This page is currently under development, so please be patient as I add more of the past guest authors below. It is my goal in 2016 and beyond to get more great Buddhist practitioners and academics along with philosophers, ecologists, and political thinkers to contribute to the blog, expanding it from just one American Buddhist Perspective to many American Buddhist Perspectives.
If you have a story to tell, opinion to voice, or event to share, please email me at Buddhistethics AT gmail dot com.
- Length: Articles should be 800-1200 words in length. Shorter or longer ones may be accepted but these tend to get less engagement from readers.
- Article Type: We would love to feature all types of writing here, especially perspectives that are underrepresented in mainstream writing/magazines/blogs/etc.
- Academic: Have you read “Prof, no one is reading you” or “Citations are not enough…” or similar pieces published in the last few years, stating that the academic journal article is read in its entirety by about 10 people? Several scholars noted below have used this blog to reach hundreds and sometimes several thousands of readers.
- Timely and Newsworthy: If you are knowledgeable of particular individuals, groups, or places in the news and want to share your knowledge on the events/history, this is a great place to do so.
- Personal Practice/Experience: Use your own practice and experiences to educate readers on a type of meditation, a teacher, a retreat center, etc.
- Others: Let me know if you have other ideas.
- Pictures: “are worth a thousand words.” An optional, small “head shot” should come with every article to go at the bottom with your bio. Other images tied to the piece that are owned by you are very helpful.
- Bio: All guest pieces should come with a short bio to go at the bottom. See below for examples.
- Editing: Please send the piece in its finalized form (proof read, double-checked, etc.). I’ll check for errors as I can, but I cannot do major editing and once it is posted, it is very difficult to make changes.
- Technicalities/legalities: By submitting work you authorize Patheos Inc. and Justin S Whitaker to use the work in perpetuity. You also retain ownership and copyright of the work, meaning you are free to re-use/publish the work elsewhere.
- Please treat this like a print publication: once it’s printed, it’s printed (changes/redactions/etc should not be made).
Below are past guest posts and interviews. Not all are listed here and more will be added as time allows.
December 9, 2016. Finding Forgiveness During Challenging Times by Emily J. Hooks
Understanding and practicing forgiveness has never been more important than it is today. As tensions around the world rise, we are called to stay ever more vigilant to the energy we put out into the world… Ironically, many of us who claim to understand this universal principle are reacting passionately out of fear and expecting to make a positive difference…. read on.
November 7, 2016. Buddhism and Politics: Applying the First Precept by Andy Lambert
This has been a huge (or should I say YUUGE?) test of metta. Loving Kindness meditation is an important Buddhist Practice. Those of us who have spent some time in various forms of practice… read on.
November 4, 2016. A Quick Guide to Loving-Kindness Meditation by Tom Clements
Meditation, like any skill, requires a lot of practice and perseverance. It’s not what many of these self-help guides and relaxation tapes will have you believe. You don’t switch off your brain by… read on.
October 31, 2016. A Buddhist Prospective US Army Chaplain Candidate on the election by Robert Shuken Ju-Etsu McCarthy
I see Buddhism and politics as water and oil and they really should not mix. The idea of the separation of church and state is important to me. Political groups tied to religious organizations often cause trouble… read on.
October 25, 2016. 60 Years of the Indian Buddhist Revival by David Viradhamma Creighton
On October 11, 1956 the leader of India’s “untouchable” community stood before 400,000 of his followers in the city of Nagpur and led them in a mass conversion to Buddhism. Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar had tried for decades… read on.
October 18, 2016. Why it’s important never to be too attached to Buddhism by Tom Clements
When I first discovered Buddhism, I was severely depressed and was looking for a way out of the squalid depths of misery and despair an illness like depression inflicts on an individual. Following the dharmic path enabled me to become more altruistic, compassionate and… read on.
August 15, 2016. Mindfulness – not just a technique! by Ravi Pradhan
In the West, mindfulness is often presented as just a technique, and widely claimed to be secularized by Western experts. Where and how did such a perspective emerge?.. read on.
July 4, 2016. “Health” in the Buddhism and Science Dialogue by Kin Cheung
In the current dialogue between Buddhist traditions and the sciences—an engagement dominated by Buddhists on one side and psychologistson the other—the subject of health is featured prominently. However, despite the shared term, participants aren’t actually talking about the same thing… read on.
May 27, 2016. “The Beginner’s Guide to Mindfulness: 8 Helpful Tips” by Janet Miller
You don’t have to be a Buddhist (or a hippy) to practice mindfulness, and you don’t have to spend hours sitting on the floor in meditation. Practicing mindfulness is simply bringing awareness to yourself and your existence. By practicing mindfulness in your life, you can feel more focused, less stressed, and more happy… read on.
May 18, 2016. On Some Criticisms of Modern Mindfulness by Doug Smith
Is the contemporary mindfulness movement a kind of “fad” that misconstrues the essential message of the Buddha? Pieces by Edwin Ng and Ron Purser and Stephen Schettini, not to mention the earlier “McMindfulness” critique by Purser and Loy argue that this is so… read on.
April 23, 2016. The Souse Family and Buddhism’s Fifth Precept by Daniel D. Woo
A few years earlier I also confronted my excesses with alcohol … and realized that I was becoming what I feared most, to be a drunk Chinese asshole. Therefore, it was for me not a coincidence that shortly afterwards I adopted Buddhism… read on.
April 11, 2016. Letting identity arise unimpeded: Buddhism confronting racism by Lama Justin von Bujdoss (Repa Dorje Odzer)
By directly confronting bias, becoming aware of it (through the matrix of shamatha/vipassana) and resting in where the experience of awareness of my particular racism, sexism, homophobia, classism, etc. arises, there is an opportunity to experience the clarity… read on.
April 4, 2016. Mindfulness and Self-Care: Why Should I Care? by Ed Ng with Ron Purser
Though we are skeptical about celebratory claims, we actually do hope that mindfulness might become a disruptive technology to transform prevailing systems. However, we insist on the importance of collective attentiveness towards the workings of power… read on.
March 31, 2016. Mutuality at the Limits of Race – A Buddhist Perspective by Doshin Nathan Woods
My journey to the Buddhadharma has been intimately tied up with race in the United States. It was the pain of growing up what some would call multi-racial—and hence ambiguously brown—that led me to my first meditation session, and it was the promise of release and fellowship that brought me back over and over again… read on.
March 23, 2016. Building Bridges of Loving-kindness: Mongolia’s Rich History and Culture of Buddhism by Michael Fouts
At the heart of the Mongolian people’s spiritual re-connection and under the spiritual guidance of HH Dalai Lama is the Grand Maitreya Project. The Project aims to help further Mongolia’s cultural revival by building the world’s largest beacon of Loving – Kindness. At the projects center will be a 177 foot tall statue of the standing Maitreya Bodhisattva… read on.
March 15, 2016. Buddhism and Health: Illuminating the Spectrum of Therapies, by Pierce Salguero
For scholars of Chinese Buddhism and of Chinese religions more generally, none of the above is particularly surprising. The charismatic male leader with a cadre of proselytizing devotees, the explicit focus on health benefits, the conceptualization of magical power as a type of currency, the unseen host of ghosts and deities that can harm and help ordinary humans, the possibilities for miraculous transformations… read on.
February 11, 2016. Pain and Freedom: A Buddhist’s Meditation Journey, by Daniel D. Woo
Saturday, January 30, I attended an all-day retreat at the Seattle Insight Meditation Center led by two teachers in the Insight Meditation lineages. In addition to several 30 minutes unguided silent sitting meditations, the teachers had the participants practice two self-inquiry walking meditations. The first one required contemplating two questions during 30 minutes of mindful walking: (1) Where is my physical Dukkha; and (2) How does this lead to personal freedom? read on.
February 9, 2016. How colour blinds: A Burmese-Canadian-Buddhist on the many tones of belongingness, by Lynette Monteiro
The issue of identity and identifying in the context of race and the experience of racism is interesting; at times fascinating and supportive, at times a curiousity and sometimes almost anachronistic, and at times divisive and isolating. I’ve mentioned elsewhere in my writings that I was born in Burma and left when I was 11 years old… read on.
February 5, 2016. Among the Sangha: An African American Buddhist in the Zendo, by Secundra Beasley
It is 4 o’clock in the morning on a Saturday. Service starts at 8:30 a.m. I need to be at the Zendo by 8 a.m. for set up. From my residence, I walk down a steep hill, to reach a bus stop. The bus will take me to a terminal where I catch a transit train that crosses from the East to the West section of Cleveland. From there, it is approximately a 20 minute walk from the train stop to the Zendo door… read on.
February 4, 2016. Crossing the Great Divides in U.S. Buddhism, by Mushim (Patricia) Ikeda
The recent cover image of the first issue of Lion’s Roar magazine, showing 14 U.S. Buddhist teachers who are beautifully diverse in some ways, provocatively and boldly titled “The New Face of Buddhism,” has excited both praise as well as substantial deconstructive critique… read on.
February 3, 2016. African American Buddhism – a manual for an Age of Enlightenment, by Lama Choyin Rangdrol
Preface: This book is for African Americans interested in practicing Buddhist meditation. The approach is based on a new kind of intentional community building plan. One that banishes beliefs and practices historically used to corral, enslave, and exploit the Black Mind. In fact, the pages ahead offer a Buddhist plan to end the vestige of slavery in African American minds forever… read on.
February 2, 2016. The Tibetan Feminist Collective, an interview with co-founder Tenzin Pelkyi
I think the notion of what constitutes a ‘real Tibetan’, and who gets to determine this idea of ‘Tibetanness’, is going to be a constant source of tension for Tibetans both inside and outside Tibet. There is a very real, growing generational gap and an ongoing political crisis in our homeland… read on.
January 8, 2016. What is Buddhist Medicine? by Pierce Salguero
Every Buddhist tradition of which I am aware has something to say about illness, health, and healing. An interest in the mind-body relationship and its relationship to mental and physical suffering goes back to the very origins of Buddhism. The tradition developed in India in the last half-millennium BC, at the same time and in the same social circles as other ascetic groups… read on.
January 7, 2016. Race Matters in Buddhist Communities, by Craig Hase
The first time I heard about a person of color (POC) retreat, I was living in a Zen monastery in the Colorado Rockies, reading Tricycle magazine in a rare, and therefore savored, moment of free time. I saw an ad for a POC retreat at IMS. My first thought, as a white male who had been practicing for over a decade, was, Why do we need that? The Dharma, I reasoned, was for everyone… read on.
January 3, 2016. The Dukkha of Racism: Racial Inclusion and Justice in American Convert Buddhism, by Ann Gleig
On July 1 2015, a website titled “Buddhists for Racial Justice” started circulating across Buddhist social media. It included an open letter that spoke of the deep sadness at the murders of the nine members of the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, Carolina on June 17, 2015. These murders were not only the result of an individual deluded by racial hatred and a desire to start a race war… read on.
May 26, 2015. All Good Intentions: But does Sam Harris have what it takes to be Buddhist? by Marek Sullivan
The recent email scuffle between linguistics professor and political commentator Noam Chomsky, and atheist neuroscientist Sam Harris has brought to light the severity of Harris’s emphasis on intention as the ultimate moral parameter in questions of military ethics. According to Harris, “Ethically speaking, intention is (nearly) the whole story.” read on.
May 21, 2015. Buddhist Ethics for an Age of Technological Change, by Doug Smith
We live at the apex of a long era of revolutionary change, with deep roots in history. This change has accelerated over the past centuries due to the technologies gained from empirical and scientific investigation. Our change stems from a process of increasing knowledge of our world, leading to an increasing effectiveness with which we manipulate it to suit our wishes… read on.
March 20, 2015. Buddhism, psychology, mindfulness, and his upcoming retreat by Dharma Punx teacher Josh Korda
Dharma Punx is a lot of things; certainly a community of people interested in pursuing spiritual lives, based on core buddhist principles of compassion, wisdom, meditation, social interactions based on egalitarianism rather than wealth, power, status. Dharma Punx was started by Noah Levine, who brought to buddhist teaching via rigorous, honest self-disclosure … read on.
February 27, 2015. “Why am I here?” – a post-event interview with veteran journalist and university teacher, Eileen Flynn
[W]hen Shaykh Umer was describing how a Muslim should live —do good, be kind — an audience member tweeted that it reminded her of the Dalai Lama’s statement that “my religion is kindness.” We don’t often hear people comparing Muslim clerics to the Dalai Lama these days. It made me really happy… read on.
February 23, 2015. Intersections of Gender, Identity, and Buddhism: an interview with LGBTIQ meditation teacher La Sarmiento
There are very few opportunities for the LGBTIQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, and Queer) community to practice mindfulness meditation together. Historically, my 2015 Garrison LGBTIQ Retreat co-teacher Eric Kolvig along with lesbian dharma teacher Arinna Weisman pioneered LGBT (the “I” was no yet a part of the acronym) retreats over 20 years ago. A large LGBTQ retreat has been held at the Spirit Rock Meditation Center… read on.
February 17, 2015. “Why am I here?” – an interview with Zen priest and interfaith dialogue participant, Rev. Dr. David Zuniga
Buddhism is a vast tradition. Some forms of Buddhism, such as Pureland Buddhism, can be very belief-based. And it’s ok for Buddhists to disagree! Generally the differences between Buddhism are very small, but Buddhism does teach different ways to follow the dharma, which is good because people need different paths. The Buddha spoke in different ways to different people depending on their needs… read on.
August 21, 2014. Trans*Buddhism, an interview with the creators of transbuddhists.org
When cisgender people take time to learn more about trans*ness and what it can be like to live as a trans* person, they can find points of connection around shared human experience. For example, while someone who is cisgender may not identify with a particular difficult situation faced by a trans* person, it’s very possible that they can connect to emotions associated with that experience… read on.
March 18, 2014. Are you screaming at me? Stopping the noise, by Daniel D. Woo
As a child I grew up in a family with a father filled with rage, intemperate emotions and verbal abuse and sometimes physical violence. My dad was a former P-51 fighter pilot who flew with the Kuomintang in the Chinese Civil War, where over 80 fellow pilots from my dad’s squadrons died, and where… read on.
March 2, 2014. Translating Meditation in Popular American Media, by Pierce Salguero
TIME magazine’s 2 Feb 2014 cover announces the arrival of the “Mindful Revolution.” The publication joins a flurry of recent examples confirming that a shift is taking place in the representation of meditation in American popular media.This is not the first time that meditation has been featured by TIME—a strikingly similar cover was published on 4 Aug 2003… read on.
January 10, 2014. Traveller, by Naga R. Dhoopati
When you look at the pictures of India, you see beauty, the Taj-Mahal, temples, and beautiful clothing. When you really step in, you see more things like this. I feel people don’t see them as a problem at all. It is unnoticed, and uncared environment. It surprises me that on one side, you see the cleanliness of people during prayers and at temples, but such images lead us to forget that there are real people who are living in dirt… read on.
November 4, 2013. “AKONG a remarkable life” – an interview by Lisa Tully
Many of you may have heard about the recent and tragic death of the Tibetan master Akong Tulku Rinpoche. He set up many Dharma centres around the world where people could learn and practice the principles of Buddhism. In London, a group of filmmakers are in the process of making a documentary about him… This project actually began over two years ago and now due to his untimely death is more imperative than ever before. … read on.
October 9, 2013. Introducing the Middle Way Society, an interview with Robert M. Ellis
The participants in this retreat had come together initially through the Secular Buddhist movement. However, we wanted to create something rather different from Secular Buddhism, with a clearer philosophical foundation to help us get beyond the religious-secular divide and a greater openness to people from other traditional backgrounds. Seeing the Middle Way as a principle of universal applicability… read on.
May 16, 2013. Shinnyo-en, esoteric Japanese Buddhism for laypeople, spreading around the world, an interview with Her Holiness Shinso Ito.
This particular branch began in 1936 as a community within Shingon Buddhism, a lineage started in Japan by a monk named Kūkai in the 8th-9th century CE. The founder of Shinnyo-en, Master Shinjo Ito, was trained in the Shingon Buddhist Daigo School… read on.
March 22, 2013. Femicide, by Naga R. Dhoopati
There have been many cases where a girl’s life has become a burden to her parents, especially in India. Femicide is one practice used to reduce the population of girls. Giving and taking a dowry is still practiced in India in many forms, though there are laws against it. What you can do… read on.
March 14, 2013. Maladjusted Buddhism, by Nathan Thompson
What I am interested in are the ways in which the meld of psychological understandings and Buddhist teachings reinforces white, middle class norms, and limits our understanding both of liberation and how that might unfold into action in the world… read on.
March 3, 2013. Quiet Up! A guest post by Robert M. Ellis
I’ve just finished reading Susan Cain’s book Quiet, which is deservedly popular, personally engaging, and full of interesting links to Middle Way Philosophy. It is a book about introversion which points out the way that Western (especially American) culture is especially dominated by extroversion. It also points out the value of introverted traits, and the ways that introverts and extroverts are mutually dependent… read on.
July 2, 2012. How to Save the World, by Lodro Rinzler
The first week I arrived at college the twin towers fell. I remember getting up that morning, walking into my dorm’s common room, and seeing the footage on TV. My first instinct was a good one; I returned to my room and engaged in compassion meditation practices, offering my heart and sympathy for all of those affected by this tragedy… read on.