The Karmapa is coming to America


His Holiness the 17th Karmapa, head of the 900 year-old Karma Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism, will begin his 3rd US tour beginning in less than two weeks. His first stop will be at Stanford University on March 17th, where he will talk about "Caring Connections: Compassion, Technology and the Environment." This talk is sold out according to the tour website, but openings may become available and there is a notification list you can join at March 24 … [Read more...]

Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche talks about Homosexuality and Buddhism

Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche - Bodhgaya 2014

In this short video the Buddhist teacher and filmmaker, well known for his wit and sense of humor, speaks about the place of Homosexuality in Buddhism.Here is a partial transcript:Just um, this interesting question of sexual orientation, like gays and lesbians, what to do with, you know, how does this sort of fit with Bhutanese sort of Buddhist world? And I would like to speak [about] this a little bit. In Buddhism, as Shantideva said (in Tibetan): wisdom is the most important [ … [Read more...]

The Dalai Lama, snubbed by Pope and world leaders, may speak at Glastonbury Festival in June

Tenzin Gyatso - 14th Dalai Lama, photo by Christopher Michel Flickr C.C.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama, once hailed as a "multimedia phenomenon and ascetic Buddhist superstar" by the New York Times, has had a tough year. After meeting nine heads of state in 2001 and eleven in 2002, the Dalai Lama met with just one by the middle of 2014: President Barack Obama. In an article discussing the event, Shannon Tiezzi of The Diplomat, described Obama as rather bravely walking a "tightrope" in the meeting, where he had to make it clear that he regarded the Dalai Lama as a reli … [Read more...]

Buddhism and the Environment in China: PBS Religion and Ethics Newsweekly

Tashi Sangye2

PBS takes us to China this week, where the increasing signs of environmental degradation are leading many in this officially 'atheist' nation to embrace Buddhism. Buddhism is on the rise in China, currently estimated to have about 200-300 million adherents, for a variety of reasons. After the extreme persecution of the Cultural Revolution in the 1960s and 70s, the nation slowly and quietly allowed some cracks to form in its atheist and socialist facade. Over the last twenty years especially, the … [Read more...]

Double Dalai Lama or none: Buddhist leader contemplates ending reincarnations


This week the Dalai Lama is grabbing international headlines and as usual, Stephen Colbert's commentary is a great one to start with: on point, historically accurate, and highly entertaining. Colbert has it right that a major worry is that when the current Dalai Lama passes away, China will likely appoint its own successor, in effect leading to a secular, communist state endorsing the Tibetan Buddhist belief not only in rebirth, but in the specific 'tulku' system whereby individuals of … [Read more...]

Contentious Tibetan Buddhist deity worship discussed in London panel


In what may have been a first-of-its-kind event, representatives of the International Shugden Community joined academics, a Geluk Buddhist monk, and a former member of the New Kadampa Tradition to discuss the history and current status of Dorje Shugden. Shugden, in short, is a 'protector deity' historically associated with the Geluk school of Tibetan Buddhism. His supposed power has led to great devotion by a number of esteemed Buddhist teachers, foremost among them Pabongkha Rinpoche, whose … [Read more...]

Happy Saga Dawa Duchen – Tibetan Buddhism’s holiest day


Saga Dawa is the fourth lunar month of the Tibetan calendar, this year falling between May 29 and June 27. It is the holiest time of the year for Tibetan Buddhists.  The middle of the month, the full moon day, is the most important. On that day the fruits of one's karma (actions) are said to increase one billion (1,000,000,000) times or more. It is the day that Tibetan Buddhists celebrate the birth, awakening, and death of the Buddha.That day, known as Saga Dawa Duchen, is today, Friday, … [Read more...]

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


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...]