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...]

Facing Election Results with Buddhist Practices of Love, Compassion, Sympathetic Joy and Equanimity

Well, we certainly do live in interesting times, don't we? One truth that has been exposed by the recent election is the chasm that has opened up in the American electorate. Some hoped that after Nov 8 that divide would be closed and we could go back to life as usual. That hasn't happened. I wrote just before the election on this topic, but was reminded of it today so I'll send it out again, minus the pre-election thoughts. Now the vote is behind us. Political leadership is in transition. We … [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...]

The Dalai Lama’s Doctor – Buddhist advice on Forgiveness

Barry Kerzin is an extraordinary person. A medical doctor, a philosopher, and a Tibetan Buddhist monk. He has been featured on PBS advocating for more compassion in medicine and has given two TED talks, one on happiness and the other on compassion and anger management. Today he writes on forgiveness: At one level, forgiveness means you shouldn’t develop feelings of revenge. Revenge harms the other person. It is a form of violence and usually leads to counter-violence – so the problem never goes … [Read more...]

On Modern Mindfulness, Buddhism, and Social Ethics

There is much about mindfulness being published these days: studies, meta-studies, mega-studies, maha-megha-studies (bad Buddhist studies joke). And then there are the opinion pieces; "We're all doomed. Mindfulness? Humph!"As I mentioned in my introduction to Doug Smith's recent article here, what we are seeing is the growth of a discussion, a dialogue. And as with many early discussions with disparate parties, it can sound a bit "noisy", and sometimes well-meaning people who are quite close … [Read more...]

On Some Criticisms of Modern Mindfulness

A guest post by Doug Smith (originally posted at the Secular Buddhist Association here).Editor's note: As a philosopher working primarily in Buddhist ethics, my attention has been turned in the last 3 years or so to the topic of "mindfulness." This started with an excellent call of warning published by Ron Purser and David Loy (written about here). Mindfulness has continued its journey since then, and as much as it has created an economy of its own--mindfulness teachers, seminars, wisdom 2.0 … [Read more...]

“The Story of God” – A Buddhist Perspective on Evil

In this week's episode of "The Story of God" (airing May 1), Morgan Freeman explores the concept of evil. As with previous topics, apocalypse and creation, their is no perfect word for evil in the Asian languages of Buddhism. However, as with those concepts, when we tease them out, exploring their etymological and historical roots, we see that even in English and associated languages, these words can mean much more than we commonly take them to mean.Getting beyond the superficial, we find … [Read more...]