I’m Back…

plugged in

Well, it's May. And in case you missed my last post - or, actually the one before that - I spent (nearly) all of April away from social media, including this blog. I can't say it was a life-changing experience, except that when I logged in to facebook today, my reaction was more of an "ugh..." than anything else. A few missed birthdays, some missed 'exciting news', and lots of links to cute stupid things (I found that these managed to occupy the majority of my time and attention until, after … [Read more...]

A month unplugged (no joke)


I will be spending the rest of April 'unplugged' from most social media as I spend some much-needed time in my own mini-retreat. I'm sure there will be some meditation involved, but also plenty of writing on my bigger projects: a couple articles and two chapters for my thesis that are underway. 2013 has been off to a great start here at American Buddhist Perspective, and life on Google+, twitter, and facebook has been abuzz with great conversations, breaking news, and thoughtful opinions. And … [Read more...]

Merleau-Ponty and Buddhism

This is a repost from a while back. I have a busy week or so ahead working on phd stuff, but wanted to re-share this and see your thoughts on it. Luckily Amazon isn't always flaky, and this week suggested a book I would love to get my hands on (except, perhaps, for the price and the fact that I have a stack of un-read books before me that are more directly related to my thesis). I have long admired the ideas of Maurice Merleau-Ponty. Merleau-Ponty was a phenomenologist, one who sets … [Read more...]

Are Western Buddhists Too Tolerant?

I have been interested in Sam Harris' work for some time now. I've never sat down and read a whole book from him, but numerous articles, youtube clips, and mentions of him have made his name well known to me. In popular literature he is mentioned alongside Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, and Christopher Hitchens as the "Four Horsemen" of contemporary Atheism. In my studies of the Philosophy of Mind and Ethics and Evolution I read Dennett and touched on Dawkins; while Hitchens has long been a … [Read more...]

Fake Buddha Quotes

Fake Buddha Quotes

My friend and my first meditation teacher, Bodhipaksa, has a great site that while not new, might be new to you - I blogged about it a couple years ago here. The premise is simple: to find and rectify Fake Buddha Quotes as much as possible. AndĀ Confucius says: people like to misquote Buddha. My suspicion is that the whole meme is somewhat of a continuation of the old (70s? 80s?) meme based on the lovable Chinese philosopher Confucius - recent examples still continue. Of course the two don't … [Read more...]

Buddhist Global Relief Run – Four More Weeks

Buddhist Global Relief Fundraising Run

Wow. Time is passing quickly. I now have four weeks of training time for the 2012 Bristol Half Marathon. The bad news is that I injured my knee playing soccer (football) a couple weeks ago. But the good news is that after a week off it was feeling okay again and this last week I managed two good runs and some tennis with friends with no problems. Tomorrow I'll do another long run, pushing to 8 miles, or 9 if I'm feeling up to it. With luck, the next 4 weeks will all go well and I'll have a … [Read more...]

Aung San Suu Kyi: Burma, Buddhism, and the Future

Justin Whitaker at Burma's NLD Headquarters, Yangon (Rangoon)

It has been a year and half since I was in Burma, which its military leaders renamed Myanmar in 1989. I was urged to go there by colleagues at the Antioch Education Abroad program in India where I taught in the fall of 2010. "The Lady" (Aung San Suu Kyi) had only just recently been released and elections held (claimed to be free by the government, but not by observers), and change was in the air. Of course, I remember the 2007 monks' protests and the change that was in the air then too. No … [Read more...]

A Buddhist view on what’s new

A quick wrap up of the last week-ish in the web and whatnot. I'm on Pinterest now. I'm not sure exactly what I'll do with it, but hey. Feel free to follow. I'm on twitter and Google+ too. In Tibet news, the Voice of America shares the story that unrest is unlikely to fade. Meanwhile, Lobsang Sangye, the elected leader of Tibetans in exile, rightly complains that the immolations and other troubles have generally gone unreported in the West. And the propaganda battles continue with China … [Read more...]

Love is Beautiful and other Buddhist News

Taiwan same-sex Buddhist wedding

The photo of Taiwan's first Buddhist same-sex wedding, posted to the Wipe-out Homophobia facebook group, has been making the rounds today. The caption reads: Two women became the first couple to have a Buddhist same-sex wedding in Taiwan. Fish Huang and You Ya-ting , who have been together for seven years, exchanged vows and prayer beads instead of rings at a monastery in Taoyuan, northern Taiwan, accompanied by chants from nearly 300 Buddhists. While this is a huge moment in these two … [Read more...]

“Born to Rage”? Henry Rollins, Buddhist Monks, and Violence

This documentary explores the links between genetics, environment, and violence, featuring Ex-punk rocker Henry Rollins, MMA fighters, former gang members, bikers with violent histories, and three Buddhist monks. All of them gave their stories of violence, both against them and by them, and were tested for what is known as the "warrior gene" (a mutation that leads to poor re-uptake of seratonin in the brain, turning a normally pleasant hormone into something quite different). Part of the … [Read more...]