A Survey on Secular Buddhism

This week I will be working on a feature article on Secular Buddhism for Buddhistdoor.net and could use your help. While I know a good number of Secular Buddhists, I’d like to hear from as many corners of the (online) Buddhist world as possible. I’m asking a few questions below about Secular Buddhism. You are welcome to answer whether you are a Secular Buddhist or not; and in fact I would love to hear from many non-“Secular” Buddhists. I use the… Read more

A Roundup of Critical Perspectives on Meditation

A guest post by Pierce Salguero I am not a scholar of Buddhist meditation. My own research has only touched on meditation insofar as it was claimed to have therapeutic benefits in a handful of texts in premodern Asia. But, as a long-time on-again/off-again practitioner myself, I have been following the rise of meditation in American popular consciousness over the past 15 years with interest. More recently, I have also begun following the critiques of meditation that have circulated in… Read more

Confronting Our Demons: Courage as the Essence of Buddhism

There is no nobler vision than a willingness to voluntarily encounter the unknown. As human beings, we are designed to go beyond what’s comfortable in order to grow and to develop. Read more

Images of Tibet’s Larung Gar demolition, April 2016 – April 2017

This month, photographer Jesse Rockwell posted images of Larung Gar, a vast monastic complex in eastern Tibet (in China’s Sichuan Province) housing as many as 40,000 Tibetan Buddhist monks and nuns (10,000 being a more likely number). Last July Larung Gar was in the news, as the Chinese government began their demolition of structures there, threatening up to half of the monastics in the area. Click on the image for a larger image. As the image notes, Larung Gar was the world’s largest… Read more

The Dalai Lama criticizes Trump’s “America First” policy

In the video posted by England’s Channel 4 News yesterday (below), the Dalai Lama also discusses the need for a compassionate cultural revolution in China and the possibility of the end of his line of rebirths. Speaking of the Trump policy, he said: “I believe, with admiration, America as a leading nation of the free world. So, some new thinking: ‘Only America’, ‘First America’, right?  ‘America First’ – I feel a little bit… disagreement. As a leading nation of the free… Read more

Daniel Clarkson Fisher offers a “People’s Buddhism” – and B.R. Ambedkar revival

In an excellent article at Political Animal Magazine, Daniel Clarkson Fisher calls for a renewed investigation into the Buddhist liberation theology of the Indian reformer, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar. In the article, Fisher points out the rise in progressive social movements in recent years, from Black Lives Matter and Occupy Wall Street to the recent boosts to organizations like the ACLU and the Democratic Socialists of America. Given this, and the rising attention on the religious left, Fisher asks, “Will those who… Read more

Karmapa Thaye Dorje, one head of the Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism, gets married

Trinley Thaye Dorje has abandoned his monastic life to marry a childhood friend. The ceremony was carried out in private on March 25 and announced today in New Delhi, India. It is not uncommon for Tibetan monks to marry, which is allowed in some sects, or to disrobe. What makes this instance particularly noteworthy is that Thaye Dorje has lived at the center of a dispute in the Kagyu school over its true leadership. The other candidate for the title of… Read more

A Survey on Mindfulness Coaching

With the ever-increasing awareness of mindfulness as a worthwhile practice and skill for everyone, new avenues are being sought to teach and guide new participants. For the last year, I have been teaching small groups the basics of mindfulness using mindfulness of breathing, walking meditations, and loving-kindness, along with other practices. I have also stressed the importance of community, ethics, and philosophy (understanding the nature of oneself and the world) in these classes while doing my best to understand and present… Read more

Bhikkhu Bodhi on Mindfulness in the Buddha’s Words

Mindfulness in the Western world is perhaps best known in the terms of the words of Jon Kabat-Zinn as: “Paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgmentally.” Bodhipaksa of Wildmind presents a helpful breakdown of each part of this sentence after offering his own definition of “the gentle effort to be continuously present with experience.” Culadasa (John Yates, PhD), author of The Mind Illuminated, describes mindfulness in terms of “optimizing the interaction between attention and awareness.” He emphasizes… Read more

Buddhist Monastic Life in China (Photos)

In 2009 I traveled to China to experience Chinese Buddhist monastic life and learn about the practice, philosophy, and history unique to Chan Buddhism. That trip was organized mostly for graduate students in Buddhism or Chinese culture/religion/history but the program has since grown in size and scope to look a bit like the one that was then run separately at Fo Guang Shan monastery in southern Taiwan. My experience with the 2009 program was so positive that I applied for and… Read more

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