Interview

  • Gender Revisited: Are We There Yet? Paid Member

    When Ven. Karma Lekshe Tsomo arrived in Dharamsala in the 60s to study Tibetan, she needed the Dalai Lama to give his blessing before she could study with the monks at the Institute of Buddhist Dialectics. Since then, she’s helped Tibetan nuns learn to read, supported other  Buddhist women around the world, and watched as thousands of nuns in Asian countries have fully ordained.  Donna Lynn Brown spoke with Ven. Lekshe about the role of women in Buddhism at the American Academy of Religion conference in Atlanta in November 2015.  You were one of the earliest Western women to study in a Tibetan monastery. How did that come about? More »
  • A Monk in Mormon Utah Paid Member

    From Sri Lanka to Tanzania, South Africa to Utah: religion professor Wijitha Bandara’s biography is a bona fide Buddhist diaspora. More »
  • The Power of Altruism to Change the World Paid Member

    The French-born Tibetan Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard gave up molecular genetics almost 50 years ago to dedicate himself fully to Buddhist practice. Dubbed "the happiest man in the world," he's since authored several books from Shechen Monastery in Nepal, the most recent being Altruism: The Power of Compassion to Change Yourself and the World, published by Little, Brown and Company in June.   In this wide-ranging, 30-minute interview filmed during Ricard's most recent visit to New York, contributing editor Joan Duncan Oliver speaks to Ricard about some of the most pressing issues currently facing humanity—climate change, species extinction, and inequality—and how altruism can solve them. —Eds. More »
  • The Sangha without Thich Nhat Hanh Paid Member

    Thich Nhat Hanh leads students in a walking meditation at Blue Cliff Monastery in Pine Bush, NY. On November 11, 2014, the international Buddhist community was dealt a sudden blow when the Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh, a beloved teacher and prolific author, suffered a brain hemorrhage that rendered him unable to speak or walk. Since then, Thich Nhat Hanh (affectionately known by his students as “Thay”) has shown steady if small signs of recovery: swallowing solid food and more recently, uttering his first words. He is currently receiving treatment in San Francisco at the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center.  More »
  • Naropa’s Five-Acre Conundrum Paid Member

    Activists delivered a petition to Naropa University last week demanding the college withdraw its permit application to remove about 100 prairie dogs from its campus by means of “lethal control.” The online petition, organized by the Colorado organization WildLands Defense, has now garnered a total of almost 170,000 signatures. The liberal arts college, founded by the late Tibetan lama Chögyam Trungpa in 1974, has held its ground, even as the pesky critters continue to burrow underfoot. To get Naropa’s side on the matter, I call Bill Rigler in the office of public relations at Naropa. The folks who’ve started the petition, he says, “don’t even live in Boulder—they live a hundred miles away.” He mentions this at least twice. More »
  • Dalai Lama Says If Successor Is Female, She Must Be Very Attractive Paid Member

    In a recent interview with the BBC, the 14th Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people, expresses some controversial ideas about female leadership and the gender's innate inclination toward compassion. (Jezebel was right on it right away.) At around the 4:50 mark in the video (below), when journalist Clive Myrie asks whether the Dalai Lama's 15th reincarnation could be a woman, he responds with an enthusiastic "Yes!" explaining that females "biologically [have] more potential to show affection . . . and compassion." More »