Stumbling on Happiness

It's a book that tells you "why you are so bad at predicting what would make you happy." (yay!?)... just about any time we want something—a promotion, a marriage, an automobile, a cheeseburger—we are expecting that if we get it, then the person who has our fingerprints a second, minute, day, or decade from now will enjoy the world they inherit from us, honoring our sacrifices as they reap the harvest of our shrewd investment decisions and dietary forbearance.Yeah, yeah. Don't hold your breath. Li … [Read more...]

Politics: Howard Zinn

To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also a history of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents. And to live now, as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.- Howard ZinnI just finished … [Read more...]

Politics: Good article on Tibet

History of Tibet before the Chinese Invasion of 1949by Michael C. van Walt - an international legal scholar and a board member of the International Campaign for Tibet. Reprinted from the Cultural Survival Quarterly. Vol.12 1988 Number 1This was written around two decades ago, but hits the points concerning Tibet's legal right to sovereignty so concisely and clearly that it is very much worth a read today. As I read it, I found myself wishing I had had it in hand on the first day of class back … [Read more...]

Bouncing along Bottom

Lately I have spent a fair amount of time feeling like this:About a year ago I blogged about the rocky emotional ups and downs of my life. At the time, I was working on my Philosophy MA, applying to study in London, trying to figure out things with my then girlfriend Ana (who lived in Spain), teaching, and leading a meditation group on campus. And of course feeling pretty overwhelmed. For part of that meditation group, I introduced the latest book by French Tibetan monk Matthieu Ricard:One … [Read more...]

Good Days

Sometimes good days don't start out so good. Today I awoke with a deeply aching heart, feeling the distance between myself and the woman I love, feeling the uncertainty of what the future would bring. I grumbled a lot. Then I finally informed American University that I would have to turn down their generous offer of a possition as an adjunct professor for the fall. It was just one class, so it wouldn't have paid the bills, but it still hurt to turn it down. Thirdly, I had to do some internet … [Read more...]

Gratitude Journal

I am again picking up on the discussions of Oprah and Eckhart Tolle and in today's talk (the one from April 15, chapter 7) they discuss the importance of appreciation and the abundance that is in our lives. Eckhart says that if there is only one thing that people should take from his book, it is the practice of gratitude, which itself brings us to the present moment, the source of all peace.My advisor back in Bristol (MA Buddhist Studies, 2004-05) once also commented off-hand that the one thing … [Read more...]

Iran and Burma

I received this in the email today, a request to sign a petition urging congress to preempt any potential preemptive war on Iran. I know, it sounds crazy to most any of us that the Bush administration would contemplate throwing us into another senseless war; but then again, that's what many of us thought way back in 2003 with Iraq. Please, watch this video and sign the petition.Along similar lines, I found this image in the Korea Times Online a few days back. It was saddening, yet helpful to … [Read more...]

Military Buddhist Chaplains?

As my mother would ask, "Military Buddhist - isn't that an oxymoron?" Well, anyone who has read Brian Victoria (Zen and War, etc) or many others who have documented the history of Buddhism and warfare would know that Buddhists, for better or worse, are people too. And as people, caught up in samsara, they too often find themselves in warfare and the military.And as America is becoming an ever-more Buddhist country, more Buddhists are finding their way into the US Military.That is where a … [Read more...]