July Buddhist Political Affiliations and the 2016 US Presidential Race (Reader Poll)

I am currently in China, living in a Chan Buddhist monastery, just wrapping up a long silent retreat. I hear there have been some interesting things happening in the US political realm. Do tell. With all of my work here I have not had an opportunity to crunch the numbers from last month's (June/July) reader survey, but those results along with the results of this month's poll will be posted in early August.In the meantime, please fill out this month's survey and, as always, please help … [Read more...]

Tibetan Buddhist nuns make history with Geshema Degrees (Doctorates in Buddhist Philosophy)

From the Tibetan Nuns Project: Seattle, WA: Twenty Tibetan Buddhist nuns have just made history, becoming the first Tibetan women to successfully pass all the exams for the Geshema degree, equivalent to a Doctorate in Buddhist philosophy. Exam results were announced by the Department of Religion and Culture of the Central Tibetan Administration. All 20 candidates for the degree passed.Their success fulfills a longstanding wish of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and marks a new chapter in the … [Read more...]

“Health” in the Buddhism and Science Dialogue

Guest post by Kin Cheung In the current dialogue between Buddhist traditions and the sciences—an engagement dominated by Tibetan and Zen Buddhists on one side and psychologists and neuroscientists on the other—the subject of health is featured prominently. However, despite the shared term, participants aren’t actually talking about the same thing.Early proponents of the Buddhism-science dialogue, like Paul Ekman, Richard Davidson, Matthieu Ricard, and Alan Wallace, have focused on the theme … [Read more...]

Buddhist Political Affiliations and the 2016 US Presidential Race (Reader Poll)

It's time once again for another reader survey on US presidential politics. This one is up a bit later than previous months so will stay up until July 5th. Check back shortly after that for results.As always, thanks for filling in the survey and please spread the word via email/facebook/twitter/etc so that as many people see and take the survey as possible. Loading...Curious about the perils of polling in general? Read excerpts from a discussion of problems and promises from last … [Read more...]

Luke Wilson gives Jimmy Fallon the Shambhala pocket Chögyam Trungpa

Not exactly exuding praise, Wilson tells a story of stumbling across a little self-help shop in Canada, finding the book and ultimately being glad to get it off his hands: "I have had to read it a couple times... when I ran out of Sports Illustrated and stuff like that."Fallon offers us part of the entry, "Smile at Fear" (which, in full, is): When you are frightened by something, you have to relate with fear, explore why you are frightened, and develop some sense of conviction. You can … [Read more...]

3 shirts, 4 pairs of pants, 150 total belongings: inspired by Zen philosophy

Years ago, a Buddhist teacher of mine told me that "you don't own stuff. The stuff owns you."Every thing you have costs you an attention tax, a worry tax, eventually a loss tax, as you waste precious energy on the objects around you that could be used in activities and in caring for people and the world.As I wrote about my recent time in the desert, there is a kind of simplicity developed there that makes clear the great cost of having so much stuff. That cost is … [Read more...]

Returning, or “5 meditations on the desert”

A little over a week ago, I packed my bags, spent a night in Missoula, MT, picked up 3 (and then 4) fellow travelers, and headed into the wilds of Utah where we met two more friends. I'm not a seasoned backpacker or hiker, having spent usually only a day or two in the "back country" and six days last year hiking 80+ miles of the Wind River National Wilderness Area with two good friends who are much more knowledgeable than I probably ever will be.However, I am a long-time meditator (over 15 … [Read more...]

Unplugging, or “practicing mindfulness in the desert”

I'm off tomorrow for a week off the grid. Or, more truthfully, about 3.5 days of driving and camping with 3.5 days trekking through some of the remoter gullies and gulches of southern Utah with three good friends and three soon-to-be good friends.Mindfulness will be on the menu, though it is a hard thing to avoid when your life is on your back, the sun is hot overhead, and one missed step could mean a sprained ankle (or worse) and hours, if not days, of pain. Once you get the basic … [Read more...]


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