Detroit: Intimacy with Racial Hatred and the Suffering it Causes

Director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal have teamed up twice before, on The Hurt Locker (2008) and Zero Dark Thirty (2012). It is tempting, then, to see Detroit as the climax of this team’s war trilogy, where the war comes home. The film brings us to the city in the summer of 1967. It is set off with a series of images drawn from Jacob Lawrence paintings showing the rising racial segregation of the city, the promise and failure of… Read more

Buddhism, Patriarchy, Abuse, and Violence: We Need to Talk

What may surprise some Western Buddhists is that many of the same beliefs and structures that led to and continue to support abuses in the Catholic Church and American police forces also exist in many Buddhist communities. Read more

On the Death of a Teacher: A Buddhist Teaching

The early Buddhists texts contain a treasure trove of teachings. I have not read them all, and perhaps never will. For they are like a great set of tools, to be used as needed. One can touch or handle all of them but understand the depths or purpose of none. The Buddha famously gave teachings specific to the hearer, suggesting that at least some of the teachings should not be taken as universal in their application. It is better, in… Read more

Can Western Appropriation of Buddhism, Mindfulness, and Yoga be Good?

As Buddhism continues to mature in the Western world, we are currently seeing an explosion of one particular aspect of the religion: mindfulness. As we look at the growth of mindfulness practice today, along with its relationship to various forms of Buddhism in the West and around the world, it is often helpful to look at a similar “Eastern” practice that has taken up roots in the West: yoga. I put “Eastern” in scare quotes because some writing has recently suggested that… Read more

Buddhism, Christianity, and an Emerging Superpower: An Interview with Michael Wood from “The Story of China”

This month I have the wonderful opportunity to share with you a review of The Story of China and an interview with the documentary’s narrator, Michael Wood. If you have not been watching the program as it has aired on PBS in recent weeks, you can still catch the finale this week (check listings) and of course there will be DVDs and streaming options available. I highly recommend watching all of it; but history buffs interested in just one period… Read more

Tibet Women’s Soccer Team to Play in Vancouver After U.S. Visa Denial

The Tibetan Women’s Soccer team was denied entry into the United States as reported here in February. As I wrote then: 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.” In March, a pair of Republican congressmen from New Jersey… Read more

An End of Academic Critique: Mindfulness and a Philosophy of Humility

Teetering on the edge of academia, I watch eagerly as each new hiring cycle rises and falls. This year marks the first season that my PhD, the longest single endeavor of my life, is finally done. My parents and many of their generation assured me throughout that once that diploma was in hand, the doors to milk and honey would be opened. Or at least an entry level job with benefits. But they were living in the past. I, along… Read more

Re-Fleshing Mindfulness with Buddhism, Dr. Miles Neale

My earliest academic Buddhist teacher, Alan Sponberg, had the apt Dharma name Saramati, “one who gets to the pith of things.” I remember an exercise he gave to a group of students early on. He had us write down the Buddhadharma in three words. I scribbled something like: “Buddha, Dharma, Sangha.” Not bad, I suppose, but still on the surface of things. Dr. Sponberg suggested, “Just. Let. Go.” Often, when teaching a new idea or practice, it helps to try to boil it… Read more

Introducing Hey Mama! a children’s ebook on Meditation

Andrew Berkley Sharp is a 25 year-old social worker living just south of Seattle. He has been interested in meditation since his late teens, writing, “I was a bit depressed at the time, experiencing periods of insomnia along with fluctuations in weight, and when I encountered Buddhist philosophy and meditation it was very much a moment of something mentally “clicking” into place for me. I was studying psychology at the time, and I graduated from UC Santa Cruz with a B.A…. Read more

Gianforte Grabbed Jacobs by the Neck With Both Hands and Slammed Him – Then Punched Him…

It’s not often that I write about local politics lately, but this story is worth reporting. Read more

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