New Petition to save the Mes Aynak Buddhas

In just over two months, a Chinese-owned mining company is scheduled to begin work in NE Afghanistan. If they go forward, they could create the world's second largest copper mine. But they would also destroy an unknown number of ancient Buddhist (and other, earlier) artifacts.The site, in the rugged and arid mountains of Afghanistan, was once a hot spot on the Silk Route, home of thriving communities of traders and monks. The site was only rediscovered two years ago, when the Chinese mining … [Read more...]

“A Buddhist Perspective on Occupy Wall Street” by Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi

I have not yet met the Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi, but I very much hope to do so soon. I have spent time with several of his students, collaborators, and friends, and I have been impressed by all of them. And I have listened to countless hours of Bhikkhu Bodhi's podcasts and lectures and -needless to say- read countless pages of his writings and translations of the Buddha's words.In this video, Bhikkhu Bodhi lays out the US economy in clear terms we all can understand.  Usually, in my experience, … [Read more...]

A Careful Walk through the Spirituality Minefield

Or, a review of David Webster’s “Dispirited: How contemporary spirituality makes us stupid, selfish, and unhappy.”Webster teaches Religion, Philosophy, and Ethics not far from me and as a fellow traveler on the road of Buddhist studies (Webster’s fist book is on Buddhism and Desire) and philosophy, I have been looking forward to reading this book for some time. At just over 70 pages, it’s written as a pamphlet almost, perhaps a manifesto: light on footnotes, jargon, and the kind of verbiage t … [Read more...]

Wake up America: Greed, Hate, and Guns

Sometimes the only word I can come up with to describe my country is "exacerbated." First there is the shooting in Aurora, CO. What can one say?Except to express the shock and sadness we all feel for those lost and hurt, their families, and everyone else affected by this tragedy. This hits close to home - close enough at least - as my mom, Ronnie, grew up in Aurora and my sister, Eve, currently lives just a few miles from there. My sister's friend, Kirk Siegler, is a reporter in the area … [Read more...]

Grassroots American Militarism… For the Children

Or "weighing in on the Kony 2012 campaign..."Here is the video:When I first watched it, having seen it posted on facebook by a do-gooder Canadian friend and a very-smart-cookie friend from Africa, I was inspired. To get me to watch anything not related to my studies these days is quite a task, and this video managed to get, and hold, my attention for 30 (precious) minutes.I reposted it. A couple more of my friends reposted it as well.And then I saw a message stating that the … [Read more...]

Review of Crazy Wisdom

Recently I was sent two DVD Screeners, this one, about the life and times of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, and another called "Force of Nature" about the Japanese-Canadian scientist and environmentalist David Suzuki. I will review the Suzuki movie later this week, and today I'll write a bit about the Trungpa flick.Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, who was born in Tibet prior to the Chinese invasion, lived, quite frankly, a crazy life. Yet his charisma in teaching the Dharma and ability to motivate a … [Read more...]

Tantric sex and kissing nuns (Video)

Warning: potentially disturbing images and manipulation to follow.I'm just back from a mini-conference held here in Bristol, and I can only say "my mind was blown."Yes, this is going to be an academic post.Though all of the talks were stimulating, the 'keynote' of sorts was on the topic of the use of religious imagery in corporate advertising by Katie Edwards. While her paper focused on Christian imagery, principally Catholic because that seems to have drawn the most outrage, she did … [Read more...]

Smile. Breathe. Repeat., or The Need to Travel

Last Friday in Missoula, at a public talk given by Anam Thubten Rinpoche, a friend asked me what I learned in all of my travels. I hadn't put much thought into such a question, but I immediately answered, "that our lives are unnecessarily complicated."A second insight I had, as I prepare for a little talk/slideshow about my travels, is just how profoundly interconnected we all are. And how the simplest of encounters can alter the direction of our life. Or, a bit less dramatically, these … [Read more...]