Daniel Clarkson Fisher offers a “People’s Buddhism” – and B.R. Ambedkar revival

In an excellent article at Political Animal Magazine, Daniel Clarkson Fisher calls for a renewed investigation into the Buddhist liberation theology of the Indian reformer, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar. In the article, Fisher points out the rise in progressive social movements in recent years, from Black Lives Matter and Occupy Wall Street to the recent boosts to organizations like the ACLU and the Democratic Socialists of America.Given this, and the rising attention on the religious left, Fisher … [Read more...]

Karmapa Thaye Dorje, one head of the Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism, gets married

Trinley Thaye Dorje has abandoned his monastic life to marry a childhood friend. The ceremony was carried out in private on March 25 and announced today in New Delhi, India.It is not uncommon for Tibetan monks to marry, which is allowed in some sects, or to disrobe. What makes this instance particularly noteworthy is that Thaye Dorje has lived at the center of a dispute in the Kagyu school over its true leadership. The other candidate for the title of "Karmapa" is Ogyen Trinley Dorje, the … [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...]

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...]

Thich Nhat Hanh travels to Thailand “to be near his homeland”

Thich Nhat Hanh's adoptive home of France is in early winter now and his monastery, Plum Village, is entering its fourth week of a three-month winter retreat. These days the retreats, once led by the 90 year-old Zen master himself, are taught by his senior disciples.It has been nearly a year since Thay (as he's known to disciples) returned to France after treatment in the U.S. for a stroke.According to the monastics at Plum Village, Thich Nhat Hanh has requested to visit Thailand, where … [Read more...]

60 Years of the Indian Buddhist Revival

A guest post by David Viradhamma Creighton On October 11, 1956 the leader of India’s “untouchable” community stood before 400,000 of his followers in the city of Nagpur and led them in a mass conversion to Buddhism.  Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar had tried for decades to reform Indian society and end caste discrimination using legal and political tools, but he had come to the conclusion that the only hope for his oppressed people was to embrace a religion that denied caste and celebrated personal freedom … [Read more...]

What is Attention? Can Mindfulness Help? See “The Science of Meditation” Summit

I am fortunate enough to have a tiny bit of spare time now to tune in to Shambhala Mountain's wonderful summit on "The Science of Meditation" with presenters ranging from the wonderful Susan Piver to Patheos contributor Rick Hansen and a list of the who's who of meditation, mindfulness, and Buddhism research and practice. If I understand correctly, the videos from every day will be up and available to the public for two full days, so the one below, for instance, will still be available until … [Read more...]

Thich Nhat Hanh 90th birthday photo

The beloved Vietnamese Zen teacher Thich Nhat Hanh turned 90 yesterday. He has been living peacefully at his retreat center in the south of France after a stroke nearly two years ago set off a long and steady period of recovery, partially spent in the care of expert physicians in the US.All has been quiet from Thich Nhat Hanh and his students in France in recent months, but yesterday this photo of him enjoying a meal surrounded by friends circulated on Reddit.As one commenter there … [Read more...]