“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...]

Buddhist Ethics has a good day: on Philosophy, East and West

Almost 3 years ago exactly, 3 AM Magazine interviewed Jay Garfield, one of the best-known Buddhist philosophers in academia today. I wrote about that interview and still look back fondly on the comments and conversations that ensued.So it was with great joy that I saw 3 AM Magazine's latest interview with a Buddhist philosopher: Nicolas Bommarito, who teaches at NYU and the University of Buffalo. It was a great reminder that great thought within the academy is still being devoted to Buddhist … [Read more...]

Mindfulness and Self-Care: Why Should I Care?

A guest post by Edwin Ng with Ron PurserEditor's note: this is the second in a two-part series by Edwin Ng and Ron Purser, part one can be found at the Huffington Post here.Part One considered the current hype surrounding workplace mindfulness against the dubious history of management science. Part Two here considers the use of critical mindfulness in experiments with ethical self-care.Though we are skeptical about celebratory claims, we actually do hope that mindfulness might bec … [Read more...]

As North Carolina backslides on LGBT rights, we revisit our interview with the creators of transbuddhists.org

In spite of the many advances made in recent years in the United States and around the world toward greater awareness and acceptance of the variety of genders and sexual orientations and expressions in the human species, there will always be setbacks. One such setback was seen in North Carolina this week, where the most anti-LGBT law in the U.S. has been passed. A backlash of businesses, politicians, rights groups, individuals, and more have already spoken out. For our part, we'll remind o … [Read more...]

Princeton’s Robert Wright talks meditation, ethics, and awakening with Daniel Ingram

Readers here will recall Robert Wright from a series of lectures he gave two years ago via Coursera on Psychology and Buddhism:Week one: 1st and 2nd Noble Truths two: 3rd and 4th Noble Truths three: non-self four: what is the "you"? five: meditationThat course, while pitched to a wide audience, introduced and explored a number of key Buddhist philosophical and practical points with laudable clarity and insight. Now Robert Wright is continuing what he uncovered in that series … [Read more...]

Shantideva: Buddhism and the delight of solitude

I've just completed teaching the Bodhicaryāvatāra (Guide to the Bodhisattva's Way of Life) for the third time in my academic life, which probably makes this the 6th or 7th time I've been through the text. Some of it is finally, maybe, starting to sink in.Vesna and Alan Wallace, whose translation I borrow from below, tell us that it, "has been the most widely read, cited, and practiced text in the whole of the Indo-Tibetan Buddhist tradition" and that it is widely cited in the works of the cu … [Read more...]

Robert Thurman talks “Buddhist Ethics” at Google

In an entertaining and thoughtful talk, Columbia University's Robert Thurman discussed Buddhist ethics at Google late last week. The talk is excellent for both situating Buddhist ethics in the context of the Four Noble Truths and the Eight-fold Path as well as engaging with aspects of Western philosophy and current ways of thinking. The talk revolves around a visual aid, The 10-fold Path of Skillful and unskillful evolutionary (karmic) action*:Kill Save … [Read more...]