Atheist engagement with Buddhism: denying (or redefining) awakening

I have long believed that positions, religious or otherwise, can be strengthened or (wisely) abandoned when met with careful argumentation. Do your claims to "X" hold up? If not, why not let them go?So I was pleased to read a post today on the Atheist Channel here at Patheos asking "Was the Buddha enlightened?"There, Eric Sotnak presents a well-reasoned case against the Buddha's enlightenment (or awakening) based on the doctrine's connection to rebirth and the lack of evidence for … [Read more...]

Greed and Delusion in Wells Fargo. Or “In Praise of the Ethical Man”

In this current political season, in which both major candidates have given rise to unprecedented levels of distrust - much deserved though some certainly not - it is all the more important to call to mind the fundamental goodness and growing morality of the American populous. Both of those - fundamental goodness and growing morality - are subject to debate, I know. But I am an optimist, and a fan of evidence. I know that my own situation is far from perfect (as an adjunct professor at a liberal … [Read more...]

Buddhist Politics: A Reader Survey (October)

With just over a month to go, this will be the second to last of our reader surveys on Buddhist political preferences. This poll will take in possible responses from the first Presidential debate, held Monday, September 27. It also follows a number of major newspaper endorsements for Hillary Clinton and none (that I know of) so far for Donald Trump. One recent Clinton endorsement comes from the Arizona Republic, which has previously "never endorsed a Democrat over a Republican for pr … [Read more...]

Donald Trump technically owes Barack Obama a $5 million donation, Dalai Lama weighs in Trump’s hair and “little mouth”

That, at least, is the claim of late night host Steven Colbert, who cited it after a long fact-check of Trump's recent "ending" of the birther controversy. Colbert also takes shots at Trump's failure to prove past charitable giving, which he has made numerous claims about, as well as his close ties to Russian strongman Vladimir Putin.Watch and see:This doesn't even touch on the recent exposure of his use of charitable money to pay his own personal/business bills. The Dalai Lama was … [Read more...]

“Our Buddhist University and the Role of Intellectualism in our Studies” a Call for Papers

The Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Universities (IABS), based in Bangkok, has issued a call for papers today examining the role of intellectualism in Buddhist studies. The key questions posed for the upcoming edition of the journal are: In your Buddhist University or Buddhist Studies Program, what is the role of intellectualism within your program? How is intellectualism promoted or prohibited? Some professors promote critical thinking skills within their studies, some … [Read more...]

Dalai Lama: There is no “Muslim Terrorist” or “Buddhist Terrorist”

Addressing the European Parliament last week, the Dalai Lama said: "Buddhist terrorist, Muslim terrorist. That wording is wrong." "Any person," the Dalai Lama continued, "who wants to indulge in violence is no longer a genuine Buddhist or a genuine Muslim."The Dalai Lama, who is teaching on ethics beyond religion at the moment in Strasbourg, has been making this point for some time already.He continued by saying that all religions teach, "love, compassion, forgiveness, tolerance, … [Read more...]

From US Marine to Zen Monk (Video)

A commonplace in the discussion of Buddhism as it is taken up by Americans and other Westerners is the flattening out and commodification of the practices. And indeed this is happening and will continue to happen. Zen and mindfulness have become buzzwords that are used to sell soft drinks, potato chips, jewelry, and stationary, among other things. And don't get me started on tantra. Words like 'Theravada' and 'vipassana' are just a bit too difficult on the American tongue to find their way onto … [Read more...]

A Tibetan Buddhist Nun teaches JOY instead of Willpower, Ego, and Guilt

Jetsün Khandro Rinpoche is one of the few female Tibetan lamas (teachers) in the world today and a recognized reincarnation (tulku) of a past great female teacher. She has taught Buddhism across Europe, the US, and Asia. She will be conducting a long Vajrayana retreat in Virginia starting later this week and you can find her Mahamudra/Dzogchen teachings on DVD, and - better for beginners! - her complete guide to the Tibetan path to awakening in book form.Below she talks about Western … [Read more...]