Another Lhabab Düchen in Bodhgaya

12 redressing the Buddha inside the stupa

The temperatures have cooled and life has slowed down significantly here in Bodhgaya over the last week or two. Last Friday was the last day for teaching I've since enjoyed a few days of grading, paperwork, catching up with people, and a general, relieved sense of laziness. On Thursday I went out for Lhabab Düchen, one of the most important days of the year in Tibetan Buddhism, and made my way to the Mahabodhi Temple.On that day it is said that one's good or bad deeds are multiplied by 10 mil … [Read more...]

Bodhgaya, Buddhism’s holiest city, in pictures

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September is a strange time in Bodhgaya. It's stretched between the hot and muggy monsoon season of N.E. India and the gradual onset of the cool season. Over the three weeks we've been here, the temperatures have gone up and down (highs ranging from around 95F/35C to a cool 85F /29C) but the humidity has steadily dropped from the stultifying 85+% to a merciful 65% during the day.It is still low season for tourists, so we get the city and her 38,000 or so inhabitants mostly to ourselves. Life … [Read more...]

Notes on teaching Buddhist philosophy

buddha with plato and aristotle at the academy

I'm teaching Buddhist philosophy in Bodhgaya, India at the moment, so much of my blogging-life is taken up by activities here. In lieu of all of that (I will post on my usual topics now and then) I thought I'd share notes from my teaching.Teaching Buddhist philosophy to American college students from diverse backgrounds (some with extensive philosophy, some with Buddhism, some with a mix or neither) has been a challenge. To start, I wanted to get them thinking as philosophers, inheritors of … [Read more...]

The Shugden Cult, Dalai Lama Protests, Race, and Genocide

Dorje_Shugden_book_cover

Last month, when the Dalai Lama was in Oslo on the 25th anniversary of his Nobel Peace Prize, he and supporters were confronted with crowds of protesters calling him, among other things, a False Dalai Lama and a persecutor of worshippers of Dorje (or Dolgyal) Shugden, a protector deity associated with the Dalai Lama's Geluk school of Tibetan Buddhism.In gathering background on the situation, we looked at two prominent scholars of Tibetan Buddhism, Georges Dreyfus and Robert Thurman (who uses … [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...]

“AKONG a remarkable life” – an interview by Lisa Tully

Akong Rinpoche

Many of you may have heard about the recent and tragic death of the Tibetan master Akong Tulku Rinpoche. He set up many Dharma centres around the world where people could learn and practice the principles of Buddhism. In London, a group of filmmakers are in the process of making a documentary about him. They are Chico Dall'Inha, Jörg Wagner and Gerry McCulloch.This project actually began over two years ago and now due to his untimely death is more imperative than ever before. His life was … [Read more...]

Buddhists in Pink, a look at nuns in Burma/Myanmar

Burmese nuns on alms rounds, Burma 2011

The NY Times recently posted a video taking us briefly inside the world of female monastic life in contemporary Burma. Have a look:They report that, "Enrollment is rising at the Aung Thawada Nunnery School on the northern border of Yangon. The nuns, whose ages range from 9 to 94, join for a variety of reasons, including to escape poverty or abuse."It was great to see that the reporter, Chelsi Moy, is a young woman from my home town of Helena, Montana and I even remember her … [Read more...]

Reposting “Femicide” for the International Day of the Girl Child

This is a repost of an article written by Naga R Dhoopati last spring. Given that today is the UN International Day of the Girl Child, I felt it worthwhile to repost it in the hope that the educational message will spread further and wider, bringing a swifter end to atrocities committed against girls around the world.Educating girls around the globe.There have been many cases where a girl’s life has become a burden to her parents, especially in India. Femicide is one practice used to re … [Read more...]


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