Malaria, Maoists, and other news from India

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I've once again found myself in rural India, Bodhgaya to be precise, teaching Buddhist Philosophy to American undergraduates. I was here in 2010, early in the days of my PhD, and coming here again as I near the end of this colossal project seems fitting.I remember when I first arrived in England for my MA all those years ago, marveling at how much history surrounded me: pubs dating to the 1600s, churches from the 14th century and before, castles, paths, and crossings all seeing centuries of … [Read more...]

Happy Saga Dawa Duchen – Tibetan Buddhism’s holiest day

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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...]

2014 Fo Guang Buddhist Montastic Retreat

2014 Fo Guang Buddhist Monastic Retreat

The Fo Guang Buddhist Monastic Retreat program, hosted at Fo Guang Shan Monastery in southern Taiwan, is accepting applications for its 2014 summer Buddhist monastic retreat program.  The program runs from June 26th to July 24th and includes two weeks of introduction and classes, followed by a seven day intensive retreat, a International Youth Seminar on Life and Chán, and a tour of Taiwan. They will accept 50-60 university / college students (or graduates within 3 years after graduation aged 18 … [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...]

Burma (Myanmar) in HD

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In commemoration of 8/8/88 I thought I'd post a short video showing the grand, beautiful, and peaceful side of Burma, the side I remember most strongly when reflecting on my short time there. This is shot in gorgeous ultra-HD, 4096x2304 resolution, four times greater than regular 1080p HD. Unfortunately, few of us have monitors that can do much with that, but even at the 1080 HD setting, it is stunning. You can follow the photographer, Jason Schwarz, on … [Read more...]

A Nominee for most outlandish Buddha Statue… ever?

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Courtesy China's Global Times (thanks to Tricycle's Emma Varvaloucas, who you can follow on twitter here). The article states: A giant statue of a gold Buddha in Luoyang, Henan Province garnered attention on Weibo recently for sporting a slicked-back hairstyle, jschina.com reported.First posted by Tian Yichen, a social commentator on Sina Weibo on April 22, the statue of the Maitreya Buddha attracted online attention for its conservative haircut more befitting a local official than an … [Read more...]

A Thailand Teaser

Sukhothai, Thailand

My time here in Thailand is winding down. I'm in Sukhothai now, one of the 'Colosseum'-like archaeological sites of Buddhism in Asia. The kingdom that gave rise to the site arose and fell in just about two hundred years, from the mid 13th century to the mid 15th, in central Thailand. After it fell, the capital was moved to Ayutthaya, and then to Bangkok where it is today.The trip has been amazing thus far; due in great part to the people in charge of the International Association of B … [Read more...]

Buddha imagery meets the West

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Dave Webster, who teaches Religion, Philosophy & Ethics at the University of Gloucestershire is at it again with a new tumblr (interactive-blog-type-thing) dedicated to the often odd (some would say "wrong" or offensive) use of Buddhist images in the West.Below is my submission (at http://dispirited-dave.tumblr.com/)I know it's not exactly from "the West," but it was the first image that came to my mind, and it seems to follow the spirit of Dave's tumblr, if not the letter. And pe … [Read more...]


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