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

The Dalai Lama Continues to Push Secular Ethics Over Buddhism

Last week the Tibetan spiritual leader offered talks to three groups of students at his residence in Dharamsala, India. The students came from the U.S., Canada, and 25 students from the Tong Len [Tibetan for ‘giving and taking’] charitable trust based in North India. Rather than pushing traditional Tibetan teachings or verbatim scripture, the Dalai Lama urged students to pursue peace in the coming century. He emphasized the importance of cultivating reason and the basic human capacity for compassion in… Read more

U.S. Congress re-introduces “Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act” amidst rise in tensions over the Dalai Lama’s travels

In the long shadow of the recent Trump-Xi meeting lingers a bill in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate that seeks to guarantee open access to Tibet for American citizens. Introduced just before the meeting early last month, the bill seeks greater access to the region for U.S. officials, journalists, and other citizens. The bill finds that, despite claims of openness by the Chinese government, heavy restrictions and frequent denial of travel documents has been observed, especially… Read more

Settling into Online Meditation with Guideful

Mindfulness: Where We Are There is no escaping it. Mindfulness is everywhere these days. And while it hasn’t hit the cultural saturation of meditation and yoga just yet, it is steadily on the rise (as shown in this Google NGRAM viewer, which goes through 2008): Mindfulness, while still lacking a single widely accepted definition, is a quality or skill being sought out more and more in today’s fast-paced and heavily distracted world. The founder of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), Jon… Read more

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