Politics

Buddhist teachings on civic engagement without attachment to outcome
  • The (Justifiably) Angry Marxist Paid Member

    In April 2006, the Japanese cultural anthropologist Noriyuki Ueda met the Dalai Lama for two days of conversation in Dharmasala, India. The discussion, recently translated from the Japanese text, covers such topics as the usefulness of anger, the role of compassion in society, and social and economic justice. "I believe that Buddhism has a big role to play in the world today," Ueda tells His Holiness, "and I am impatient because Buddhists don't seem to realize that." In this interview, Ueda offers us a rare peek into the the political and economic mind of one of the world's most famous spiritual leaders. More »
  • A Moral Politics Paid Member

    For months members of the House of Representatives wrangled over how much in cuts they would make to the nation’s food stamps program in the new Farm Bill they were drafting. On July 11th, by a vote of 216 to 208, the House finally passed a bill, and guess what? The bill does not include any funding for food stamps. Opposition to the bill was strong—all Democrats joined by twelve Republicans voted against it—but the majority prevailed, reflecting the agenda of Tea Party ideologues and conservative deficit hawks who dominate in the House. More »
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    Talking with the Other Side Paid Member

    In an age of polarized public discourse, there aren’t many voices out there that move beyond the war of words to take a deeper look at the issues that so sharply divide us. Krista Tippett is the rare exception. An author and broadcast journalist best known for her radio show “On Being” (formerly, “Speaking of Faith”), she launched the Civil Conversations Project in 2011 to restore nuance and context to the most complex issues of our day, from abortion rights to same-sex marriage. Her soft-spoken approach belies a toughness that becomes apparent in her unflinching commitment to hold a question before opposing sides, challenging each to develop a clear understanding of how the other thinks. The point, she often says, is not to force common ground but to learn to live together with differences. More »
  • Tricycle Community 23 comments

    Buddhist Nationalism in Burma Paid Member

    For those outside Burma, the broadcast images of the Theravada monks of the “Saffron Revolution” of 2007 are still fresh. Backed by the devout Buddhist population, these monks were seen chanting metta and the Lovingkindness Sutta on the streets of Rangoon, Mandalay, and Pakhoke-ku, calling for an improvement in public well-being in the face of the growing economic hardships afflicting Burma’s Buddhists. The barefooted monks’ brave protests against the rule of the country’s junta represented a fine example of engaged Buddhism, a version of Buddhist activism that resonates with the age-old Orientalist, decontextualized view of what Buddhists are like: lovable, smiley, hospitable people who lead their lives mindfully and have much to offer the non-Buddhist world in the ways of fostering peace. More »
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    The Fate of Mes Aynak Paid Member

    As the massive dust cloud finally settles, ears stop ringing, and tears dry, the gaping crater that was once an ancient Buddhist city slowly comes into view. Explosives have turned the 400,000-square-meter site into a football field–sized pit, the outer edges riddled with the deep-grooved tracks of bulldozers and SUVs. More »
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    Faith in Freedom Paid Member

    That meditation is a moral practice, not just a psychic one, was not immediately clear to me when I began to sit. I understood intellectually, but not intuitively, that Buddhist psychology defines an intimate relationship between our treatment of others and the unfolding of mindfulness. Only recently on a retreat did I begin actually to experience the relationship between metta (lovingkindness) and the varied states of meditative concentration, to experience the impact of one’s wishes for others on the actual meditative states of mind. Then I began to grasp that the act of meditation, far from being a purely psychic exercise, actually draws moral practice and unfolding insight into a continuum. More »