Review

  • Sex, Sin, and Zen Paid Member

    Buddhist blogs are abuzz with reviews of Sex, Sin, and Zen: A Buddhist Exploration of Sex from Celibacy to Polyamory and Everything in Between, a new book by Brad Warner---author, Soto Zen priest, blogger, and punk rock bass guitarist. You'll have to stay tuned to the Winter 2010 issue of Tricycle for our thoughts on the book, but for now here's what's being said in the blogosphere about Warner's latest effort, which touches on everything from porn to prostitution to the Bodhisattva vow: Though she says that the tone of the book can be all over the place and takes issue with his critiques of Wikipedia and guided meditation, blogger NellaLou found value in Warner's personal stories. She writes: His personal anecdotes are somewhat engaging and he does have a certain warmth and way of expressing acceptance of even those things he is uncomfortable with or even tacitly disapproves of. So there’s not a lot of real pretentiousness or distancing from the reader. I like that he’s honest and seems to just write like himself and not try to be somebody else or particularly care who is impressed with him (except maybe the babes sometimes). So that’s kind of comfortable to read. It feels like a conversation one would have with their little brother sometimes. When he gets into the Dharma and it’s relationship to social aspects these are quite good. That would be my favorite parts of the book. His psychological and sociological explanations are not abstract and come across as pretty well grounded. I would like to see him explore those kinds of themes a little more in the future. And I’m glad he made the effort to try to address some very complex issues. The Dharma parts are quite engaging and for the most part fairly accurate. And a little more mature than the sex parts. Verdict Read it for the Dharma but not so much for specific sex advice. More »
  • Who hijacked Himalayan art? Or any art, for that matter? Paid Member

    Himalayan Art Resources (HAR) is the most comprehensive collection of Himalayan art available, much of it Buddhist. For years now, Jeff Watt, HAR's director, has been exhorting us to understand and critique Himalayan art on its own merit—much as we might consider, say, a Fra Angelico—and rescue it from the theory-laden university art history departments. For support, Jeff refers us to to an article in yesterday's New York Times, in which Laurence Kantner, an expert in early Italian painting and former curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, has this to say: More »
  • BOOKS: Hard Travel to Sacred Places Paid Member

    A good travel book makes you feel like you’re there. But, of course, in reality you’re not there. The experiences described belong to the writer, and if you were to travel to the places mentioned your experiences would be unique. This might be especially important to keep in mind when reading spiritual travel books, when the journey is a pilgrimage. Just as we have not physically been to the place that we are reading about, we should be wary to mistake the spiritual insights (or longings) of an author for our own. Travel books are great, but they can’t replace traveling. More »
  • Blogwatch: Musings Paid Member

    I recommend checking out Musings by author, teacher, translator—and blogger—Ken McLeod.  An excellent teacher, McLeod does just this in the vast majority of his blog: He teaches.  Through simple practice tips and personal reflections, McLeod strikes an impressive balance between simplicity and depth which makes his blogs both instantly accessible as well as very useful.  It is very practice-oriented and can serve as a great online resource for any regular meditator with an internet connection. More »
  • Cool Tibetan tattoos, the challenges of displaying religious art, and a nice life Paid Member

    Jeff Watt over at Jeff's Travels points us to Yoni Zilber's Tibetan-themed tattoos. It's one way to view Tibetan art, and another is to visit the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery of Art in the nation's capital ("In the Realm of the Buddha," through July 18). I've often talked to Jeff about the role of art in Buddhism and he has often complained that stripped of its connection to practice, religious objects are rendered pretty meaningless. More »