Tourists: Buddha Tattoos are Taboo; as are See-Through dresses at Buddhist holy sites

It seems like only last month that another tourist was deported from Myanmar (Burma) for publicly showing off his Buddha tattoo. Oh wait, it was.The Washington Post reported that Cesar Hernandez of Spain was there with his wife when people began noticing his seated Buddha tattoo covering much of his calf. Buddhist monks kindly informed him that the tattoo was inappropriate. The tourists were then detained and deported or, perhaps, asked kindly to leave or be careful.As the Post reports, " … [Read more...]

Tibetan Nun commits suicide as China destroys vast Buddhist religious city

This is Larung Gar a year ago. It is 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). Recently, it has come under scrutiny by the Chinese government and demolitions have recently begun, threatening up to half of the monastics living there.The town has grown rapidly, from just a handful of disciples of the Tibetan teacher from the Nyingma tradition, Khenpo Jigme Phuntsok, in … [Read more...]

7 characteristics of Flow States & how Mindfulness brings us there

George Mumford, a mindfulness teacher and author of the book, The Mindful Athlete, offers an "anatomy of the Zone" as observed in the words of top athletes talking about their performance.The Zone, or Flow, has been described in cultures around the world, but has a special connection to the Buddhist practice of mindfulness. Flow states can, and do, happen to us all of time, from playing music to sports or just a great conversation with friends or colleagues. But with mindfulness practice, … [Read more...]

Buddhist Political Preferences (Reader poll, July-Aug reporting)

Last month I was too busy teaching, traveling, and doing a bit of meditation in China to write a report on the June-July readers survey of political preferences. In fact, I was a bit lax in publicizing the poll as well, which I think played a roll in the marked downturn in responses. With just 107 (self-selected, online, non-randomized) respondents and demographics roughly matching previous months' polls, we'll jump right to the question of which candidate each respondent most … [Read more...]

Major Sites of the Indus Valley (aka Sarasvati or Harappa) Civilization

Any survey of Buddhist history has to cover the great ancient civilization of India: the Indus Valley Civilization. Though little is known of the civilizations today, archaeologists and other scholars continue to unearth artifacts from the civilization and posit ever more extensive theories about the lives of people in the civilizations. The civilization flourished from approx 2600-1900 BCE, with earliest traces dating to 6500-6000 BCE and final developments ending around 1300 BCE.Despite … [Read more...]

Japanese Religion: Buddhism and Shintoism

In this wonderful short documentary, filmmaker Andrew Bush explores the two main religions of Japan: Buddhism and Shintoism. Through interviews with an American Zen Priest, Rick 'Jyozen' Beal, and a Japanese (Tendai) Buddhist Priest, Jokan Ono, Bush helps distinguish some of the overlapping and unique features of the religions in Japan today.The focus of the discussions is more on Buddhism, so to find out more on Shinto, you can watch this short video from the Asian Art Museum:Read more … [Read more...]

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...]


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