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


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...]