Contentious Tibetan Buddhist deity worship discussed in London panel

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In what may have been a first-of-its-kind event, representatives of the International Shugden Community joined academics, a Geluk Buddhist monk, and a former member of the New Kadampa Tradition to discuss the history and current status of Dorje Shugden. Shugden, in short, is a 'protector deity' historically associated with the Geluk school of Tibetan Buddhism. His supposed power has led to great devotion by a number of esteemed Buddhist teachers, foremost among them Pabongkha Rinpoche, whose … [Read more...]

Sand castles: Buddhist advice on what holds us back in life

Tibetan sand mandala

I stumbled across this sutta the other day and appreciated the fact that the Buddha, 2500 years ago, was talking about sand castles (or 'dirt houses'). The images of amazing creativity, wonder (perhaps infatuation), and impermanence of such structures couldn't have been very different from what we see and think of today. This is especially true for those who know of the Tibetan Buddhist practice of creating, and then destroying, beautiful sand sculptures like the one above (see the video below … [Read more...]

Korean nuns rap the Heart Sutra

korean nuns rap heart sutra

From the HuffingtonPost: More than 300 nuns and monks convened in a Seoul temple on Thursday to participate in a prayer competition hosted by the Jogye Order, Korea's largest Buddhist organization. While most recited traditional prayers, several brave nuns took to the stage with rap and hip hop performances.A group of three nuns performed a variation on the classic Heart Sutra, beating on traditional drums and rapping their own lyrics: "Great wisdom, perfect wisdom. Buddha's teachings that s … [Read more...]

A Make-up tutorial with a surprisingly Buddhist message

anna akana

A make-up video as a topic for Buddhist reflection? That probably won't be everyone's cup of tea, but I'd say give it a watch, or skip right to the reading below it.The description of the video, published last month, reads "The power of make up is incredible, but the power of you is cray cray." And since I came across this via the wonderful Full Contact Enlightenment page on facebook, I gave it a watch.While much of it is the sort of feel-good, youthful optimism we either love or hate, … [Read more...]

Petition created for the United Nations Day of Vesak (UNDV) to allow Ajahn Brahm’s gender equality paper in 2015

ajahn brahm talk on women UNDV

Last month, Ajahn Brahm, one of the world's best known Theravadin monks, was scheduled to give a talk on gender equality (and lack thereof) in Buddhism in Vietnam at the annual UN Day of Vesak conference. However, at the last minute his talk was canceled.Here Ajahn Brahm talks about why:Now you can sign a petition, launched today in the UK, asking the UNDV conference to allow his talk to be given next year. According to the petition site at Avaaz:We, the undersigned, are astounded … [Read more...]

Happy Saga Dawa Duchen – Tibetan Buddhism’s holiest day

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Saga Dawa is the fourth lunar month of the Tibetan calendar, this year falling between May 29 and June 27. 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 Saga Dawa Duchen, is today, Friday, … [Read more...]

The Shugden Cult, Dalai Lama Protests, Race, and Genocide

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Last month, when the Dalai Lama was in Oslo on the 25th anniversary of his Nobel Peace Prize, he and supporters were confronted with crowds of protesters calling him, among other things, a False Dalai Lama and a persecutor of worshippers of Dorje (or Dolgyal) Shugden, a protector deity associated with the Dalai Lama's Geluk school of Tibetan Buddhism.In gathering background on the situation, we looked at two prominent scholars of Tibetan Buddhism, Georges Dreyfus and Robert Thurman (who uses … [Read more...]

That all-too-human urge to understand the heart of things

the jains

As I discussed in a recent post at the Indian Philosophy Blog, there is quite often a divide in approaches taken to the study of religion between what we might broadly call the 'philosophers' and the 'historians'. Philosophers, and I count myself as one of these most days, seek out the meaning of texts, seeing them as doorways into distant lands and into the minds of great thinkers, past and present. We often have to construct meanings through fragmentary and at times conflicting evidence: at o … [Read more...]


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