The Dalai Lama criticizes Trump’s “America First” policy

In the video posted by England's Channel 4 News yesterday (below), the Dalai Lama also discusses the need for a compassionate cultural revolution in China and the possibility of the end of his line of rebirths.Speaking of the Trump policy, he said: "I believe, with admiration, America as a leading nation of the free world. So, some new thinking: 'Only America', 'First America', right?  'America First' - I feel a little bit... disagreement. As a leading nation of the free world, America s … [Read more...]

Daniel Clarkson Fisher offers a “People’s Buddhism” – and B.R. Ambedkar revival

In an excellent article at Political Animal Magazine, Daniel Clarkson Fisher calls for a renewed investigation into the Buddhist liberation theology of the Indian reformer, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar. In the article, Fisher points out the rise in progressive social movements in recent years, from Black Lives Matter and Occupy Wall Street to the recent boosts to organizations like the ACLU and the Democratic Socialists of America.Given this, and the rising attention on the religious left, Fisher … [Read more...]

Karmapa Thaye Dorje, one head of the Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism, gets married

Trinley Thaye Dorje has abandoned his monastic life to marry a childhood friend. The ceremony was carried out in private on March 25 and announced today in New Delhi, India.It is not uncommon for Tibetan monks to marry, which is allowed in some sects, or to disrobe. What makes this instance particularly noteworthy is that Thaye Dorje has lived at the center of a dispute in the Kagyu school over its true leadership. The other candidate for the title of "Karmapa" is Ogyen Trinley Dorje, the … [Read more...]

A Survey on Mindfulness Coaching

With the ever-increasing awareness of mindfulness as a worthwhile practice and skill for everyone, new avenues are being sought to teach and guide new participants. For the last year, I have been teaching small groups the basics of mindfulness using mindfulness of breathing, walking meditations, and loving-kindness, along with other practices. I have also stressed the importance of community, ethics, and philosophy (understanding the nature of oneself and the world) in these classes while doing … [Read more...]

Bhikkhu Bodhi on Mindfulness in the Buddha’s Words

Mindfulness in the Western world is perhaps best known in the terms of the words of Jon Kabat-Zinn as: “Paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgmentally.” Bodhipaksa of Wildmind presents a helpful breakdown of each part of this sentence after offering his own definition of "the gentle effort to be continuously present with experience." Culadasa (John Yates, PhD), author of The Mind Illuminated, describes mindfulness in terms of "optimizing the inter … [Read more...]

Buddhist Monastic Life in China (Photos)

In 2009 I traveled to China to experience Chinese Buddhist monastic life and learn about the practice, philosophy, and history unique to Chan Buddhism. That trip was organized mostly for graduate students in Buddhism or Chinese culture/religion/history but the program has since grown in size and scope to look a bit like the one that was then run separately at Fo Guang Shan monastery in southern Taiwan.My experience with the 2009 program was so positive that I applied for and participated in … [Read more...]

A history of Buddhist Social Engagement

Not long ago, a friend and colleague of mine posted a query in a Buddhist academic group: what sutras or other suitably ancient Buddhist writings could one read today as appealing to something like the social activism we see in America now?The ensuing discussion was lively and, for some perhaps, disappointing. In short, there are none. No pre-modern Buddhist writing can be found that will exhort people to go to the streets, to directly help the poor, or work to overcome systemic … [Read more...]

UPDATE: Tibet Women’s Soccer team finds allies in Congress

As reported recently, the Tibet Women's Soccer team, the "Snow Lionesses," has been denied visas to come to the U.S. They were planning to join in an upcoming tournament. The team, based in India and coached by New Jersey native Cassie Childers was told that they "have no good reason to visit the U.S." Congressional help Last week, two congressmen from New Jersey, Rep. Chris Smith and Rep. Tom MacArthur, both Republicans, asked Trump's Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to reconsider the denial … [Read more...]