August 6, 2018

I watched End of the Tour (2015) last night, a movie about a writer, David Lipsky, spending a few days with the novelist David Foster Wallace. It felt like a somewhat slow and at times meandering film made good through insight into the complex humanity of Wallace and a handful of his deeply perceptive observations of contemporary (2008) American life. It’s a nerdy guy film, which many women will like too – a bit like Wallace’s novels as he confesses to… Read more

July 20, 2018

The Three Jewels (triratna in Sanskrit, tiratana in Pali) represent what for many is the quintessential hallmark of being or becoming a Buddhist: going for refuge. The refuges and jewels are: the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. The Awakened one, the Truth or his Teachings, and the four-fold community of lay men and women and monks and nuns. In some traditions, Buddha is expanded beyond the historical Buddha and his teachings to a more abstract sense of awakening. And the Sangha too can take… Read more

July 6, 2018

Every year for the last three years I’ve joined the Woodenfish Humanistic Buddhist Monastic Life Program as an instructor (I was a student on it in Taiwan in 2010 and a similar one in China in 2009). The program brings 80-100 students, average age around 24, to a monastery in China, supported by about 10 staff and 3 or 4 academic instructors. Our job as academic instructors is to provide approximately a full semester’s worth of material in around 14… Read more

June 27, 2018

Below is a mini-interview with Katie Loncke of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship who I had the honor of interviewing for BuddhistDoor Global. Have a look at the full interview, Tough Choices, Deep Joys: Engaged Buddhism with Katie Loncke of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship. JW: The BPF has been around since 1978 (Happy 40th anniversary of BPF, btw!). Do you feel like it is recognized and respected as a 40 year old institution in American Buddhism? How do you see BPF fitting… Read more

June 21, 2018

My friend Carissa Véliz from the University of Oxford has a great review up today on the Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews site (a wonderful resource for philosophers, East, West and otherwise). It looks at Krista K. Thomason’s new book , Naked: The Dark Side of Shame and Moral Life, and offers fresh insights into philosophical thought about shame. Shame is a fraught topic in ordinary discourse: associated with crushing feelings of self-doubt or hate (and harm) and of often-excessive public flogging… Read more

June 20, 2018

The Chronicle of Higher Education today reports on the many thousands of academics and academic leaders who are speaking out against the current ‘zero tolerance’ policy leading to thousands of children separated from families and living in newly-constructed tent cities. These academics join Catholics, United Methodists, and Buddhists (covered at Buddhistdoor Global) in condemning the current actions. It is increasingly clear that people of conscience from across the world are speaking out against this. Lion’s Roar magazine deputy editor Andrea Miller… Read more

June 18, 2018

(Updated: there are 1250 signatures as of 6pm Pacific Time; all four living former First Ladies condemn the current President’s policy, 2/3 of Americans also oppose the current policy, and there seems to be a fair amount of lying going on by the White House about the policy and its history) As reported on Rev. James Ford’s blog and Lion’s Roar, Zen teachers and others from across America have together signed a petition to “unreservedly condemn” the recent policy of… Read more

June 14, 2018

Back in the early days of blogging (this blog began in 2004), the bloglist was an integral part of connecting with fellow writers and following their work. A growing list meant a growing network of fellow-minded travelers. For me this included academics, travelers, friends, photographers, and philosophers. From 2011 or so through the last couple years, the blogging world has shifted. Or perhaps I have shifted alone and away from much of the “Buddhist blogosphere” as this amorphous space was… Read more

June 6, 2018

That is a mouthful. Let me unpack it a bit. When I first became interested in Buddhism around 20 years ago, “mindfulness” was still just one part of a larger path. Buddhism was cool; the Dalai Lama seemed limitlessly happy. Meditation was okay; something that Buddhists obviously did to make themselves so happy. But there was little or nothing advertised as “mindful,” either at local Buddhist groups or elsewhere. Today everything is advertised as “mindful,” from cashews to dating websites,… Read more

May 31, 2018

Zen teacher Barry Magid offered the following observation yesterday. It is a rich passage, a condensation of many trends growing and potentials available in Western Buddhism today: There has been a sea change in Western Buddhism that we are only beginning to acknowledge and come to terms with, a sea change comparable to a Protestant Reformation within traditional Buddhism. As with the Reformation , Western Buddhism has increasingly made daily life the locus of spirituality and practice, has moved away… Read more

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