August 23, 2018

A new report detailing widespread sexual abuse, criminal sexual assault, and community complicity in Shambhala has been published today by Andrea Winn’s Buddhist Project Sunshine.* The report is 46 pages long and addresses a number of questions that have arisen since the second report. It also features new findings from Carol Merchasin, an independent investigator invited to look into allegations against Shambhala leadership and in particular Ösel Rangdröl Mukpo (aka Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche). Mukpo/Sakyong is the son of Chögyam Trungpa, the charismatic… Read more

August 22, 2018

Sixteen hours of travel and four hours of sleep left me particularly jet-lagged and head-achy as I arrived in Hong Kong on Monday. I am starting a semester-long position as a Visiting Instructor at the Centre of Buddhist Studies at Hong Kong University. I will be teaching courses on two of my favorite topics: Buddhism in Contemporary Society and Buddhist Ethics. As it turns out, the readings on the two have a relatively large amount of overlap (largely because Peter… Read more

August 15, 2018

With a steady stream of abuse allegations against senior leadership and well-known teachers, many Shambhala Buddhists are asking the obvious question: should I stay or should I go? Before the Project Sunshine report, published in February 2018, Shambhala International had maintained a relatively low-key profile in the American religious scene: a somewhat questionable but charismatic founder in the 1970s, mostly (?) standard Tibetan Buddhism teachings, plenty of drama but, perhaps, stability in its second generation… I have gotten to know… Read more

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

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