-nature of hemlock and lilacs alike. Basically, her life is awesome: meditating with trowel in hand, serving visitors homegrown lemon verbena tea, teaching, composting, writing... We want in! More »
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May 09, 2008

"The birds all stopped singing"

While Burma is embroiled in tragedy, the junta presses ahead with its sham constitutional referendum. Aung San Suu Kyi's house by the University is reported to have no electricity, which is not surprising, and may have lost part of its roof in the cyclone. She has not spoekn publicly since the storm. More »
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May 09, 2008

Incendiary

The junta has impounded some aid deliveries, which has slowed relief efforts considerably. This has led some  to suggest air-dropping the stuff might be better, but U.K. International Development Secretary Douglas Alexander calls this idea "incendiary." More »
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May 09, 2008

Danny Fisher on Burma

For updates on the cyclone and its aftermath in Burma, you can't do better than check in with Buddhist Chaplain Danny Fisher. He's got a whole host of posts full of great information on this. Drop by, you won't leave unenlightened. More »