The Dalai Lama Continues to Push Secular Ethics Over Buddhism

Last week the Tibetan spiritual leader offered talks to three groups of students at his residence in Dharamsala, India. The students came from the U.S., Canada, and 25 students from the Tong Len [Tibetan for 'giving and taking'] charitable trust based in North India.Rather than pushing traditional Tibetan teachings or verbatim scripture, the Dalai Lama urged students to pursue peace in the coming century. He emphasized the importance of cultivating reason and the basic human capacity for … [Read more...]

U.S. Congress re-introduces “Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act” amidst rise in tensions over the Dalai Lama’s travels

In the long shadow of the recent Trump-Xi meeting lingers a bill in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate that seeks to guarantee open access to Tibet for American citizens. Introduced just before the meeting early last month, the bill seeks greater access to the region for U.S. officials, journalists, and other citizens. The bill finds that, despite claims of openness by the Chinese government, heavy restrictions and frequent denial of travel documents has been observed, … [Read more...]

Images of Tibet’s Larung Gar demolition, April 2016 – April 2017

This month, photographer Jesse Rockwell posted images of Larung Gar, a vast monastic complex in eastern Tibet (in China’s Sichuan Province) housing as many as 40,000 Tibetan Buddhist monks and nuns (10,000 being a more likely number).Last July Larung Gar was in the news, as the Chinese government began their demolition of structures there, threatening up to half of the monastics in the area.Click on the image for a larger image.As the image notes, Larung Gar was the world's larg … [Read more...]

The Dalai Lama criticizes Trump’s “America First” policy

In the video posted by England's Channel 4 News yesterday (below), the Dalai Lama also discusses the need for a compassionate cultural revolution in China and the possibility of the end of his line of rebirths.Speaking of the Trump policy, he said: "I believe, with admiration, America as a leading nation of the free world. So, some new thinking: 'Only America', 'First America', right?  'America First' - I feel a little bit... disagreement. As a leading nation of the free world, America s … [Read more...]

Karmapa Thaye Dorje, one head of the Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism, gets married

Trinley Thaye Dorje has abandoned his monastic life to marry a childhood friend. The ceremony was carried out in private on March 25 and announced today in New Delhi, India.It is not uncommon for Tibetan monks to marry, which is allowed in some sects, or to disrobe. What makes this instance particularly noteworthy is that Thaye Dorje has lived at the center of a dispute in the Kagyu school over its true leadership. The other candidate for the title of "Karmapa" is Ogyen Trinley Dorje, the … [Read more...]

Psychologists test the Dalai Lama’s teaching on Compassion, and it works

Anyone in a relationship knows that it feels good to do something nice for your significant other. In fact, in general, it just feels good to give. Theorists have posited a spectrum of reasons why this is so, from the "egoist" position that we only give in hope of receiving back to accounts that suggest that "we" are merely giving to support similar genetic material or to strengthen social bonds.The Dalai Lama's famous quote (or paraphrase) is that "If you want others to be happy, practice … [Read more...]

In the Obituary of a Tibetan Buddhism scholar, some ominous words

The obituary for Elliot Sperling begins as most do, noting the peaks of the man's life: 66 years of vitality, a MacArthur (genius) Fellowship, and a reshaping of our understanding of Sino-Tibetan relations. Of particular note, the obituary's author Tenzin Dorjee, writes: Through his seminal writings on Tibet’s relations with China during the Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties, he became arguably the first historian to extensively use both Chinese and Tibetan sources to bring to light the separation a … [Read more...]

Tibetan Buddhist immigrant told: ‘get the f— out of my country’

Tenzin Dorjee is from Bhutan, the tiny kingdom in the Himalayas made famous by its adherence to the idea that Gross National Happiness is at least as important as Gross Domestic Product. He is a practicing Buddhist, for whom "being peaceful is a huge part of his religion and identity."As an immigrant in America, he has faced racism and discrimination, but nothing like what happened to him last week.On November 9th, the day after Donald Trump's election, he was accosted outside his local … [Read more...]