Mindfulness: the single most impactful aspect of Buddhism in America

mindful books

In an intriguing recent lecture, scholar of Western Buddhism Jeff Wilson makes the claim that mindfulness is, in fact, Buddhism's largest single impact on North America. The evidence is more than compelling: from books by Congressman Tim Ryan (A Mindful Nation) and Google's "Jolly Good Fellow" Chade-Meng Tan (Search Inside Yourself) - shown meeting President Obama - to news reports in nearly every major media outlet and new movements to get mindfulness practice into schools, medicine, police … [Read more...]

Australia’s Next Top Guru (Parody)

australias top guru

The English-speaking world loves their gurus and Eastern mysterious wisdom and enlightenment and all that stuff. And while (I hope I'm not being too optimistic in saying) we're collectively growing out of our most infantile--and destructive--phase of interacting and mingling with "the East", there is still a long way to go. Colonialism's dual projections of "dark evil" and "mysterious goodness" continue to play out in popular culture. But both rely on obscured vision of the place(s) and people … [Read more...]

David Suzuki, Force of Nature (reposted for Earth Day)

David Suzuki and the Dalai Lama at the Environmental Summit 2013 Portland Oregon (photo by Colleen Benelli flickr C.C.)

In 1.5 of the Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle observes that there are three types of life thought to be happy: the life of enjoyment, the political life, and the life of contemplation.  The life of enjoyment is a hedonistic life focused on conventional pleasures. The political life is the life of a states- person. It may aim at despotic power, or be lived for the sake of winning public honors, but in its most proper form its aim is the exercise of moral virtue and political and practical wisdom in … [Read more...]

Fake Buddhist Monks hit San Francisco

fake monks san francisco

The fake Buddhist monks made famous (or infamous) last summer when they were featured in a story by the New York Times are back, and this time in San Francisco, "a city filled with newcomers to urban life," according to sfist.com. As Terry Firma wrote for the Patheos Friendly Atheist blog last summer, quoting the story from the NYTimes: They are mostly men of Chinese descent, with shaved heads, beatific smiles and flowing robes of orange, but sometimes brown or gray. They follow a similar s … [Read more...]

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from American Buddhist Perspectives

christmas-bodhgaya3

From all of us to all of you, many wishes of joy, peace, and happiness this holiday season. For many Americans and Europeans, the cultural trappings of Christmas make it a default holiday, even those who have long since given up believing in Santa and Christianity and Consumerism and all of the other things that make the holiday so... special. In my family this is a time for togetherness, and that tends to focus on the dining room table. Whether it's for meals, snacks, coffee, cards, or just te … [Read more...]

Mindful of your immorality?

Hungry-Ghosts

A contemporary Western Buddhist version of this would probably look something like this:In case you missed it, this is regarding (not that Google in particular is guilty of all of the above):Criticism of Google has, of course, poured in. Katie Loncke of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship writes of Google's bus scheme, which is contributing to rising rents and gentrification:This is not true mindfulness. It’s selective awareness, optimized for pleasure.In other words, ig … [Read more...]

Buddhism: religion or philosophy?

buddha with plato and aristotle at the academy

This is the question again, raised by the renowned philosopher Michael McGhee for the UK's Guardian newspaper. The short article is set to be the start of a series on the topic, so we can look forward to further installments in the days to come.Today's article rehearses some of the issues we've seen raised in the news and among bloggers lately, namely the decontextualization of Buddhist practices, rebranded as "mindfulness" and sold to people free of "religion." However, McGhee does want to … [Read more...]

A Nominee for most outlandish Buddha Statue… ever?

maitreya-buddha---or-not

Courtesy China's Global Times (thanks to Tricycle's Emma Varvaloucas, who you can follow on twitter here). The article states: A giant statue of a gold Buddha in Luoyang, Henan Province garnered attention on Weibo recently for sporting a slicked-back hairstyle, jschina.com reported.First posted by Tian Yichen, a social commentator on Sina Weibo on April 22, the statue of the Maitreya Buddha attracted online attention for its conservative haircut more befitting a local official than an … [Read more...]


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