Conference Acceptance, First Flowers, and Borderline Revisited

So much going on - as usual. Let's see.... This week I found out that my proposal was accepted for the American Academy of Religion, AAR, conference (next November in Montreal)! I made my first hike of the year up Mount Sentinel for the sunset last night, along the way discovering the first -to me at least- wildflowers blooming along the hillside. And I plowed through yet another very interesting book on Borderline Personality Disorder...AARI am very, very happy that not only do I get to … [Read more...]

Ethical dimensions of climate change

Gotta love this guy:I had the pleasure of meeting Don Brown, the speaker here, twice over the last couple years as he has traveled to Missoula each summer for our National Science Foundation program: Debating Science.He concludes this talk by quoting writer Bill McKibben who said the following:I'm sitting here wondering why Americans don't see Climate Change as a moral and an ethical issue. It makes me think of my parents, who were really good people, but who did not 'get' civil rights until … [Read more...]

Earth Hour

In reverse order - two pics taken after Earth Hour Saturday night and one just before (choosing to not use even the camera during the hour): The hour was wonderful, a well-needed break from electric lights, the net, digital music, and all the rest that we simply take for granted 99% of the time. And, with all of those out of the way, Julie and I simply sat, sipped our wine, and enjoyed one another's company, things that I also seem to take for granted far too often in my "busy busy, rush rush" … [Read more...]

US is 36th in World for Freedom of Press

Where is your country?According to the article, published at Reporters Without Borders (RWB), "Only peace protects freedoms in post-9/11 world"Amongst the best countries, as you would imagine, were stable European countries like Iceland (1), Luxembourg (2), and Norway (3). (note that Iceland's financial crisis hasn't seemed to shake their press freedoms - perhaps it will in the future though).Update - actually Iceland, Luxembourg and Norway are tied for 1st (thanks Tom, for the heads up).And, … [Read more...]

Bare-bones Buddhism

These are my notes for a short introduction to Buddhism/Buddhist meditation given to a class on campus today (man, I love teaching, but more on that later). Perhaps they will be of some use to you or you might have suggestions for changes:~ Basics of Buddhism / Buddhist Ethics / Buddhist Meditation 1 – the worldview – just to get you inside the mind a bit of the Buddha or his followers a. Samsara – cycle of rebirth / redeath b. Dukkha – unsatisfactoriness of life, nothing we can really hang on … [Read more...]

Life of late and perhaps some Gratitude

Busy - I think is how I'd describe my life of late, but then again that's nothing new. I've sent a bit of work to my advisor and await word back. I've promised more soon - along the lines of which I am enjoying Rupert Gethin's 1997 article "Cosmology and Meditation: From the Aggañña-Sutta to the Mahāyāna" from History of Religions (Vol.36, No.3). He makes a persuasive argument that cosmology in early Buddhism (and beyond) must be taken seriously, even to folks trying to narrow our focus to e … [Read more...]

Busy times – but a pause for Obama

Let me just preface this by saying sometimes I complain that Montana is lacking in intellectual energy, specifically in philosophy, politics, and religious studies. While it has in no way caught up with England or even London alone, Missoula has very happily surprised me of late with some amazing talks both by resident thinkers and by visitors. Thanks, Missoula. Last Thursday I pushed for an early meditation so as to make it to a wonderful free philosophy lecture by David Sherman, current chair … [Read more...]

Thomas Merton’s Buddhist Awakening

Thomas Merton, Fr. Louis, meets with a young Dalai Lama in the fall of 1968From his posthumous Asian Journal, describing his experience upon seeing the great Buddha statues at Polonnaruwa, Ceylon (Sri Lanka):“Looking at these figures I was suddenly,almost forcibly, jerked clean out of the habitual, half-tied vision of things, and an inner clearness, clarity, asif exploding from the rocks themselves, became evidentand obvious. The queer evidence of the recliningfigure, the smile, the sad smile o … [Read more...]