A Survey on Mindfulness Coaching

With the ever-increasing awareness of mindfulness as a worthwhile practice and skill for everyone, new avenues are being sought to teach and guide new participants. For the last year, I have been teaching small groups the basics of mindfulness using mindfulness of breathing, walking meditations, and loving-kindness, along with other practices. I have also stressed the importance of community, ethics, and philosophy (understanding the nature of oneself and the world) in these classes while doing … [Read more...]

Bhikkhu Bodhi on Mindfulness in the Buddha’s Words

Mindfulness in the Western world is perhaps best known in the terms of the words of Jon Kabat-Zinn as: “Paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgmentally.” Bodhipaksa of Wildmind presents a helpful breakdown of each part of this sentence after offering his own definition of "the gentle effort to be continuously present with experience." Culadasa (John Yates, PhD), author of The Mind Illuminated, describes mindfulness in terms of "optimizing the inter … [Read more...]

Buddhist Monastic Life in China (Photos)

In 2009 I traveled to China to experience Chinese Buddhist monastic life and learn about the practice, philosophy, and history unique to Chan Buddhism. That trip was organized mostly for graduate students in Buddhism or Chinese culture/religion/history but the program has since grown in size and scope to look a bit like the one that was then run separately at Fo Guang Shan monastery in southern Taiwan.My experience with the 2009 program was so positive that I applied for and participated in … [Read more...]

A history of Buddhist Social Engagement

Not long ago, a friend and colleague of mine posted a query in a Buddhist academic group: what sutras or other suitably ancient Buddhist writings could one read today as appealing to something like the social activism we see in America now?The ensuing discussion was lively and, for some perhaps, disappointing. In short, there are none. No pre-modern Buddhist writing can be found that will exhort people to go to the streets, to directly help the poor, or work to overcome systemic … [Read more...]

UPDATE: Tibet Women’s Soccer team finds allies in Congress

As reported recently, the Tibet Women's Soccer team, the "Snow Lionesses," has been denied visas to come to the U.S. They were planning to join in an upcoming tournament. The team, based in India and coached by New Jersey native Cassie Childers was told that they "have no good reason to visit the U.S." Congressional help Last week, two congressmen from New Jersey, Rep. Chris Smith and Rep. Tom MacArthur, both Republicans, asked Trump's Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to reconsider the denial … [Read more...]

Tibetan Refugee Soccer Team denied visas to United States

A Tibetan Women's Soccer team based in India has been denied visas to the United States, raising concerns about our country's level of support for Tibetans and others under contested Chinese rule.Cassie Childers, a coach for the team, said that they were told at the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi that they "have no good reason to visit the U.S." The team had been invited to play in Dallas and until recently, the travel would have been business as usual for all involved in international sports. … [Read more...]

The Nature of Reality: Buddhist Scholar Alan Wallace in dialogue with Physicist Sean Carroll

During my undergraduate studies in philosophy at the University of Montana, I took a 'capstone' class on Philosophy of Mind. We started with Descartes, setting out the direction that Western thinkers would take: the problem of mind (immaterial, without spatial relations) and body (material, spatially located) interacting with one another. This is the "mind-body problem" and it vexed Descartes 400 years ago and it vexes those who look deeply into it today.The "problem" is not only in regard … [Read more...]

Psychologists test the Dalai Lama’s teaching on Compassion, and it works

Anyone in a relationship knows that it feels good to do something nice for your significant other. In fact, in general, it just feels good to give. Theorists have posited a spectrum of reasons why this is so, from the "egoist" position that we only give in hope of receiving back to accounts that suggest that "we" are merely giving to support similar genetic material or to strengthen social bonds.The Dalai Lama's famous quote (or paraphrase) is that "If you want others to be happy, practice … [Read more...]