Theravada

  • Amid turmoil, Pakistan reaches out to Buddhist tourists Paid Member

    The Guardian's Riazat Butt calls it a case of fiddling while Rome burns: Pakistan reaches out to Buddhists amid allegations that its intelligence service is actively aiding the Taliban while putatively aiding US/Coalition forces in Afghanistan. (The war is of course taking place on Pakistani soil as well, the border region being so nebulous and porous.) UPDATE: A plane crashed in Pakistan today, killing 152 people.) More »
  • Watch: Bhikkhu Bodhi on Buddhism for the Post-Modern Mind Paid Member

    "I've come to an understanding that the dharma, to be really living, vitally important, and to be a dharma that is alive and blows open the mind, has to be applied against the background of the period of history we're living in and directed not only to the great universal problems that all humans face but also to the special over-arching problems of this historical period in which we are living." -Bhikkhu Bodhi More »
  • Khmer Rouge prison warden found guilty of war crimes Paid Member

    The eight-month trial of former Khmer Rouge prison warden Kaing Guek Eav came to a close today in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Extraodinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, a UN-backed tribunal, sentenced Kaing Guek Eav, commonly known as Duch, to 19 years in prison for crimes against humanity and war crimes for overseeing the torture and killing of more than 14,000 prisoners at the S-21 prison between 1975 and 1979. During the trial, Duch's testimonies wavered from admissions of guilt to claims that he was a small part of a greater mechanism. From a New York Times report: More »
  • Freedom and Consciousness Paid Member

    The gift bequeathed to us by the Buddha is the possibility of seeing how consciousness can become liberated from desire, allowing it to cognize objects more intimately without the intermediary epiphenomenon of a subject. When desire is replaced by equanimity, and awareness of all phenomena thus unfolds without reference to self, we gain the freedom to move along with change rather than setting ourselves against it. -Andrew Olendzki, "Self as Verb" (Summer 2005) Read the complete article here. Sign up to receive Tricycle's Daily Dharma emails here. More »
  • Language Classes for Peace Paid Member

    Express India reports that Buddhist monks in Sri Lanka will begin taking Tamil language classes. The classes are part of an effort to "create greater harmony and heal the decades-old animosity between the majority Sinhalas and minority Hindu communities," according to the report. The Sinhalese are traditionally Buddhist. Tamil-speaking Hindus represent the largest ethnic minority in Sri Lanka. In 1970, Tamils formed a movement seeking an autonomous Tamil state in response to perceived discrimination by the Sinhalese majority. The effort caused a political rift in Sri Lanka that eventually led to a violent thirty-year civil war that has devastated the country. More »
  • Stephen Batchelor in Insight Journal: You don't have to believe in rebirth to be a Buddhist Paid Member

    Not many things in life are free, but there are exceptions. One of them is Insight Journal, the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies publication edited by the center's co-director Andrew Olendzki. You can either order the hard copy or, if you're eco-conscious, download it. Of course, it's always a great help to offer dana—a donation—when you do. The organization supports itself through its paid courses and the generosity of its members and friends. This issue features a piece by Stephen Batchelor on his doubts about (or nowadays, his outright rejection of) rebirth—and he finds what he feels is support in Pali Canon. Years ago we featured a debate between Stephen and Bob Thurman on the topic—Stephen played skeptic, of course, and Bob the true believer. But nowadays Stephen isn't particularly interested in arguing the point and is more likely to reflect on how he came to his beliefs and his ever-evolving understanding of the Buddha's teachings. Here's an interesting excerpt from the Insight article: I am not in any way suggesting that the Buddha rejected the idea of rebirth, or did not believe in it..there is just too much in the Canon to say the Buddha was even agnostic about this. But there is another strand of text that seems to not quite fit that very well. I think the Pali Canon actually has multiple voices within it, not a single, monolithic voice. You get contradictory perspectives introduced all the time, which is part of the very richness of that literature. In the Kālāma Sutta the Buddha says, don’t just accept what I say because I am your teacher, because the tradition says it, or because it seems to be reasonable. At the end of that text, he speaks about the four solaces, or rewards, that come from the practice of the Dhamma. One solace says, if there is indeed another life, if there is, indeed, a law of karmic cause and effect, then, after death, you will be reborn in a happy realm and benefit from the results of your present karma. The second solace says, if there is no future life, if there is no law of karma, then, too, by practicing the Dhamma you will live happy and content, here and now, in this world. That is very striking: the Buddha seems to be saying what really matters is not what may or may not follow after death, but the quality of your experience, here and now in this very life. Admittedly, this passage occurs once, whereas rebirth and karma occur everywhere. Nonetheless, it looks oddly out of place. For that very reason, it is probably original: It would have been in no orthodox tradition’s interest to have added it later. Even more to the point is “the declared and the undeclared” in the Mālunkyovāda Sutta, Majjhima 63: More »