Buddha imagery meets the West

maitreya smoking in Taiwan

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...]

SOLITUDE is out of fashion

Single Tree - Bristol

So begins a recent article in the NY Times called "The Rise of Groupthink" by Susan Cain, author of the forthcoming book “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.”It is an ideal article for me to read at just the right time: only a few hours away from ending my extended vacation with family and friends and returning to my little workspace in Bristol where I ostensibly toil for hours in solitude over a PhD thesis in Buddhist ethics.The article, and no doubt the bo … [Read more...]

Thanksgiving, American Buddhist (in England) Style

image004

I've been away for a while.And in a sense that feels very good. It feels good to get away from the computer, from the constant onslaught of news, status updates, tweets, and emails.Mostly, I have been catching up on real-life projects, spending time with real-life people, and even reading physical books. I was fortunate enough to have a very wonderful visitor and travel companion for a little journey taking us to London, Liverpool, Cork, and Dublin.Thanksgiving was spent in Cork in a … [Read more...]

Smile. Breathe. Repeat., or The Need to Travel

Images from around India and Burma (Fall/Winter 2010-2011), photos by Justin Whitaker

Last Friday in Missoula, at a public talk given by Anam Thubten Rinpoche, a friend asked me what I learned in all of my travels. I hadn't put much thought into such a question, but I immediately answered, "that our lives are unnecessarily complicated."A second insight I had, as I prepare for a little talk/slideshow about my travels, is just how profoundly interconnected we all are. And how the simplest of encounters can alter the direction of our life. Or, a bit less dramatically, these … [Read more...]

Burma (Myanmar): photos and initial thoughts

Fishermen gather on Inle Lake

I'm now in my quaint little room in a hanok (traditional Korean house), sitting on the floor, looking around at gorgeous antique furniture and the total mess that is my luggage. It is the end of a very wonderful day two here in Seoul, and before this was one also wonderful day in Bangkok and before that: Burma. Seventeen days, mostly seeing the "big four" destinations there: Yangon, Inle Lake, Mandalay, and Pagan.Unraveling the full experience of Burma may take some time, but suffice to say … [Read more...]


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