Happy Saga Dawa Düchen – Tibetan Buddhism’s holiest day

Theravadin monks at Pragbodhi Cave, Bihar, India (2014)

[updated and reposted from June 2014] Saga Dawa is the fourth lunar month of the Tibetan calendar, this year falling between May 18 and June 16. It is the holiest time of the year for Tibetan Buddhists.  The middle of the month, the full moon day, is the most important. On that day the fruits of one’s karma (actions) are said to increase one billion (1,000,000,000) times or more. It is the day that Tibetan Buddhists celebrate the birth, awakening, and death of the Buddha.That day, known as … [Read more...]

Phenomenology as a doorway into Indian Philosophy

India, Mughal Art. Photo by Nathan Hughes Hamilton (flickr C.C.)

The Journal of the British Society of Phenomenology has announced a selection of free articles from past issues.Included, along with heavyweights of the Western phenomenological tradition such as Nancy, Lyotard, Gadamer, Sartre, Warnock, Heidegger and Husserl, is J.N. Mohanty's “Phenomenology and Indian Philosophy: The Concept of Rationality”, Vol. 19, No. 3, 1988, pp. 269-281. (direct link here)In the paper Mohanty shows the struggles we face in understanding non-Western philosophies. Th … [Read more...]

All Good Intentions: But does Sam Harris have what it takes to be Buddhist?

flickr CC https://www.flickr.com/photos/dennisredfield/4553054788/in/photolist-7WkAyC-7Whjsi-8Q3Qoa-9CWL98-7Rnixa-9wLiJe-9CZGFw-9wLhFn-9wPeCA-9wLi4x-9wPhWL-9wPham-9wLhaZ-4b4jNJ-8rBQWn-rtWZ7M-eH3ZnE-4aZiYa-ATVSC-buSpvy-rAeuoe-rAe9TU-9wPeWh-bHM9BF-bHMak6-diH1pt-eH3Zj1-eH3Zry-qDxXUT-qDxYVk-riKoR1-ry3FTh-rAezbm-rAeuP4-qDkDDu-rh1MC4-8rBQUT-7R2r1x-riQRxu-9R1vhf-9R1r37-9UoK6F-qPcuQ-diGXSU-diGZuw-diGWEH-auALgk-buSqa1-buSnsN-9gV233andhttps://www.flickr.com/photos/127466868@N05/15211359780/in/photolist-pbbciN-psELDP-psFffk-pqDdCj-psoviX-pbckb6-pbbpW1-psEJoM-pbaHiD-pbbvHm-pbbZD1-psERrz-psoydK-psDEbY-pbaKB6-psoxHr-pbaCwV-psETY8-pqDexf-pqDjf1-psoCbz-psoyxc-psoAFF-pqDfo3-pbb97Y-psD6CG-pbbc2z-pqCUcG-pbbWoJ-psoZra-psoXJn-psp4XV-pbbY8p-pbbXcY-pbbod1-pbbZwN-psD5is-psovbx-pbbbF4-pbbwzw-psoz7t-pqCGXN-psEGNx-pbb9Fc-pbb66M-pbaLfk-pbbZfK-pbaAyM-psDdPf-psozZk

A guest post by Marek Sullivan:The recent email scuffle between linguistics professor and political commentator Noam Chomsky, and atheist neuroscientist Sam Harris has brought to light the severity of Harris’s emphasis on intention as the ultimate moral parameter in questions of military ethics. According to Harris, “Ethically speaking, intention is (nearly) the whole story.” This is how he can claim that Bill Clinton and Osama Bin Laden live “in a different moral universe entirely,” or elsew … [Read more...]

Dalai Lama’s ‘Sexist’ Snafu?

Tenzin Gyatso - 14th Dalai Lama

Over the weekend, the Dalai Lama spoke about his prospects for reincarnation, telling the UK's Sunday Times that he may come back as a “mischievous blonde woman" adding that “then her face must be very attractive” or “nobody pay much attention.”Fellow Patheos writer Elizabeth Scalia responds: Got that? The Dalai Lama says if a woman isn’t pretty, no one will pay attention to her. Her looks are her passport to credibility. And no one is screaming of fainting about it. This on her Catholi … [Read more...]

Buddhist mindfulness, morality, and Protestant presumptions

Achahn Chuen meditation; on a beach near Traverse City, MI (photo by Brian Ambrozy, flickr C.C.)

In case you've been living under a rock, mindfulness is all the rage these days. Since January I have filed away nearly every story on or popular mention of 'mindfulness' that crossed my path. At current, I'm at 43 links and I'm certain it's just a drop in the bucket of what's out there. I have a lawyer in Florida explaining "Mindfulness: What it is and how it helps" a Cosmopolitan article explaining (above a picture of Jennifer Aniston): Jo Usmar, Cosmo's ex-Sex and the Not So Single Girl, has … [Read more...]

At least one dead in Tibet and dozens more in Nepal after new earthquake [Video]


A second major earthquake, measuring 7.3 on the Richter scale, has struck Nepal. This one hit roughly 50 miles west of Kathmandu, halfway between there and Mt Everest, just south of the border with Tibet. Chinese news agencies have reported one death in Tibet, adding to the 26 killed in last month's 7.8 magnitude quake. CNN reports that at least 66 people have died in Nepal as a result of today's quake. Additionally, an American helicopter has been reported missing after flying a rescue mission … [Read more...]

Remembering Kindness: Happy (all) Mothers Day

yum chenmo, great mother

Throughout the day I've seen messages of gratitude, comfort, and joy, as well as discontent, despair, and derision. All over a holiday dedicated to mothers.Granted, these feelings all come from authentic experiences and true hearts. Yet the effort to expand our celebration of motherhood seems to me far wiser than either blindly praising an exclusive 'in-crowd' of nuclear families, an ideal of a bygone era, or turning one's back on it all.Today at the Unitarian Universalist fellowship I at … [Read more...]

An Update from Buddhists working on the ground in Nepal

tarke gyang nepal earthquake destruction

The situation in Nepal is still desperate. Aid and relief efforts have reached Kathmandu, though more is still needed there and many isolated villages still have seen no supplies or medical help. The Government is ill-prepared for such a disaster and is known for corruption. And while the first reaction of many is to turn to international NGOs, specifically those with disaster training and expertise (see the recent post on 5 ways to help victims of the Nepal earthquake; which has now been shared … [Read more...]