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    Buddha Buzz: An Inglorious Columbus and a Royal Buddhist Wedding Paid Member

    In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue. Then he landed in the Bahamas and proceeded to enslave and massacre the local people. Despite Columbus' well-documented reign of cruelty and violence, Columbus Day is still celebrated as a federal holiday in most parts of the United States (kudos to such places as South Dakota, which celebrates Native American Day instead, and Santa Cruz, California, which celebrates Indigenous People's Day). As we know, Columbus was not the first European explorer to reach the Americas—that distinction belongs to Leif Ericson. But did you know that there's a theory—first proposed by French sinologist M. De Guignes in 1761—that argues that Chinese Buddhist monks may have been the first travelers from the Old World to the New, reaching Mexico in A.D. 499? More »
  • Star Wars, Virtual Capitalism, and Western Buddhism Paid Member

    What is Western Buddhism and why is it so damn popular—and important?  Pop culture critical theorist Slavoj Žižek offers some possible answers in his article "Revenge of Global Finance" in In These Times.  The article was published in 2005, but the bank failures of '08 and the following recession have imbued the insights presented in the article with a palpable potency.  Filtering both the Star Wars and global capitalist universes through Buddhist thought, Žižek explores how Western Buddhism might serve as the perfect ideological supplement to our current, distinctly Western predicament—for better or worse. More »
  • Larry Rosenberg's Tricycle Retreat: Discouraged People Paid Member

    A participant in Larry Rosenberg's Tricycle Retreat comments: You make so many things that we hear about move from the abstract to "real" in the sense that now I can truly understand and can use that wisdom in my life. Wouldn't it be wonderful if you could really talk to the discouraged people, not just in the oil spill area but all over this country where negative change is endemic. Now what I imagine you saying is, can't you talk to the discouraged people you meet this way?  Yes, I could. And Larry replies: Yes, oil spill is one example of a general challenge. Start by being fully aware of what the painful event brings up; not for, not against; clear sustained attention. Of course this will probably be a series of challenges over time. More »
  • Labor Day Special: The disease of capitalism? Paid Member

    In an August 26 post, I noted 5 recent comments from Thich Nhat Hanh on the occasion of his visit to the UK. One of the quotes refers to "the disease of capitalism" (Thay's words), and I thought perhaps some would object. No one did. One, did, however, find that phrase particularly felicitous. Seedoubleyou writes: Thay’s messages are fantastic, particularly in relation to the poison of capitalism. I remain hopeful that his words stretch beyond Buddhist circles and to the ears that need to hear. In the Guardian today, the question is posed: More »