Politics

Buddhist teachings on civic engagement without attachment to outcome
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    Bombs and Baby Bears: Toys "R" Us Paid Member

    Sifting through the images of Oklahoma City for signs of continuity and renewal, the most poignant to emerge—the saddest and the most disturbing—is that of a city whose grief came to be symbolized by the sudden presence of teddy bears. Men, women, and children alike seemed to clutch these comfort toys to their chests as if, without the softness and the innocence the toys symbolized, their broken hearts might collapse into the graves of…Sifting through the images of Oklahoma City for signs of continuity and renewal, the most poignant to emerge—the saddest and the most disturbing—is that of a city whose grief came to be symbolized by the sudden presence of teddy bears. More »
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    In The News Paid Member

    Change Your MindChange Your Mind (CYM), Tricycle’s second annual day of meditation in Central Park, opened with a surprising and auspicious event: a white heron flying above the grassy slopes of Mineral Springs Hill. Only after it circled twice, on the morning of June 4, did Michele Laporte hit a large Japanese temple gong 108 times to formally open a day in which meditation teachers from various Buddhist traditions gave introductory talks and led the participants in silent sitting and Buddhist chanting. CYM is designed to introduce meditation practices in a friendly public setting, free of charge. Participants are encouraged to relax and enjoy the event in whichever way works best for them. More »
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    In The News Paid Member

    Power Plays in Korea For months, images became increasingly bizarre. Shaven-headed monks in yellow construction helmets. Opposing monks in gray robes and combat boots. Barricades, firebombs, burning furniture, bodyguards, bulldozers, praying mothers, a melee. At issue: leadership of Korea’s largest Buddhist sect, the Chogye order, with opposing factions attempting to gain control of an annual budget of $9.2 million, property valued in the millions, and the appointment of 1,700 monks to various duties, including head monks at 24 parish temples. An estimated 10 million followers (approximately one fourth of South Korea’s population) belong to the Chogye order, which emphasizes meditation and dates back to the early Koryo period (917-1392). More »
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    A Monk Goes To Washington Paid Member

    At the conclusion of his U.S. tour in September, Thich Nhat Hanh traveled to Washington, DC, where he spoke with members of Congress and held a three-day retreat. In the packed auditorium of the Library of Congress, he offered some valuable, if challenging, advice for the gathered politicos: Voting along party lines, he said, would not lead to good policy; politicians must instead listen to their inner wisdom in order to vote wisely. (Tell that to the House Whip.) He also stressed the importance of listening to views of others, treating them not as opponents but as people with differing opinions. More »
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    Life Or Death Paid Member

    The one thing I have never fully understood about many Buddhists is why they devote so much attention to the individual roots of greed, hatred, and ignorance, yet so little attention to the manifestations of these poisons in social institutions. Is it simply understood that the real work needs to be done on our individual failings, with social greed, hatred, and ignorance being someone else’s problem? Or is it that Buddhists, like so many people, have been deceived into believing that political issues are “none of their business”? Have they been trained to see problems and solutions solely in personal rather than political terms? More »
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    Letter to the Schools of the Buddha Paid Member

    On April 15, 1925, the French founder of the Theatre of the Absurd, Antonin Artaud (1896-1948) published his "Letter to the Schools of the Buddha" in the third issue of La Revolution Surrealiste. In the same issue were addresses to the Dalai Lama and the Pope and a "Letter to the Directors of Insane Assylums." The issue was subtitled "1925: End of the Christian Era."Read in the context of the artistic movement from which it came, Artaud's "Letter" is less an espousal of Buddhist ideas than an expression of dissatisfaction with the materialism of modern society. That dissatisfaction, in turn, led many artists and intellectuals to embrace Buddhism in the twenties and thirties, when gradually the actual teachings of Buddhism came more to the fore. More »