Time seems to be slipping by much too fast (again). Aside from my Tibet-watching activities (some new links below), I have been:
- working on getting a job in DC,
- reading articles on Karma so that I can put together a conference proposal, and
- reading on Tibetan Buddhism and Modern Physics
- looking into Confucian, Daoist, and Shinto history (as these may be part of what I’m teaching)
First, some updates on Tibet:
Tibet Monks Disrupt Tour by Journalists to Complain About Lack of Religious Freedom
French President Nicolas Sarkozy has contemplated a French boycott of the opening ceremonies of the upcoming Olympics. This would allow athletes to compete, but still send a message to Beijing. More recently, Daniel Cohn-Bendit, a Green member of the European Parliament, has suggested more sweeping actions on the parts of “civic-minded” athletes, journalists, and others during the Beijing Olympics.
The following comes from a discussion-list I am part of:
In religion, it is useful, when one is able to, to distinguish between narrative and reality, between the conventional and the real, between the constructed and the unconstructed.
The former is like a map, while the latter is the territory.
I thought it worth restating. The context of the quote is in the discussion of Buddhist Pure-Lands, these heavenly realms resided over by a benevolent Buddhist saint or Bodhisattva where practitioners can more easily practice and gain enlightenment. While these realms have evolved into real places in the minds of many practitioners, it is likely that they were initially used as meditation devices: one was to meditate on the beauty, peace, and calm of such a wonderful place in order to bring those qualities into this very world.
The author of the quote, Piya Tan, suggested reading Paul M Harrison’s
“Buddhaanusmr.ti in the Pratyutpanna-buddha-sam.mukhaavasthita-samaadhi-suutra” in the Journal of Indian Philosophy 6 1978:35-57. It’s a daunting title, but worth the work I imagine, if you’re interested in the development of this fascinating aspect of Buddhism.