Buddhist Meditation and the Harlem Shake?

I'm about a month behind on this and I'm not sure I'll ever understand this internet phenomenon, but, for what it's worth, apparently Buddhist meditation groups are in on this thing as well (this one via Karme Choling, a Shambhala center in northern Vermont):I find the "kids react" video much more 'enlightening':Says one 10 year-old, "Stop it. Now! If you make one more video, I will pull your brains out and feed your liver to my dogs." (violent? yes. necessary? maybe.) And while we're … [Read more...]

A Talk and Guided Meditation with Lama Surya Das and Ram Dass

lama surya das and ram dass

The talk starts off a bit slowly and meanders (in a good way) at times, but for those who like Lama Surya Das and/or Ram Dass, this will be a great treat.  The conversation flows from preparing for death, being Jewish and inspired by Jesus, Maharaj-ji, experiences in India, Cats vs. Dogs, baseball, love, and more "teachings and moments on the spiritual path" along with a brief period of meditation.For more, see my Oct. 2012 interview with Lama Surya Das: American Buddhist and Bestselling Au … [Read more...]

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, then your medi … [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...]