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

Bangladesh: “They have come in their thousands, crossing hills and rivers, marshes and rice paddies for the chance to cross into Bangladesh and escape the mass killings they say are being perpetrated against their people.” This is how in-depth coverage of the crisis in Burma by Euan McKirdy, Rebecca Wright and Z. Saeed, of CNN begins. According to UN estimates, they continue, 50,000 Rohingya (a predominantly Muslim ethnic group in Burma*) have been forced to flee their homes, over half reaching neighboring Bangladesh,… Read more

On Saturday, August 26, a Black Lives Matter rally and march was held in downtown Seattle, WA. News accounts suggest several hundred were in attendance, though I would say at least a thousand, perhaps 1500 people, were there. The event was organized by the Black Freedom Front of Seattle with the following message: As we watch that hate and racism is alive and well in the United States- we must not only stand up to hate and racism but defeat it to as… Read more

What can I say about the eclipse – the experience of totality? When I first looked into the coming total eclipse of the sun, I heard that it would be epic, life changing, a “religious experience” and so on. And I heard this not from hippies or millennials but from scientists, nerds, good skeptics with otherwise sober and sane views of life. I made my plan to see it, dragging my partner Beth along, quite willingly of course. Coming from… Read more

This October (6th-8th), you can join me and others at a beautiful lakeside retreat center on Flathead Lake in NW Montana. The retreat will offer an opportunity to step out of our busy, noisy, hectic every-day lives for two nights to quiet the mind and simply look within. The idea of a “retreat” goes far back in both Eastern and Western religious and philosophical traditions and we will draw from both, but primarily Buddhist thought and practices (sitting and walking… Read more

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