Dalai Lama Awakening, a Q&A with Director Khashyar Darvich

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Last night I attended a cozy screening of "Dalai Lama Awakening", an extended director's cut of the earlier film "Dalai Lama Renaissance."  The film follows forty scholars and intellectuals who were invited to a 1999 meeting with the Dalai Lama to forge a strategy for solving the world's problems.Enormous task? Yes. And the enormous egos of a few of these folks clearly didn't help. The arc of the movie focuses on a few key individuals as they struggle with India's notoriously difficult c … [Read more...]

Buddhism and Modern Psychology : week five, looking at meditation

Prof. Wright speaks with Joseph Goldstein about self, thoughts, and meditation.

Following the trend from the last couple weeks, I'm once again behind on notes (in fact week six has come and gone too). So I apologize to anyone who has followed along with the videos and these posts; but perhaps this can serve as a welcome reminder.Speaking of reminders, last week (week four) we looked at some modular theories of the mind, which seem to be in vogue in modern psychology circles, and how they may affirm the central Buddhist tenet of not-self. In week three we looked into the … [Read more...]

For May Day: A Pacifist Anarchist Catholic Saint

Happy May Day, fellow workers.Since I already have had a very long day myself, mostly spent on buses to/from/in London, I'll simply re-post, with minor modifications, a favorite blog from last year, one which I later found out was even re-posted at Disinfo.org. And just so you don't think I've forgotten Buddhism completely in this post, please may I introduce (if you don't know him already) Tenzin Tsundue (here is a 2013 HuffPo interview with Tsundue), and of course we cannot ever overlook t … [Read more...]

LSE Conference on the Decades of State-sponsored Destruction of Myanmar’s Rohingya – live tweets and video (UPDATED)

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Perhaps the greatest human rights tragedy of our time is unfolding now in Burma (Myanmar). A number of conferences have been convened over the last couple years to discuss various aspects of the violence there and today we are lucky enough to have global access to one of these conferences, held at the London School of Economics.While academic writers such as myself, Danny Fisher, Paul Fuller and others have consistently written about events in Burma and discussions around them, wide-spread … [Read more...]

Buddhism and Modern Psychology : week four – “What is the *you*, anyway?”

Buddhism and Modern Psychology - week 4

I have slipped a bit further behind this week, I'm afraid, and with some upcoming writing and travel commitments upon me the slide will likely continue.In week four Prof. Wright covered a fair amount of ground in psychology, discussing modular theories of the mind. The modular theory is based on questions about how we make decisions, how variations in our environment might change those decisions, and how we (in both 1st and 3rd person) understand that decision making process.He … [Read more...]

Ethnocentric Buddhism continued…

Rohingya and supporters protest in front of the White House in May, 2013. photo via

Coming just off the heals of the 20th anniversary of the beginning of the Rwandan genocide, we are called ever more clearly to understand conflicts in the world that might lead to such horrors. What is happening in Burma today eerily reflects the ethnic divides and hateful rhetoric that precipitated the murder of over 800,000 Rwandans (primarily ethnic Tutsis) in 1994.In addition to attacks in recent years, this January, mobs of (ethnic Rakhine) Buddhists massacred Rohingya Muslims in the … [Read more...]

Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche speaks on Universal Responsibility at Harvard Divinity School

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Earlier this month, Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche gave a one-day seminar on the topic of Universal Responsibility to students at Harvard Divinity School. From the video page: In this one night seminar given to students at Harvard University's School of Divinity, Kongtrul Rinpoche explains that not all learning is academic. In fact, the best kind of education shapes our hearts just as much as our minds. Self-reflecting upon experience and coming to see that all beings share the same internal life -- … [Read more...]

Coursera’s Buddhism and Modern Psychology : week three

Buddhism and Modern Psychology - week 3

I'm a bit later than usual posting on week 3 (week 4 lectures have just been posted). Such is life. Part of the reason is that the topic this week was "not-self"(anātman in Sanskrit, anattā in Pāli) in Buddhism and in Modern Psychology, which I am not terribly interested in writing more about at this time.I've written extensively about the topic here, here (on metaphysics),here (comparing with Sartre), and here; along with guest posts at Danny Fisher's blog and (around the topic of purific … [Read more...]


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