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...]

Buddha’s advice on wilderness and living in the present moment in nature

“The West of which I speak is but another name for the Wild; and what I have been preparing to say is, that in Wildness is the preservation of the world.” - Henry David Thoreau, "Walking" (emphasis added) In this sentiment, Thoreau, who was influenced by the Indian philosophy trickling into the Euro-American mindset of his time, echoes the Buddha's words about life in the forest (Pali arañña). Much scholarly ink has been spilled on Buddhism and the environment. An excellent starting point here … [Read more...]

The Souse Family and Buddhism’s Fifth Precept

A guest post by Daniel D. Woo (© 2016) I once thought that I had very few indelible childhood memories in the first 4 years of my life and that what little I remembered had no impact on my life. Then I remembered learning from infancy three songs:The Kuomintang (Chinese Nationalists) Republic of China (ROC) National Anthem The US Army Aircorp The drinking song “Glorious”The ROC anthem’s translated lyrics are: “San Min Chu-i,Our aim shall be:To found a free land,World pe … [Read more...]

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

This week's episode (airing Sunday the 24th), brings us face to face with the question of creation. As Morgan Freeman muses at the beginning, walking through his own history in Mississippi, "You can't understand me without understanding where I was created.""Every religion has a creation story," he continues.But is that true?The episode doesn't cover my area of specialization, Buddhism, but it does cover Hinduism. And the other religious stories of creation, including those of Islam, … [Read more...]

Happy Birthday, George Takei – American Buddhist, Actor, Author, Activist

Today is George Takei's 79th birthday.In honor of the occasion; and perhaps in horor of the latest Trump primary victory, we revisit George Takei's remarks about growing up with Japanese heritage in the xenophobic period around WW II. He is celebrating his birthday at Seattle's Key Arena advocating for "We Day" celebrating youth engaged in volunteer work. Follow him and see video from this morning in Seattle on facebook.(December 10, 2015)Ever since Donald Trump proposed a ban on … [Read more...]