In the Obituary of a Tibetan Buddhism scholar, some ominous words

The obituary for Elliot Sperling begins as most do, noting the peaks of the man's life: 66 years of vitality, a MacArthur (genius) Fellowship, and a reshaping of our understanding of Sino-Tibetan relations. Of particular note, the obituary's author Tenzin Dorjee, writes: Through his seminal writings on Tibet’s relations with China during the Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties, he became arguably the first historian to extensively use both Chinese and Tibetan sources to bring to light the separation a … [Read more...]

Buddhist Activism in an age of neo-fascism and “alternative facts”

I sit in a basement cafe in downtown Seattle. I worry a bit about finances here, or class sign-ups there. But I'm okay. And odds are, so are you. Who is next? We're in the midst of something, though, that could change all of that. There is a range of wise view on just how quickly that will happen and how severely, from the oft-quoted "we're screwed" to the increasingly pollyannish "wait and see."Already, if you're one of estimated 100,000 people who had your visa revoked due to the recent … [Read more...]

Buddhists in a Democracy: Be Political, but not Partisan

This year's election and the impending inauguration of Donald Trump have drawn out some heated discussions about the role Buddhism ought to be playing in our political system. Two articles that come to the forefront, in part for espousing different views on the topic, are Jiryu Mark Rutschman-Byler's article Buddhism is Apolitical? (Or, Stop Trying to Wiggle Out of the Damn Koan!), updated at Lion's Roar as Isn’t Buddhism Supposed to Be Apolitical? and Brad Warner's Should Plumbing Be Politic … [Read more...]

Buddhist Ethics Today – or can we all be a little more enlightened?

Seth Zuiho Segall has a lengthy and thoughtful piece in the latest Tricycle Magazine, titled, "A More Enlightened Way of Being." The topic is ethics, specifically Buddhist ethics in the contemporary world.Segall's writing is wide-reaching and wonderfully fluid. He mentions Aristotle, Kant, Hume, Kierkegaard, and other luminaries of the West. He also surveys the long history of Buddhism and its developments and encounters with Bon (Tibet), Daoism (China) and Kami worship … [Read more...]

Buddhist Gladness for a Trump Victory

The Bubble Like many inside the liberal bubble, I have had (and continue to have) a tough time with November's election results. Our team lost. Their team won. And by our team, I include the disabled children who now face more bullying, the LGBTQ community who face the possibility of lost rights, Muslims, Native Americans, all people of color, women, and anyone else who now lives in heightened fear of attacks or has faced them already. A fair amount of my dukkha in the last several weeks has … [Read more...]

The First Nidana – A Christmas Song for Buddhists

Growing up Catholic in the US, I have a certain fondness for Christmas songs - especially loving the voices of Bing Crosby, Dean Martin, Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, Elvis Presley, and others of a certain bygone era of American music. So when I stumbled across this beautiful Buddhist Christmas song (or a Buddhist song set to a modern Christmas tune), I was hooked. This week I got in touch with the song's creator, Ryan Hunt, for an interview. Please read, enjoy the music below, print/share the … [Read more...]

Spiritual Life takes Courage, and part of that is asking for help

My blogging life has been a bit quiet of late. This is despite the fact that I have some developing ambitions to write more and curate more wonderful writing from friends and strangers around the topics of Buddhism, meditation, and mindfulness. More on that in a moment.If you missed it, my neighbor here in the Patheos Buddhist world and long-time facebook friend - I'm still hoping to get him up to Montana for a sermon at our local Unitarian Universalist fellowship - James Ford recently … [Read more...]

Finding Forgiveness During Challenging Times

A guest post by Emily J. Hooks Understanding and practicing forgiveness has never been more important than it is today. As tensions around the world rise, we are called to stay ever more vigilant to the energy we put out into the world. The outcome of all action is determined by the source energy behind that action. Ironically, many of us who claim to understand this universal principle are reacting passionately out of fear and expecting to make a positive difference. We know that when we take … [Read more...]