Politics

Buddhist teachings on civic engagement without attachment to outcome
  • Imperfect Refuge Paid Member

    Protest leader turned monk Suthep Thaugsuban prays at Pathum Wanaram temple in Bangkok, March 2014. Telegenic tanks rolled into Bangkok. Soldiers evacuated protest encampments. The coup, declared on May 22, 2014, put an end to the demonstrations that had embroiled Thailand for six months. During that period, Suthep Thaugsuban, the protest leader, became the country’s most visible and controversial figure. Then, suddenly and inexplicably, he disappeared.  In a ceremony devoid of pomp and circumstance, he quietly became a Buddhist monk.  More »
  • The Buddhists Go to Washington Paid Member

    Buddhist leaders gather in the White House on May 14 for a meeting with government officials. Last Thursday 125 prominent Buddhist figures from a range of traditions gathered in Washington, DC, for the first meeting between White House and State Department officials and Buddhist faith groups. Teachers from the Sinhalese, Cambodian, Burmese, Bangladeshi, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Tibetan, Vietnamese, and Thai Buddhist lineages attended, as well as scholars, activists, and leaders of convert groups who do not affiliate with any one particular Asian school.  More »
  • An Unholy Alliance Paid Member

    Thailand’s military government, which seized control of the country in a coup last May, has taken a special interest in Thai Buddhism and the moral authority its institutions command. After settling into power and naming itself the National Council for Peace and Order, the junta immediately set off on a paternalistic mission to rid Thailand of corruption, immorality, and anything deemed “un-Thai” (like underboobs, for example). Since Buddhism makes up such an integral part of the agreed upon definition of “Thai-ness,” junta leaders quickly set their sights on religious reform, installing a special panel to focus on the “protection of Buddhism” within their National Reform Council (NRC). More »
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    It's Not Me, It's You Paid Member

    The Happiness IndustryBy William DaviesVerso Books, May 2015320 pp.; $26.95 (Cloth)  It is no secret to readers of Tricycle that the current craze for all things mindful is controversial. It is especially controversial where representatives of corporate culture—like Google’s Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute (SIYLI)—lead the way. Corporate apologists claim that their programs are not about Buddhism; they’re about employee wellness. This position would be more plausible if so many programs and publications didn’t feature the iconography, language, and spokespersons of Buddhism, such as one finds, for example, at the Wisdom 2.0 conference held annually in Silicon Valley. More »
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    Abroad: Bodhgaya After the Bombing Paid Member

    Suspended over the new security entrance outside the Mahabodhi Temple were large blue banners, each with a motto in both English and Tibetan. Presumably the marketing campaign of one of many visiting Tibetan lamas, the slogans never failed to make me smile, even when the security line made me grumble. The first struck me as sound and straightforward (which is not to say easy) advice: “Do not emotionally disturb others.” The second, however, I found more elusive. Though I suspected that an element of clarity must have been lost in translation, I felt the phrasing might offer something meaningful, if only, like a riddle, I could figure it out. Puzzlingly, it cautioned passersby, “Do not forsake your standpoint.” More »
  • The Jig Is Up Paid Member

    Sri Lanka's newly elected president, Maithripala Sirisena More »