Thich Nhat Hanh on an autumn leaf: life, death, continuation

three leaves

Thich Nhat Hanh is revered as one of Buddhism's greatest living masters: a poet, a translator, a peace activist, and most importantly to most: a teacher of profound depth and meaning to tens of thousands of followers around the world. It has been over a month since our last health update, and given the trajectory over the last 11 month, it seems that cautious optimism is still warranted.Yet, even as his health continues to improve, his followers have been faced with the question of … [Read more...]

Influence and Originality in the Buddhist tradition

Maroon robed Tibetan Buddhist monks practicing philosophical debate, using the mala to illustrate a good point, coaching, argument, at His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama's monastery in Dharamsala, India, on pilgrimage in 1992

It has become fashionable these days, in both academic and more popular writing, to describe recent developments in Buddhist thought and practice as being influenced by certain Western trends. The most common and broad trend applied is "Protestantism." The idea here is that in the face of colonial powers, from roughly the 18th century give or take and speeding up into the 19th and early 20th, Asian Buddhists have altered their traditions to be more like Protestant Christians.There are good … [Read more...]

“Buddha” on Mars and other bizarre Martian theories

mars buddha2

Remember this word: Pareidolia.We'll come back to that in a moment.Sarcasm in print is always tricky. In pithy stories reporting science news, all the more so. Thus a well-earned tip of the hat is owed to the folks over at Discovery News for their coverage of the alleged Buddha statue showing up in one of last week's Mars Curiosity Rover photographs. Pointing to two real space science stories, they conclude: Sure, they told us about liquid water on Mars today and the odd glint from a st … [Read more...]

Meditation and a Busy Lifestyle: Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche

Mingyur Rinpoche-lazy meditation

Here's a new video from Mingyur Rinpoche, founder of Bodhgaya’s giant Tergar Monastery and author of numerous widely praised books on Buddhist practice including The Joy of Living: Unlocking the Secret and Science of Happiness and Joyful Wisdom: Embracing Change and Finding Freedom. In August I posted his video on the topic: “I’m Too Lazy to Start a Meditation Practice.” As I wrote then: "substitute “Busy” for “Lazy” and I think we’ll have most of the non-meditating world covered." And as chanc … [Read more...]

The importance of texts and their authenticity in Buddhism

By the Book, Tibetan Text Experts, Master of Ceremonies assists Dagchen Rinpoche, closing the Hevajra Mandala, Tharlam Monastery, Kathmandu, Nepal (photo by flickr user Wonderlane; C.C. 2.0)

Teaching, travels, an upcoming conference, and more exciting things are keeping me too busy at the moment to write everything I'd like to be writing at the moment. But a series about teaching Buddhism has been on my mind since the semester started and I'd like to at least start posting little notes, vignettes of a sort.This one is called, "The importance of texts and their authenticity in Buddhism." Texts Texts, as preservers of the word of the Buddha, have always been of profound … [Read more...]

Gun Violence and the Paradox of our Time

dalai lama paradox

This is a slightly edited version of a reflection I was asked to give at today's Big Sky Unitarian Universalist fellowship. The given topic was the poem, often attributed to the Dalai Lama, called The Paradox of our Time (or Age). An original, lengthier text by that title is by Bob Moorehead (on the false attribution to the Dalai Lama read here). The Paradox of our Time When I was first invited to offer a reflection on this poem I read it and thought about the importance of … [Read more...]

Dalai Lama biography: “Man of Peace” is nearing its crowdfunding goal

(still from above video)

With just under a month to go, the illustrated graphic novel of the Dalai Lama's life is now less than $3000 short of its crowdfunding goal of $25,000.In his latest update on the progress of this biography of the Dalai Lama, Robert Thurman announces that they are just 2-3 months away from completion, needing to color and polish the last set of pages. Then the book will be sent to the printer for its first edition, with the goal that it is out before the coming Losar (Tibetan New Year), … [Read more...]

Dalai Lama leaves Mayo Clinic in good health and good spirits [Video] (UPDATED)


The Rochester Minnesota based Post Bulletin reported today that the Dalai Lama has been released from his stay at the Mayo Clinic, where he had been admitted last week after a routine check-up. He was greeted there by dozens of traditionally dressed Tibetans, who were invited to come to him for blessings.The Dalai Lama canceled a series of October appearances in the United States on advice from his U.S. doctors. No specific issues have been named, the 80 year-old religious leader has simply b … [Read more...]