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...]

Dan Harris on mindfulness, meditation, and Buddhism

Dan Harris Speaks at Google about his book "10% Happier," meditation, and Buddhism.

While mindfulness and meditation have taken off in the popular media in the last couple of years, it has been a while since I've seen a celebrity openly acknowledging a conversion to Buddhism. But this week in a CNN article, ABC anchorman Dan Harris does just that, writing:If you had told me as recently as a few years ago that I'd ever become a Buddhist -- never mind that I might even admit to it publicly -- I would have coughed my beer up through my nose.I was raised by secular … [Read more...]

Practicing Compassion, a review

Practicing Compassion, by Frank Rogers Jr.

Frank Rogers Jr's book, Practicing Compassion, is a welcome addition to the field of books bringing the positive insights and wisdom of religious traditions to a wider audience. The book sets out with the premise that while compassion is much talked about in religious settings and ever more in popular psychology, not many people know how to cultivate or practice it (although the caveat is given that there are numerous Buddhist teachings on cultivating compassion).*Rogers is a teacher of … [Read more...]

Buddhism without Superstition: with Owen Flanagan, Julian Baggini, and Tim Lott

Julian Baggini, Owen Flanagan and Tim Lott

"Is it possible to take an ancient comprehensive philosophy like Buddhism, subtract the hocus pocus, and have a worthwhile philosophy for twenty-first-century scientifically informed secular thinkers?"This was the quote, taken from Owen Flanagan's recent book (see below), which served to open a discussion last Wednesday at Bristol's "Festival of Ideas". The event re-raised the age old question, "Buddhism, is it a religion, philosophy, or way of life?" (I wrote a bit about this topic last … [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...]

A Very Buddhist Thanksgiving with VIDEO from Mary Grace Orr, Rev. Thich Hang Dat, Sensei Bob Oshita and Ajahn Brahm

Meditating turkey - may all beings be well

These two people are hard to find in the world. Which two? The one who is first to do a kindness, and the one who is grateful and thankful for a kindness done."— AN 2.118I'm back in Montana, enjoying time with my family - mostly eating, watching TV/movies, and playing cards, a good break from phd/teaching/etc life in England. This is, for me, always the best time of the year. Time with family, with no schedule, no deadlines, nothing to do. Just being.In the midst of that, it has b … [Read more...]

India, Pakistan, & a commercial to make you cry with joy

I'm a sucker for nostalgia, and growing ever more nostalgic for India myself (I can't believe it's been 3 years!). But nothing could have prepared me for this:When I was just 21 or 22, a friend lent me Cracking India, a story of the partition as experienced in Lahore. Later I watched Deepa Mehta's film adaptation of the book, Earth (1998), and watched it again, and again (full movie available here). … [Read more...]

Thomas Merton: the Film

thomas merton and the dalai lama

Anyone who knows me or has read this blog for long knows I am a great admirer of Thomas Merton. I remember his name being mentioned to me at a Buddhist retreat some time around 2002 or 3, and then, in a quiet week during my MA in Buddhist Studies, I picked up his Asian Journal where, upon seeing the great Buddha statues at Polonnaruwa, Ceylon (Sri Lanka) he wrote: “Looking at these figures I was suddenly, almost forcibly, jerked clean out of the habitual, halftied vision of things, and an inner … [Read more...]


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