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

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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...]

Trans*Buddhism, an interview with the creators of transbuddhists.org

trans-Buddhist QandA

I am honored this month to share an interview with the creators of transbuddhists.org and a guide to trans*competence (links below). Please read on and visit their website to find out more about how you can make Buddhism more inclusive.Who counts as "trans*" and why is it important for Buddhists today to understand the term?We use trans* ("trans" or "trans-star") as an umbrella term to describe anyone who's had an experience of their internal understanding of their gender not matching the … [Read more...]

Contentious Tibetan Buddhist deity worship discussed in London panel

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In what may have been a first-of-its-kind event, representatives of the International Shugden Community joined academics, a Geluk Buddhist monk, and a former member of the New Kadampa Tradition to discuss the history and current status of Dorje Shugden. Shugden, in short, is a 'protector deity' historically associated with the Geluk school of Tibetan Buddhism. His supposed power has led to great devotion by a number of esteemed Buddhist teachers, foremost among them Pabongkha Rinpoche, whose … [Read more...]

Vegetarianism and Animals in Early Indian Buddhism

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In this presentation, University of Toronto graduate student Sean M. Smith discusses the relationship between humans and other animals in the psychological and cosmological teachings of early Buddhism.I knew I would like the talk after the first 30 seconds, when he said: As a philosopher I am not interested in contingent historical details. I'm interested in truth, and I think Buddhist Philosophy, and especially Buddhist Philosophy in its early Indian guise - sometimes called the Theravadin … [Read more...]

Buddhist abbot Ajahn Brahm says that it is ‘Unacceptable’ that religion has been so cruel to LGBTIQs

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Before a large audience in Singapore in June, the outspoken Theravadin Buddhist monk cited the Buddha's call for compassion toward all sentient beings as a starting point for a Buddhist position on the LGBTIQ community. He said he was very proud to be able to perform a gay marriage in Norway. He continued:"There is nothing in the sutras, in the teachings of the Buddha, which discriminates against anybody no matter what race, religion, or sexual orientation. I do ask all Buddhists to please sh … [Read more...]


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