• Buddha Buzz: Dating, Drugs, and Death Paid Member

    First off, Happy Lunar New Year! Welcome to the year of the dragon. As befits such a year celebrating a creature who is often associated with longevity, some Buddhist monks in Japan have a similar concern in mind: from the Japan Times, "Matchmaking Service gives Buddhist monks a boost in dating market." From the article: In Japan, it is typical for relatives of monks—especially head monks—to inherit caretaker duties of their temples. But because of a lack of successors, the monks have become desperate to find wives in order to preserve this tradition and save their temples from being closed or integrated. More »
  • Buddha Buzz: Religious Freedom, Swastikas, and the Giving High Paid Member

    We're starting off this week's Buddha Buzz with a pretty clear example of religious intolerance in Hudson, Wisconsin. Don Chering, a Buddhist, put up an American flag and a string of Tibetan prayer flags on the day that his son left for U.S. Army basic training. The flags stretch across the front of his house and over his garage door. Soon, his landlady contacted him with an order from the Homeowners Association in charge of the housing complex where Chering lives to remove the flags (it's unclear as of yet if they are requesting that the American flag be removed as well).  More »
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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 »
  • Tibetan monks found chanting text by Oxford philosopher Paid Member

    Last week, I blogged about Derek Parfit, an Oxford philosopher featured in a recent issue of The New Yorker. In her article on Parfit, "How to Be Good," Larissa MacFarquhar writes about the apparent affinity between Parfit's view and the Buddhist view of the self. To demonstrate this point MacFarquhar includes a parenthetical anecdote about Tibetan monks chanting lines from Parfit's book, Reasons and Persons. This struck me as fairly remarkable, so I wrote to The New Yorker to try to get the backstory. MacFarquhar put me in touch with Harvard professor of ethics and public health, Dan Wikler, who originally provided her with the story. Quoted below is part of an email that I received from Wikler. More »
  • Mahaparinibbana Sutta: Four Places of Pilgrimage Paid Member

    "There are four places, Ananda, that a pious person should visit and look upon with feelings of reverence. What are the four?"'Here the Tathagata was born!' [Lumbini] This, Ananda, is a place that a pious person should visit and look upon with feelings of reverence."'Here the Tathagata became fully enlightened in unsurpassed, supreme Enlightenment!' [Bodhgaya] This, Ananda, is a place that a pious person should visit and look upon with feelings of reverence."'Here the Tathagata set rolling the unexcelled Wheel of the Dhamma!' [Sarnath] This, Ananda, is a place that a pious person should visit and look upon with feelings of reverence. More »