In Japanese “Most Handsome Monk Contest”, a female meditation teacher wins

Yesterday an organization in Japan held its second annual "Most Handsome Monk Contest" in Tokyo. One participant chopped through 10 cement blocks as part of the talent round. Another monk, a DJ, presented a mock radio program for the audience. But Koyu Osawa, the first ever female participant, won over the audience by leading them through a short meditation practice.In her post-victory interview, Osawa said "I want to connect with people who have never tried it before, or have always wanted … [Read more...]

The Santa Claus Sutra, Christmas becomes Buddhist (Video)

Christmas is less than a week away now, and if Star Wars mania doesn't completely eclipse the popular winter holiday, we'll all be left with the usual yearly questions like "Happy Holiday" or "Merry Christmas"? Or "to tree or not to tree..."Or,"why are all these pagan festivities being practiced by Christians this time of year, anyway?"How about one more question: Could Christmas become a genuine Buddhist holiday?I concluded my university class on Buddhism last week by talking about ways … [Read more...]

Buddhist funerals for… robot dogs? In Japan, yes.

When we think of weird new robots and robot-human relations, what place comes to mind? Probably Japan.In a story first posted by the AFP in February of this year and again just this week in the New York Times, it seems that robot dogs, first introduced in 1999, are beginning to die. Up until last March, Sony, the creator of the Aibo robot dogs had been repairing them, effectively bestowing immortality on the family robotic pets.The pets, equipped with Artificial Intelligence, developed … [Read more...]

Zen is Not Buddhism

Tonight I've taken on the task of "talking about Zen" for our campus Sangha. Not an enviable task for someone who is admittedly very ignorant about the subject. But what is the saying, "fools walk where angels dare not tread"?There are, I think, four ways to "talk about Zen." Or perhaps 4000, or 84,000, or whatever. I like to keep things simple.First, there is a scholarly history of Zen: very textual, lots of dates and names, fancy words with arrows like Zen <-- Ch'an <-- Dhyāna … [Read more...]