Random Notes

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    Dukkha, Kung Fu Paid Member

    The Wall Street Journal, which recently said 'No, thanks' to Rupert Murdoch, pontificated today on what satisfies us. We constantly hanker after fancier cars and fatter paychecks—and, initially, such things boost our happiness. But the glow of satisfaction quickly fades and soon we're yearning for something else. More »
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    The Inevitable Buddhist Connection to the Virginia Tech Tragedy Paid Member

    Check out the English version of pravda.ru for a Buddhist tie-in to the Virginia Tech killer. (They have an interesting take on the Imus situation too. If you're at all interested in how this Pravda connects with the well-known Soviet publication, see here. I'm guessing the Soviet one was a little less lewd, though the comments about the U.S. and Europe in the contemporary version wouldn't be out of place in the Brezhnev era. . . Brezhnev had incredibly intimidating eyebrows.) More »
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    "Zen Buddhism, very hard to understand, thank you." Paid Member

    The title of this post is (allegedly) the complete text of a speech made by D.T. Suzuki at U.C.L.A. back in the day. The story of this and other Buddhist ha-ha's here. (I realize ol' D.T. Suzuki is way way way out of fashion in contemporary Buddhist thinking, and is so for a lot of reasons, but once upon a time he was one of my -- and a lot of other people's -- first glimpses into something new. And people are still being introduced to Zen Buddhism -- D.T.'s own special blend of it, that is -- through his work. Someone is learning about Buddhism in one of his books right now! . . . Probably. Like, did anyone else try and read those Bernard Faure books, in school or out? Speaking of very hard to understand. But they went well with a cigarette and a bottomless cup of coffee. More »
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    All Aboard for Shigatse Paid Member

    China's at it again, extending its railroad network from Lhasa to Shigatse, seat of Tashi Lhunpo Monastery, traditional seat of the Panchen Lama (a political prisoner of the Chinese government since 1995.) The railroad China built to Lhasa has a lot of superlatives attached to it, longest, tallest, coldest, whatever. Anyway, it's a great achievement. Why are totalitarian states so good at railroads? The more repressive the government, the more they like to play with trains. (So apparently Mussolini didn't make the trains run on time. But he still talked about trains.) I suppose that should make Americans feel better about Amtrak. More »
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    BuddhaTrain Paid Member

    Gee, I wish I could ride this train. But it doesn't seem to be in the cards right now. In the meantime I'm left wondering what's happened to Big Red Buddha. Does anyone know? Like a lot of Republican candidates, BRB doesn't seem to have survived the November elections. I haven't seen Miso on any soymilk cartons either. And I've been looking. More »
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    Railway brings "huge surge" of visitors to Tibet Paid Member

    The People's Daily Online reports that the rail link to Lhasa allowed many more Buddhist pilgrims to attend the December 27th Sera Bengqin Festival at Sera Monastery than in previous years. As the People's Daily put it, "Tibet ended its history without a railway in July 2006," but the railroad has brought more concern than jubilation for Tibetans, who understandably would rather diminish than strengthen their ties with "mainland" China. When the railway first opened I read about the Tibetan plateau's fragile ecosystem, home to several unique species, and rather like an island in biological terms. More »