• Buddha Buzz: Excessive Consumerism, the Templeton Prize, and Everything In Between Paid Member

    Being the writer of Buddha Buzz blog posts certainly has its advantages. For one, I get to spend my time reading and writing about subjects that are important to me. But the main advantage by far is that during the time I spend scouring the Internet each week for Buddhist-related news, I'm often (or so I like to think) one of the first people to be alerted when something really, really awesome—and Buddhist—goes on sale. Like this $28.5 million yacht. More »
  • Buddha Buzz: Rude Buddhas and Undertaker Bodhisattvas Paid Member

    First off, some follow-up on past Buddha Buzz items: Remember the three Tibetan hunger strikers in New York? They were paid a visit by "Tibet's best friend" (the words of Tsewang Rigzin, president of the NYC Tibetan Youth Congress, not mine), actor Richard Gere last week. And this Tuesday, U.N. Assistant Secretary General for Human Rights, Ivan Simonovic, invited Rigzin to his offices, where the two discussed the hunger strikers' requests, the Huffington Post reports. Looks like they are making some progress! More »
  • Buddha Buzz: Big Business Buddhism Paid Member

    China has finally broken its silence about the recent Tibetan immolations, releasing several official statements. But considering that these statements are by and large depressing—one made by a Communist Party secretary in the Miami Herald was that "public complaints about cultural repression do not exist. On the contrary, Tibetan culture is flourishing"—it seems like a better idea to ignore all of these "official" statements and instead enjoy this interesting interview with Ran Yunfei on the New York Review of Books blog. Yunfei is a Chinese intellectual and popular Tweeter who was released from house arrest last month after running afoul of the Chinese government. More »
  • Buddha Buzz: Tibet, Kidneys, and a Temple Fire Paid Member

    Losar Tashi Delek! With Losar, the Tibetan New Year, celebrated this past Wednesday there is no better time to bring up a topic that has been sadly neglected on the Tricycle blog: Tibetan self-immolations. In the past year over twenty Tibetans have set themselves on fire to protest Chinese government occupation and all that comes with it—"patriotic re-education," unmerited arrests, attacks on monasteries and nunneries, a ban on photos of the Dalai Lama...the sad list of human rights violations in Tibet is a long one. Phayul, a pro-Tibetan independence news outlet based in Delhi, reported on Wednesday that despite a general Tibetan sentiment to boycott Losar celebrations in tribute to the self-immolators, Chinese authorities in Tibet "issued orders requiring Tibetan officials and the general public to prepare song and dance routines for Losar." Nothing like forced merriment, huh? More »
  • Tricycle Talks: Interview with Digital Dharma Director Dafna Yachin Paid Member

    Today's Tricycle Talk is with Dafna Yachin, the producer, writer, and director of Digital Dharma, a documentary chronicling the Tibetan cultural preservation efforts of E. Gene Smith. Smith was no James Bond or Jason Bourne, but his mission was just as epic: the recovery, preservation, and digitization of 20,000 Tibetan Buddhist and Bonpo texts. Battling Chinese bureaucracy and personal health issues along the way, Smith managed in 2008 to deliver hard and flash drives containing 12,000 precious texts to monasteries all over Nepal and India. Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche and E. Gene Smith, with a hard drive containing 12,000 texts. More »
  • Buddha Buzz: E-blessings, Art, and Ceasing to Be Human Paid Member

    Buddhism and modernity have sat down together at the table once more. Last Friday, the China Daily published the article "Buddhist temple offers e-blessing service," which covered one innovative method of controlling crowds, reducing the burning of incense, and making some money: sending blessings via text. Guiyuan Temple in Wuhan, China, in cooperation with China Mobile, is charging people 3 to 10 yuan (normal text messages, according to the article, cost 0.15 yuan) to send a blessing text, which includes the phone number of the person for whom the blessing is meant for. While China Mobile forwards the text to the appropriate person, the blessing appears on an LED board outside the temple, where monks are chanting prayers for all the texters and textees. More »