Tricycle Blog

Our daily diary of the global Buddhist movement Subscribe to feed
Tricycle Community 0 comments

November 30, 2007

Maggin Monastery Shut Down by Burmese Junta

More bad news from Burma: While Aung San Suu Kyi meets again with the representatives of the junta delegated to keep her busy, Maggin monastery, supposedly linked to the protests, is shut down. The abbot of Maggin, Sayadaw U Indaka, has been arrested and is held in an undisclosed location. Maggin Monastery, located in Rangoon, is a sanctuary for HIV / AIDS patients from rural areas seeking treatment in the big city. "Closing a monastery is unprecedented in recent history," said a Burmese journalist who visited the monastery to confirm the closure. "Authorities have seen Maggin monastery as a camp of political activists. More »
Tricycle Community 2 comments

November 29, 2007

Religious Market Share

In its December 2007 issue (p. 26 or so), National Geographic reports on World Religions (with helpful and colorful diagrams.) The world breaks down this way: 33% Christian, 21% Muslim, 14% Nonbelievers, 13% Hindus, 12% Other, 6% Buddhist, and a small amount of Jews, some fraction of 1%. The data comes from 2005, courtesy of the World Christian Database (Center for the Study of Global Christianity at the Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary) and there is nothing about number or methods. It doesn't really matter -- Americans are mostly interested in the Muslim figures in studies like this. The Nonbelievers figure is probably skewed by Communist countries, which all rank very high in Nonbelievers, with the exception of Laos -- and frankly I'm very skeptical as to what their data is on Laos anyway. This is all about Market Share. More »
Tricycle Community 0 comments

November 28, 2007

Arrests Continue in Burma

Sad but apparently true: Amnesty International has condemned the continuing arrests of political activists inside Burma despite what it says was the government's pledge to stop. The London-based rights group on Tuesday published details of the arrest of several activists since early November. Amnesty says Burmese Prime Minister Thein Sein made a commitment to Ibrahim Gambari to halt the arrests when the U.N. special envoy met with him earlier this month. Thein Sein is not to be confused with the junta's supremo, Than Shwe, also known as the Bulldog. Also, Burmese refugees settle in the Washingon, D.C. area. No word on which candidate they're leaning for -- oh, wait. They'll never be given citizenship in post-9/11 America. More »
Tricycle Community 2 comments

November 28, 2007

Resacralizing the Holidays: Holy Day Mindfulness

This is a guest post by Lama Surya Das (that was supposed to be published before Thanksgiving.) As the holydays start coming upon us, fast and furious, I like to turn back to spiritual readings and teachings to refresh and remind me what it's all about. Of course, having been called the 'Ocean of Questions,' I like to start with questions and then live mindfully into them. So first my HolyDay questions: What is this really all about? Why are we here? What are we doing? And what is important and really matters? Aren't these all part of life's big questions, anyway? More »
Tricycle Community 0 comments

November 27, 2007

Protests at Bodh Gaya, Korean Idyll, and Tibet House Auction

Danny Fisher alerts us to the protests at Bodh Gaya -- protests against the Myanamar junta, that is. There is a strong Burmese presence in Bodh Gaya, Burma being not so far away. (Since the monks mentioned are wearing yellow, not red, they are more likely to be Sri Lankan, perhaps, than Burmese.) Beautiful account (plus photos!) of a visit to Korea on the always entertaining Dreaming of Danzan Ravjaa. Our friends at Tibet House are teaming up with Christie's for an auction on December 5th. What's up for grabs? Works by Donald Baechler, Lynn Davis and Annie Leibovitz, exotic trips and a guitar autographed by Dave Matthews. More »
Tricycle Community 0 comments

November 27, 2007

Atheism, Vietnam, Sarkozy, and Holiday Stress

 Why is atheism so hot right now? The Nation's Katha Pollitt: There's no question in my mind that horror at militant Islam and fear of Muslim immigration lie behind at least some of the current vogue for atheism--you don't make the bestseller list by excoriating the evils of Lutheranism or Buddhism. The problem is that the more scorn one feels for religious belief, the less able one is to appreciate "reformed" or "moderate" variants of the faith. After all, pro-gay Episcopalians and liberation theology Catholics still believe in Christ, the afterlife, sin; reformed Jews still find wisdom in the Old Testament. Strictly speaking, an atheist should have no truck with any of it. But if all you can offer people is reasons to quit their religion--which also often means their community, their family, their support system and their identity--you're not going to have many takers. More »
Tricycle Community 0 comments

November 27, 2007

"Soulless Scientism"

This NYT blog post on the stem cell debate -- and various other issues where religious warriors wade into deep water to do battle with the krakens of science -- caught my eye. Among other things, a commentor suggests scientism, a word I'm fond of, is invented by the right (like "Islamofascism"): Alas for the Christians, who have had to fight a mighty, mostly losing battle with scientists. The last ditch effort, creating a new word, scientism, for a general ad hominem is pretty lame. Perhaps they should switch to Buddhism, in which the conflicts are rare. - Philip Ryan, Web Editor More »
Tricycle Community 2 comments

November 26, 2007

Web help, Bird flu, and Cardinal Zen

Our friends at Metta Forest Monastery, whose buildings and grounds were spared by the terrible September October fires in southern California, have not been so lucky with their website. Their site is down and it might be nice for some web-savvy friendly Buddhist webmaster-type in southern California to lend a hand. Their contact information is here. I visited Metta Forest a while ago and had a wonderful time. So why aren't I living there as a renunciate and earning merit for you all? Sigh. BURMA: Blood rubies, bloodshed, kleptocratic bureaucrats, monks bludgeoned in the streets, and now bird flu. More »
Tricycle Community 2 comments

November 25, 2007

Science and Faith

This appeared in the New York Times recently (and has some bearing on a recent post here): In other words, the laws [of physics] should have an explanation from within the universe and not involve appealing to an external agency. The specifics of that explanation are a matter for future research. But until science comes up with a testable theory of the laws of the universe, its claim to be free of faith is manifestly bogus. - Philip Ryan, Web Editor More »
Tricycle Community 0 comments

November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

"May this be for our relatives. May our relatives be happy!" - 7. Hungry Shades Outside the Wall, Khuddakatha (Short Passages) from Handful of Leaves 4, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu More »
Tricycle Community 1 comment

November 21, 2007

Blog Blowback

The New York Times blog commented on Clark Strand's WSJ piece a while back. (See this post as well if you like.) There are many interesting comments following the NYT post: You certainly can't argue that Mr. Strand doesn't know how to ruffle some feathers. Many people seemed to miss that this was an opinion piece that appeared in the Wall Street Journal, although it's true that a related article appeared earlier in Tricycle. It seems Brad Warner of Hardcore Zen wants a job, a good job! More »
Tricycle Community 10 comments

November 21, 2007

Einstein and Buddha, together again

Steven Seagal is back on the Buddhist scene, visiting what is said to be Europe's largest Buddhist temple in the Russian Federation republic of Kalmykia. Most readers will remember that Seagal was recognized as a tulku by His Holiness Penor Rinpoche about ten years ago. Kalmykia itself is notable for being the only region in Europe where Buddhism is the dominant religion. Seagal is also visiting a boxing tournament in Elista, Kalmykia's capital. More »
Tricycle Community 3 comments

November 20, 2007

Life's Big Questions

This is a guest-post from Lama Surya Das. I have been asking people around the country about what is their big life question. Many say in return, “What do you mean?” I say—“You know, the big questions of life and death, the afterlife, God, suffering, meaning and purpose, truth, happiness, love.” And they inevitably say, “Oh, those big questions.” For everyone is familiar with them. We are all faced with these questions throughout life, as well as with the many little quandaries of daily life. How well and to what degree we attend to them varies from person to person and from decade to decade. I myself feel well endowed with the Why Chromosome. More »
Tricycle Community 0 comments

November 20, 2007

A statue saved in Pakistan, and the Zen of Meeting Women

There's a mention of SFZC's groundbreaking restaurant Greens in this pretty photo gallery of vegetarian dining in San Francisco, and also in the related article (from the New York Times.) Normally when we hear Pakistan and Buddhism in the same sentence, it's because Islamists have dynamited another statue. But here's a case where some villagers got together and saved a statue. Will Smith has studied Buddhism and Hinduism and says they're no better or worse than Scientology. Who came out on top at the recent ASEAN conference? More »
Tricycle Community 19 comments

November 19, 2007

Caption Me!

Tricycle contributing editor Frank Olinsky snapped this picture of a zafu around the corner from his Brooklyn digs recently, and it seems to scream for a caption or story, doesn't it? Let us know if you come up with one! More »
Tricycle Community 0 comments

November 19, 2007

Business as Usual in Burma

The cyclone that hit Bangladesh last week killed more than 3,000 people and may have left a million homeless. As sea levels rise, expect more problems like this in Bangladesh and other low-lying coastal areas (where most of the world's population lives.) A Hollywood movie has Jesus hanging out with Buddhists and fighting the caste system in India during his "missing years" between ages 13 and 30. ASEAN is coming under fire for their handling of the situation in Burma. U.S. Trade Representative and Bush appointee Susan Schwab said ASEAN has a "special responsibility" to make Burma comply with international calls for reform. And U.N. More »
Tricycle Community 1 comment

November 14, 2007

Don't Forget Burma

The Worst Horse finds a big collection of graphics telling us all: "Don't forget Burma!" So, following that good advice: Burma is selling jewelry. (Burma produces 90% of the world's rubies.) Don't buy it! The junta keeps arresting people during Rapporteur Pinheiro's visit. The BBC says Burma's monks are not ready to forgive the wrongs done them by the junta. The painting "Monks with Traits of a Crow," is shaking up Thailand, which is estimated to be 94% Buddhist. You can see the painting after the link. More »
Tricycle Community 5 comments

November 14, 2007

Graying Buddhism?

Clark Strand, a contributing editor to Tricycle, has raised some hackles with his recent opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal, "Buddhist Boomers," which more or less follows up on his piece "Dharma Family Values" from the pages of Tricycle. Strand argues that Buddhists in America (referring primarily to converts from the Baby Boom) are getting older and Buddhist ranks are not being filled by young people. Buddhists should emulate other religions in getting children involved, he argues. More »
Tricycle Community 0 comments

November 13, 2007

The Dalai Lama and Gandhi

BURMA: As Paulo Sergio Pinheiro visits Burma on behalf of the UN, a monk and a female activist were arrested in connection with the September protests. Human Rights Watch has called for a ban of all Burmese gems and jade, which together account for more than 10% of the junta's revenue. DALAI LAMA: Speaking at the Satyagraha Conference in India, the Dalai Lama says he met Gandhi, not in this lifetime, but in a dream. More »
Tricycle Community 1 comment

November 12, 2007

FreeRice

Interesting site: FreeRice will donate 10 grains of rice through the United Nations for every word you define correctly! Get to it, you word-whizzes! More »