Buddhist Activism in an age of neo-fascism and “alternative facts”

I sit in a basement cafe in downtown Seattle. I worry a bit about finances here, or class sign-ups there. But I'm okay. And odds are, so are you. Who is next? We're in the midst of something, though, that could change all of that. There is a range of wise view on just how quickly that will happen and how severely, from the oft-quoted "we're screwed" to the increasingly pollyannish "wait and see."Already, if you're one of estimated 100,000 people who had your visa revoked due to the recent … [Read more...]

On Kant, Contempt, and our Buddhist path(s) forward

Karen Stohr, associate professor of philosophy at Georgetown University and senior research scholar at Georgetown’s Kennedy Institute of Ethics, wrote a thoughtful piece for the NYTimes this week titled, "Our New Age of Contempt." Her article concludes: Privately expressed contempt may be cathartic. Publicly expressed contempt, however, is perilous. As Kant recognized, it threatens the foundations of our political community by denying the central moral idea on which that community is based — tha … [Read more...]

We Cannot Report a Lie: Has NPR been Gaslighted by Trump?

If you've never had to look up "gaslighting" in the dictionary, consider yourself lucky. I have - twice now - been so thoroughly deceived and subtly manipulated that I began to question my own grasp on reality - my own memories, my own emotional balance and response in a relationship.Each time it took months to regain my confidence and reclaim the truth that these people were manipulative, narcissistic, and deceitful (i.e. lying). Having that realization, and being able to say it, … [Read more...]

Buddhists in a Democracy: Be Political, but not Partisan

This year's election and the impending inauguration of Donald Trump have drawn out some heated discussions about the role Buddhism ought to be playing in our political system. Two articles that come to the forefront, in part for espousing different views on the topic, are Jiryu Mark Rutschman-Byler's article Buddhism is Apolitical? (Or, Stop Trying to Wiggle Out of the Damn Koan!), updated at Lion's Roar as Isn’t Buddhism Supposed to Be Apolitical? and Brad Warner's Should Plumbing Be Politic … [Read more...]

Buddhist Gladness for a Trump Victory

The Bubble Like many inside the liberal bubble, I have had (and continue to have) a tough time with November's election results. Our team lost. Their team won. And by our team, I include the disabled children who now face more bullying, the LGBTQ community who face the possibility of lost rights, Muslims, Native Americans, all people of color, women, and anyone else who now lives in heightened fear of attacks or has faced them already. A fair amount of my dukkha in the last several weeks has … [Read more...]

Thich Nhat Hanh disciple offers Buddhist Wisdom for a World Gripped by Fear

The Vietnamese Zen monk Thich Nhat Hanh has been a source of deep wisdom in times of global political stress for over 50 years. In 1967 he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Martin Luther King Jr. In his nomination Dr. King said, "I do not personally know of anyone more worthy of [this prize] than this gentle monk from Vietnam. His ideas for peace, if applied, would build a monument to ecumenism, to world brotherhood, to humanity."Last month, Thich Nhat Hanh celebrated his 90th bi … [Read more...]

Tibetan Buddhist immigrant told: ‘get the f— out of my country’

Tenzin Dorjee is from Bhutan, the tiny kingdom in the Himalayas made famous by its adherence to the idea that Gross National Happiness is at least as important as Gross Domestic Product. He is a practicing Buddhist, for whom "being peaceful is a huge part of his religion and identity."As an immigrant in America, he has faced racism and discrimination, but nothing like what happened to him last week.On November 9th, the day after Donald Trump's election, he was accosted outside his local … [Read more...]

Day 1 after the election, solidarity and kindness

A LOT of feelings came up for me Tuesday night. After teaching meditation, I turned on my phone to see a text from my girlfriend reading, "I'm pretty freaked out right now." I noted it as I walked to my car, unsure then (around 9pm MST) of what was going on exactly in the election.When I got home it was a clear, crisp night. I took a deep breath outside of my car. I looked at all of the stars I could see. So many brilliant bits of light sent to us from the distant past.A shooting star … [Read more...]