Happy Pavarana from Bodhgaya

full moon in Bodhgaya

This full moon is an especially significant one in Buddhism, and we spent the late afternoon and moon-rise (around 5:15pm) at the Japanese Temple practicing Soto Zen. After the practice we emerged to see this:It must have been just the last moments of the eclipse.These are busy times, I'm afraid, so I'll offer you just this image and a couple clippings from around the web to tell you more about Pavarana: Pavarana is a Buddhist holy day celebrated on Aashvin full moon of the lunar month. … [Read more...]

BREAKING: World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates canceled after the Dalai Lama’s visa refusal

dalai lama - devil horns

Speaking from Dharamsala, India, American Nobel Peace Laureate Jody Williams told reporters that the event in South Africa had been cancelled and shifted to another venue, to be announced. Williams is in Dharamsala with Shirin Ebadi of Iran, a fellow laureate, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of his 1989 award (live stream available here) on October 2nd."We feel proud that the summit has been cancelled after we lodged a protest over denial of visa to the Dalai Lama," she said. "Even other … [Read more...]

Ajahn Brahm’s Gender Equality in Buddhism petition nears 5000 signatures

ajahn brahm talk on women UNDV

As per a request on twitter, I'm reposting this with the hopes of driving the petition over 5000 (it needs just 239 more as of now): In May, Ajahn Brahm, one of the world's best known Theravadin monks, was scheduled to give a talk on gender equality (and lack thereof) in Buddhism in Vietnam at the annual UN Day of Vesak conference. However, at the last minute his talk was canceled. Here Ajahn Brahm talks about why:Now you can sign a petition, launched today in the UK, asking the UNDV … [Read more...]

Bodhgaya, Buddhism’s holiest city, in pictures

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September is a strange time in Bodhgaya. It's stretched between the hot and muggy monsoon season of N.E. India and the gradual onset of the cool season. Over the three weeks we've been here, the temperatures have gone up and down (highs ranging from around 95F/35C to a cool 85F /29C) but the humidity has steadily dropped from the stultifying 85+% to a merciful 65% during the day.It is still low season for tourists, so we get the city and her 38,000 or so inhabitants mostly to ourselves. Life … [Read more...]

Shinnyo Lantern Floating for Peace: NY City, beginning Sept 21

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For readers in or near the New York City area, here is a great opportunity to learn about and participate in a ceremony with a growing global Buddhist community. I had the privilege of interviewing the head of Shinnyo-en, Her Holiness Shinso Ito, last May. And my friend Danny Fisher points us to the more recent Religion and Ethics Newsweekly coverage of last year's lantern floating. Below is taken from their press release announcing this year's event. On Sunday, Sept. 21, Shinnyo-en, the … [Read more...]

Notes on teaching Buddhist philosophy

buddha with plato and aristotle at the academy

I'm teaching Buddhist philosophy in Bodhgaya, India at the moment, so much of my blogging-life is taken up by activities here. In lieu of all of that (I will post on my usual topics now and then) I thought I'd share notes from my teaching.Teaching Buddhist philosophy to American college students from diverse backgrounds (some with extensive philosophy, some with Buddhism, some with a mix or neither) has been a challenge. To start, I wanted to get them thinking as philosophers, inheritors of … [Read more...]

Double Dalai Lama or none: Buddhist leader contemplates ending reincarnations

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This week the Dalai Lama is grabbing international headlines and as usual, Stephen Colbert's commentary is a great one to start with: on point, historically accurate, and highly entertaining. Colbert has it right that a major worry is that when the current Dalai Lama passes away, China will likely appoint its own successor, in effect leading to a secular, communist state endorsing the Tibetan Buddhist belief not only in rebirth, but in the specific 'tulku' system whereby individuals of … [Read more...]

Malaria, Maoists, and other news from India

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I've once again found myself in rural India, Bodhgaya to be precise, teaching Buddhist Philosophy to American undergraduates. I was here in 2010, early in the days of my PhD, and coming here again as I near the end of this colossal project seems fitting.I remember when I first arrived in England for my MA all those years ago, marveling at how much history surrounded me: pubs dating to the 1600s, churches from the 14th century and before, castles, paths, and crossings all seeing centuries of … [Read more...]


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