3 Reasons to Welcome the ‘tt’ in St. Patty’s Day


I'm not sure what it is. Perhaps something in my Irish-English-Polish(Jewish)-Scottish heritage and dirt-road, blue sky, tumble-weed, Montana upbringing, but I just don't understand a lot of .... how should I put it? Conservatism? Orthodox traditionalism? Now, today is St. Patrick's Day. This has always been a fun holiday for my family as yesterday (March 16th) is the birthday of my father, Patrick James Whitaker (where I get my Irish/English). Montana has a pretty large Irish population, … [Read more...]

Mitt Romney seeks Buddhist Counsel (Video)

Mitt Romney and Tibetan Buddhist Monks

Mitt Romney has "invested in a high-paid soul-searching team to help him weigh his possibilities" according to the satirical news site, the Onion. Mysteriously, however, the report never mentions the monks, pictured here, which include one Theravadin monk along with what appear to be three Tibetan monks (one wearing the characteristically Geluk yellow hat of the "pandit" or learned person). The report continues: "The talented group of life-purpose consultants, which Romney is expected to … [Read more...]

Are you a Buddhist Wanker (Jerk)? – (Humor)

Self-described Spiritual Wanker Mark Walsh takes us through diagnosing a spiritual wanker and some potential cures. It reminded me a bit of my recent review of the wonderful book, Dispirited (blog here). Walsh criticizes 'spiritual' people for using insider language, dropping Tibetan, Sanskrit, (and he even mentions Pali!), when common English terms would clearly suffice, and more importantly, the normal English terms would be understood by everyone. I like the video because he is humble … [Read more...]

Buddhism in pop-culture? Namaste. Portlandia’s Meditation Crush.

portlandia-meditation crush

The popular sitcom Portlandia has released a sneak-peek into next season, including this humorous clip showing characters portrayed by  Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein at what is presumably their first time at Vipassana meditation. (if this doesn't work, click here: http://www.hulu.com/watch/442586) Of course it's funny because it's true. But like many things, that truth is only partial. Much of meditation is what you bring to it. If you come neurotic, whiny, and selfish, … [Read more...]

Toward a (Good) Buddhist Fundamentalism

Stephen Batchelor and John Peacock discuss Buddhism in London, 2012

I thought about calling this post "Is Buddhist Fundamentalism like Christian Fundamentalism?" But after seeing that the bulk of the discussion was clearly on Buddhism, and in fact supporting a sort of "Buddhist Fundamentalism" I thought I'd change the title. I have, on some occasions, been accused of being a "Buddhist Fundamentalist" over the past few years; usually for suggesting such things as the need to get back to the texts and exact meanings of key terms in order to understand the … [Read more...]

An interview with Lama Surya Das: American Buddhist and Bestselling Author

Lama Surya Das

This week we present an interview with Lama Surya Das (bio at bottom, though well known to most of you). For the interview I solicited questions from friends and colleagues and chose a few to present to Surya Das.  My great thanks to Lama Surya Das for taking the time to answer these questions and to the wonderful Erica Taylor for helping to bring this together, as well as to my friends Nick M, Nick W, Katherin, Emily, Warren, and Margaret for the questions. The first three questions focus on … [Read more...]

25 miles barefoot

25 miles in September

Well, sort of. As the chart shows, that 25 miles is spread over 4 runs and 8 days (11th-18th). And the barefoot isn't totally bare - it's in a pare of Vibram Five-Finger minimalist running shoes, along with specially made toe-socks. How? Why? Just how these strange little shoes work is one of those mysteries that only the so-called 'scientists' will ever explain. They'll give you 'evidence' and 'studies' and all of that - which you're welcome to look up and report back to me. Here's my … [Read more...]

Studying Religion Can Make you Incredibly Rich

In what can probably be filed under "most bizarre stories ever" an article I came across today claimed that I, yes I, had a real shot at being one of the 1%. The article is in the USNews and World Reports's special "university directory" claims that Religoius Studies ranks 5th in degrees that land people in the 1%. Number one, not surprisingly, is Economics, with over 8% of their graduates getting into the 1%. Then comes Political Science with 6.2%. Most surpising on the list, perhaps, is Art … [Read more...]

The Beer Belt of America

Beer Belt of America

(No Buddhist content, just taking a mini-break) This image, from a story at npr about beer, gave me pause today. The darker states represent the highest growth in microbreweries per capita. And Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado form a sort of belt (perhaps we'll include New Mexico to get border to border coverage).  The old 'Bible belt' exists in an almost perfectly inverse relationship to what I'll call the Beer Belt of America. It forms the nice vertical off-white line in the South … [Read more...]

Buddhism: The Dalai Lama on ‘appropriate violence’

From a recent interview with India Express, His Holiness the Dalai Lama is speaking about nonviolence as a motivation more than a label of particular actions. The interviewer asks: • Your Holiness, you also use the example of a man coming to shoot you. You say one has to do something, but instead of shooting him in the head, maybe, one could shoot him in the leg. Shooting in the head means killing. • But shooting in the hand or leg is self-protection? That’s right. Also, … [Read more...]