In a spirited and thoughtful defense of secular mindfulness, Susan Kaiser Greenland has offered up several points worthy of our attention. The impetus for her article is Thomas Joiner, Ph.D.’s, Mindlessness: The Corruption of Mindfulness in a Culture of Narcissism, which she calls “a take-down of the ‘faux’ mindfulness movement.” For those unfamiliar with the term, mindfulness is a state of attention that’s strengthened through meditation. It was introduced to the West largely through the assimilation of trends in Buddhist thought. For… Read more

Setting their discussion in the context of traditional blessings to family and the three jewels of Buddhism, a group of young Burmese American Buddhists have put together a moving portrait of their thoughts on the Rohingya. The voices  present the case as a plea to their elders, who told them of the 1988 uprising by monastics against the military, and who came to America to pursue their dreams. We are grateful that you taught us to respect our elders, uphold… Read more

If anyone in the world knows both the depths of tragedy and the power of loving resilience, it is the Dalai Lama. The man lives in exile, having lost his nation and countless countrymen and women. His nonviolent response won him the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989. He has traveled the world speaking to others about universal human values of peace, harmony, and community. He has yet to issue a statement on the latest mass shooting in Las Vegas, which… Read more

A reddit user, “seshiro73” has created a Cheat sheet for Mahayana Buddhism focusing on Zen that many will find helpful. The post includes the message: “Feel free to use as you wish. … May all of you be well. :)” The sheet includes sayings from Bodhidharma, Bankie, Dogen, and the Lankavatara Sutra. It also has key teachings from the Lotus Sutra, the Avatamsaka Sutra, Heart Sutra, Diamond Sutra, and the Flower Sermon (the start of Zen). With the proliferation of teachings… Read more

Thich Nhat Hanh is revered as one of Buddhism’s greatest living masters: a poet, a translator, a peace activist, and most importantly: a teacher of profound depth and meaning to tens of thousands of followers around the world. In his very short commentary on the Heart Sutra, the Heart of Understanding, one chapter is called “Happy Continuation.” Here, Thich Nhat Hanh comments on the line from the Heart Sutra in which the Bodhisattva Avalokita says: “Hear, Shariputra, all dharmas are marked with… Read more

You can read my guest post over at the Buddhism-Controversy Blog, “Revisiting the Crisis in Burma and Buddhism’s Role in it.” According to TIME magazine, there is a growing network of extremist Buddhists across Asia. Scholar Michael Jerryson has written extensively of this network of Islamophobic monks in Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Burma in Lion’s Roar. Certainly, many Buddhists are actively reaching out to their Muslim neighbors and hoping to educate fellow Buddhists that their is nothing to fear in… Read more

I first encountered Namkhai Norbu as a young scholar working on a master’s degree in Buddhist Studies. My degree at the time focused heavily on Indo-Tibetan Buddhism under the tutelage of Paul Williams at Bristol University. For my final paper in the Tibetan Buddhism seminar I chose to write about a simple topic: Dzogchen. Prof. Williams gave me two books with Norbu’s name on them, Primordial Experience: An Introduction to rDzogs-chen Meditation, and Golden Letters: The Three Statements of Garab Dorje, First… Read more

The following comes from the head teachers of the Aro community, a Nyingma lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. It was posted to facebook by a senior teacher, Bar-ché Dorje, and is reposted here with his permission. Reflections on the Ramifications of Disgrace It is not our custom to address those other than our students – but our view has been requested on the recent revelations with regard to Sogyal Lakar – and their implications in respect of Vajrayana Buddhism. We wish both… Read more

The Dalai Lama gave a talk today in India with students from the University of California on a number of topics including the relationship between secular and religious powers. He began by clarifying that “secular” denotes not antagonism toward religion but toward certain religious institutions. In some cases, he says, institutions become rotten, as in the French Revolution. “Real religion means love,” he said, and nobody is against love. But, when elites begin to benefit from institutions, and “when people really… Read more

The solution to all of this difficulty is education… Venerable Thubten Chodron, abbess of Sravasti Abbey in eastern Washington State, recently gave a series of talks addressing Pure Appearances in Tantric Buddhist practice, confronting sexual and other forms of abuse from teachers, and finding the middle way between ignoring ethical violations and abandoning the teachings and practice altogether when conflicts arise. Venerable Thubten Chodron was a student of Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa and shows particular sensitivity to various Western misinterpretations… Read more

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