Humans and Bonobos: Violence and a Thyroid Hormone

Following on something I mentioned in my last post, that the American people (all societies, really) are growing in morality, there is a new study supporting this presupposition that is worth examining. There I pointed back to a 2012 post featuring the work of Steven Pinker, who has influenced me greatly in this matter. In the recent study, published in the journal Nature and reported by the AP: As a group, mammals average a lethal violence rate against their own of about three killings of t … [Read more...]

Mutuality at the Limits of Race – A Buddhist Perspective

A guest post by Doshin Nathan Woods “A Black Man is a person who must ride ‘Jim Crow’ in Georgia…”--W.E.B Du Bois As I walked to the Zendo the helicopters droned distantly overhead.  The muffled announcement reverberating through the neighborhood: “White or Hispanic male….wearing a white t-shirt…..”  Indistinct, my attention turned to the matter at hand, where, upon stepping into the Zendo, I was about my business:  “Hi, excuse me, sorry to interrupt, but the Zendo is closed right now, woul … [Read more...]

Buddhist mindfulness, morality, and Protestant presumptions

In case you've been living under a rock, mindfulness is all the rage these days. Since January I have filed away nearly every story on or popular mention of 'mindfulness' that crossed my path. At current, I'm at 43 links and I'm certain it's just a drop in the bucket of what's out there. I have a lawyer in Florida explaining "Mindfulness: What it is and how it helps" a Cosmopolitan article explaining (above a picture of Jennifer Aniston): Jo Usmar, Cosmo's ex-Sex and the Not So Single Girl, has … [Read more...]

Encountering the 16th Karmapa and living Buddhism in the West today [UPDATED with contributors]

Shang Shung Publications, an Italian publisher founded around the teachings of Chögyal Namkhai Norbu and of other greats from the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, has a new book out called The Miraculous 16th Karmapa: Incredible Encounters with the Black Crown Buddha (Amazon/Shang Shung).I was kindly offered not only an advance copy of the book to read, but also an opportunity to send a couple questions to some of the contributors to this memorable volume. I picked four contributors, all rather r … [Read more...]

Rohatsu, Bodhi/Enlightenment Day

Today is the day that Japanese Zen schools celebrate Rohatsu, also known as the Buddha’s enlightenment day (Japanese: Jōdō-e, 成道会). Many Zen Buddhists mark this day often the week leading up to it with diligent practice, as James Ford (from Monkey Mind) did; and here's his post-Rohatsu sesshin post.In the Western Buddhist world, it is probably the second best known Buddhist holiday after Vesak (Pali: Vesākha), which is still celebrated according to the lunar calendar, taking place on the full … [Read more...]

Buddhists of the World Unite

The Voice of America reported Wednesday that Buddhists recently met in New Delhi, India with the goal of forming an umbrella organization or voice for Buddhists around the world. In an interview with VOA Wednesday, Lama Lobzang said: "The main responsibility of our organization is the preservation of Buddhist heritage sites including over 100 Buddhist meditative caves in Indian states such as Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Madhya Pradesh. These ancient Buddhist sites that were previously neglected n … [Read more...]

Guns, Race, and the Military: further Buddhist responses to the Navy Yard Shooting

This will most likely be the last I write on this topic. Discussions on my previous post are ongoing (here, here, and here), and appear to be getting increasingly thoughtful. And folks in Washington DC are beginning to lament the fact that the news cycle has passed this by, The mass shooting America barely noticed and Not all mass shootings are equal in the eyes of the media or the public.But before moving on completely, I did want to note two Buddhist blogs that have introduced other … [Read more...]

Two more must-reads on Buddhism and Aaron Alexis/the Navy Yard Shooting

As with any human tragedy of this kind, there are countless angles or perspectives from which to view and discuss the shootings earlier this week. In this post and the next I'll highlight four that I found particularly useful. The first two draw our attention to our religious stereotyping of both Buddhism and Islam:Navy Yard shooting puts Buddhism in spotlight: Column by Stephen Prothero. Prothero is a professor in Boston University's religion department and author of several books on … [Read more...]