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    Newly comment-able: Buddhism butts heads with the status quo Paid Member

    When this blog started it received as its first visitors a rampaging horde of spambots -- this led to the restricted comment policy (only people with WordPress accounts could post) which led to the dearth of comments here, which bothered some people. Well, the gate is now lifted. Welcome, human commentors! Picture the armies of spambots doomed to troll the web eternally, looking for open doors. Are there 10 spambots for every human on the web? More? More »
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    Two Takes on Thich Nhat Hanh Paid Member

    The current issues of two Buddhist publications contain articles about the eminent Vietnamese Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh. The Shambhala Sun, founded by the pioneering Tibetan teacher Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche (his son and heir, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, is now the publication's president), devotes sixteen pages to Nhat Hanh and features his photo on the cover. Inquiring Mind, “a journal of the vipassana community,” which this year celebrated its 20th anniversary, has an intriguing piece by Arnie Kotler, once Nhat Hanh’s editor, publisher, disciple, and assistant, that discusses the painful dissolution of their long and close relationship. More »
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    Buddhists Blown Up in Thailand and a Blow-up Buddha in New York Paid Member

    The title of this post is very dark, but that's just because this situation in Thailand could use more attention. Here are some brief notes from around the infobahn: The powers that be in Gujarat have decided that Buddhism and Jainism are not merely branches of Hinduism. This ruling happened because of the recent and continuing conversions of dalits. The nationalist Hindu government wanted to say that the conversions weren't actually conversions. But maybe the law saying that Buddhism didn't exist would paradoxically protect Buddhists from persecution? Funny how India keeps trying to swallow up its problem child. “If Buddhists are treated as part of Hinduism, then all its followers in China, Japan and much of South-East Asia become Hindus,” said Girish Patel, a noted social activist. More »
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    The formation of an independent council of elders Paid Member

    By Historic speech Today I received news of something I have been wishing would happen for a long time: an independent council of intelligent, well-meaning elders who can advice on how to improve this world. Such a group has just been formed, and you can watch or read about it on http://www.theelders.org/?displaymode=normal The Elders. I feel this endeavor is admirable and deserves our support. Welcome Despite all the ghastliness that is around, human beings are made for goodness. The ones who ought to be held in high regard are not the ones who are militarily powerful, nor even economically prosperous. More »
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    Weekend Buddhists Paid Member

    Templestay Korea, an organization that first invited visitors to experience Korean Buddhist temple life during the 2002 World Cup Tournament, was hosting over 50,000 would-be Buddhists by 2005, according to the New York Times. The brainchild of Korea’s largest Buddhist order—the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism—the program invites international guests to live the life of a monk for several days. Offerings vary to suit visitors’ tastes, and can include brief walking meditation retreats, sitting meditation, and calligraphy. More »
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    West Eats Meat Paid Member

    What is undoubtedly one of the premiere websites on Buddhism and vegetarianism launched this week. Shabkar.org is named after the Tibetan yogi Shabkar Tsodruk Rangdrol (1781-1851), who adopted vegetarianism far before it was an advisable practice in high-altitude, low-crop Tibet. His teachings on the subject are collected in Food of Bodhisattvas: Buddhist Teachings on Abstaining from Meat from Shambhala Publications. One of the first questions Western Buddhists seem to get (upon "outing") is "are you a vegetarian?", often accompanied by a smirk of varying degrees of smugness. Whatever the stereotype is here in the West, vegetarianism is by no means the norm in the Asian Buddhist world--no Buddhist lay population has ever been primarily vegetarian, and the monastic orders of a number of countries do indeed eat meat. More »