• The Biggest Book in the World Paid Member

    If you spent your summer rifling through cheap paperbacks and you're ready for something more substantial here's a recommendation: the biggest book in the world. Measuring 5 x 7 feet and weighing 133 pounds, The Bhutan: A Visual Odyssey Across the Last Himalayan Kingdom is officially recognized as the largest book in the world by Guinness World Records. Created by Michael Hawley and composed of gigantic photographs of Bhutan, the book is printed only on demand and it takes a roll of paper longer than a football field, more than a gallon of ink, and 24 hours of press time to produce a single copy. More »
  • Are we kidding our selves? Paid Member

    In the January 22nd, 2010 Times Literary Supplement, the philosopher Peter Hacker considers Galen Strawson's book Selves, which at 452 pages seems like a dense and weighty philosophical tome. In his review, Hacker traces the use of the word "self" from its early Middle English origins up to its (problematic, he says) use by John Locke in the famous Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690). After this, Hacker writes: "Self" rapidly sprouted definite and indefinite articles, and singular and plural forms. It was conceived to be the subject of experience, the possessor of experience and the core of the identity of the person. Indeed, it was supposedly the reference of the first-person pronoun "I". It was the self, thus conceived, that Hume famously failed to find: "When I enter most intimately into what I call myself, I always stumble on some particular perception or other.... I can never catch myself at any time without a perception, and can never observe anything but a perception." Hume's failure will be familiar to most Buddhists. More »
  • Tibetan writer called to trial Paid Member

    A forty-seven-year-old Tibetan writer, accused of "splittism," will stand trial next month in Xining, the provincial capital of Qinghai Province on the Tibetan Plateau. Splittism is a charge most Tibetan critics of Chinese rule face when arrested. The writer, Tragyal, who writes under the name Shogdung, was arrested following the publication of The Line Between Sky and Earth, which, according to the New York Times, is a "painstakingly written indictment of Chinese rule and a call for a 'peaceful revolution' against what Mr. Tragyal describes as Beijing’s heavy-handed governing style." More »
  • The Teacher-Student Relationship Paid Member

    I recently picked up Alexander Berzin's book Wise Teacher, Wise Student: Tibetan Approaches to a Healthy Relationship. The topic is a crucial one for Buddhism and one that has been much on my mind lately. I was familiar with Berzin's writing, and I knew this was one of his themes (he wrote a Tricycle article called "Practical Advice Regarding Spiritual Teachers" some time ago) but the new book seemed very familiar. More »