U.S. Congress re-introduces “Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act” amidst rise in tensions over the Dalai Lama’s travels

In the long shadow of the recent Trump-Xi meeting lingers a bill in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate that seeks to guarantee open access to Tibet for American citizens. Introduced just before the meeting early last month, the bill seeks greater access to the region for U.S. officials, journalists, and other citizens. The bill finds that, despite claims of openness by the Chinese government, heavy restrictions and frequent denial of travel documents has been observed, … [Read more...]

Settling into Online Meditation with Guideful

Mindfulness: Where We Are There is no escaping it. Mindfulness is everywhere these days. And while it hasn't hit the cultural saturation of meditation and yoga just yet, it is steadily on the rise (as shown in this Google NGRAM viewer, which goes through 2008):Mindfulness, while still lacking a single widely accepted definition, is a quality or skill being sought out more and more in today's fast-paced and heavily distracted world. The founder of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), … [Read more...]

A Survey on Secular Buddhism

This week I will be working on a feature article on Secular Buddhism for Buddhistdoor.net and could use your help. While I know a good number of Secular Buddhists, I'd like to hear from as many corners of the (online) Buddhist world as possible. I'm asking a few questions below about Secular Buddhism. You are welcome to answer whether you are a Secular Buddhist or not; and in fact I would love to hear from many non-"Secular" Buddhists.I use the scare-quotes here and there as I think the … [Read more...]

A Roundup of Critical Perspectives on Meditation

A guest post by Pierce SalgueroI am not a scholar of Buddhist meditation. My own research has only touched on meditation insofar as it was claimed to have therapeutic benefits in a handful of texts in premodern Asia. But, as a long-time on-again/off-again practitioner myself, I have been following the rise of meditation in American popular consciousness over the past 15 years with interest. More recently, I have also begun following the critiques of meditation that have circulated in … [Read more...]

Confronting Our Demons: Courage as the Essence of Buddhism

A guest-post by Tom Clements. There is no nobler vision than a willingness to voluntarily encounter the unknown. As human beings, we are designed to go beyond what’s comfortable in order to grow and to develop. This growth is measured in large part by how bravely we face suffering in the forms of conflict, disagreement, disappointment and grief.Our conscience tells us when we need to do something we feel is right and our nervous systems are attuned to know and tell us that what we are doing … [Read more...]

Images of Tibet’s Larung Gar demolition, April 2016 – April 2017

This month, photographer Jesse Rockwell posted images of Larung Gar, a vast monastic complex in eastern Tibet (in China’s Sichuan Province) housing as many as 40,000 Tibetan Buddhist monks and nuns (10,000 being a more likely number).Last July Larung Gar was in the news, as the Chinese government began their demolition of structures there, threatening up to half of the monastics in the area.Click on the image for a larger image.As the image notes, Larung Gar was the world's larg … [Read more...]

The Dalai Lama criticizes Trump’s “America First” policy

In the video posted by England's Channel 4 News yesterday (below), the Dalai Lama also discusses the need for a compassionate cultural revolution in China and the possibility of the end of his line of rebirths.Speaking of the Trump policy, he said: "I believe, with admiration, America as a leading nation of the free world. So, some new thinking: 'Only America', 'First America', right?  'America First' - I feel a little bit... disagreement. As a leading nation of the free world, America s … [Read more...]

Daniel Clarkson Fisher offers a “People’s Buddhism” – and B.R. Ambedkar revival

In an excellent article at Political Animal Magazine, Daniel Clarkson Fisher calls for a renewed investigation into the Buddhist liberation theology of the Indian reformer, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar. In the article, Fisher points out the rise in progressive social movements in recent years, from Black Lives Matter and Occupy Wall Street to the recent boosts to organizations like the ACLU and the Democratic Socialists of America.Given this, and the rising attention on the religious left, Fisher … [Read more...]