China

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    Buddha Buzz: Public Perception: Buddhists, Rapists, and the Karmapa Charged Paid Member

    My week had an…interesting start. Why, you ask? Because of this article: “Atheists About As Trustworthy As Rapists, To The Faithful.” Excuse me, what? From the article: There are seven billion people in the world. Two billion of them are Christians. Another 1.5 billion follow Islam. Hundreds of millions follow Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism and a number of other organized religions. In America alone, 75% of the population identifies as Christian, while only 4% of people identify as Atheists—or having no belief in deities. More »
  • Buddha Buzz: Honesty, Poetry, and Exile Paid Member

    Barbara O'Brien's post on Tuesday, "Deep Honesty," made me think about all of honesty's different forms: honesty as a precept, honesty as a worldview, honesty as a tool for empowerment...and its less welcome forms too, like honesty as an unwelcome guest knocking on your door in the middle of the night when you're not quite ready to receive it. On all of these O'Brien writes, Speaking truth comes from a practice of truthfulness, or deep honesty. One of the things I first appreciated about Zen practice is that it requires self-honesty. Whatever shtick has gotten you through life is revealed to be a hindrance instead of a crutch, and the myriad little lies and rationalizations we tell ourselves about ourselves fall away. (And they're still falling away.) More »
  • The Platform Sutra of Hui-neng Paid Member

    This edition of The Platform Sutra is another translation and close reading by Bill Porter, b.k.a. Red Pine. Clark Strand turned me onto his Heart Sutra, which I wrote about here. The Platform Sutra does not purport to be spoken by the Buddha, but rather is spoken by a buddha, Hui-neng, known as the Sixth patriarch of Zen or Chan Buddhism (and also called Huineng and in Japanese, Yeno or Eno.) The basic narrative that begins it is very well known, and runs something like this: The 5th Patriarch Hung-jen (or Hongren in a slightly newer anglicization) is growing old and asks his disciples to compose poems to demonstrate their understanding. Shen-hsiu, his best student, writes The body is a bodhi treeThe mind is like a standing mirroralways try to keep it cleandon't let it gather dust. More »
  • China denies lockdown on Tibetan Monastery following monk's self-immolation Paid Member

    Despite reports from Tibetan exiles that say the Kirti Monastery in Sichuan province of China has been surrounded by security forces, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said relations between monks at the monastery and police were "harmonious." According to the reports by Tibetan exiles and campaigners the Chinese security forces arrived after a 21-year old monk named Phuntsog burned himself to death last month. Via BBC news: More »
  • Robert Thurman on the Dalai Lama's Retirement: An Interview Paid Member

    Robert Thurman is the Jey Tsong Khapa Professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies in the Department of Religion at Columbia University, and co-founder and President of Tibet House US. A personal friend of the Dalai Lama for over 40 years, his latest book is Why the Dalai Lama Matters: His Act of Truth as the Solution for China, Tibet and the World. Recently we were able to chat about the Dalai Lama's retirement, the future of Tibet, his relationship with HHDL, and the importance of putting practice into action. This interview was conducted over email, as Thurman is currently "inbetween things" while traveling in Bhutan. He will be teaching at InsightLA on April 30. —Sam Mowe More »
  • Sangye Gyatso and China's Long Memory Paid Member

    A week ago, Professor Robert Barnett wrote for the New York Review of Books, explaining some history to those curious why China is so sensitive to news of the 14th Dalai Lama's planned retirement—news that recently upset many Tibetans. He traces the cause back to the Fifth Dalai Lama, the first to hold temporal power, bestowed, as is well known, by the Mongol Khan (who, I think, was a follower of the Sakya school, not the Gelugs.) In the Fifth Dalai Lama's declining years, the new and ambitious Qing Dynasty claimed sovereignty over Tibet (and many other areas thousands of miles from their capital of Shenyang and later Beijing.) More »