Dalai Lama appoints American as monastery abbot

October 6, 2012

Via NPR.

Michel Martin: if you wanted to predict just who the Dalai Lama might select to lead one of the faith’s most important monasteries, you probably wouldn’t think about a boarding school educated, globe-trotting New York photographer whose grandmother was one of the most celebrated fashionistas of her time, but that’s just who the Dalai Lama did select, saying his, quote, “special duty is to bridge Tibetan tradition and the Western world,” unquote.

Nicholas Vreeland is the new abbot of the Rato Monastery in India and he joins us from there now. Welcome. Thank you so much for joining us.

NICHOLAS VREELAND: Thank you. It’s an honor to be here.

MARTIN: Now, in my … Read more »

Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche featured in new documentary

September 17, 2012

Stephen Pedersen, Chronicle Herald: What is uncommon about Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, the king who is the subject of Johanna J. Lunn’s 72-minute documentary, An Uncommon King, is that he is a chogyal, an earth protector, a king of the dharma, a lineage holder, protector of the Shambhala teachings, which focus on secular meditation fostering enlightened society.

Those teachings and that story are part of Nova Scotia history, ever since the Sakyong’s father, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, moved his international headquarters from Colorado to Halifax.

It took Lunn three years to tell the story.

“About five years ago,” Lunn said in a recent interview, “a …

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Dalai Lama tells his Facebook friends that religion “is no longer adequate”

September 13, 2012

George Dvorsky, io9: This past Monday, people who have the Dalai Lama as a Facebook friend found this little gem in their newsfeed.

All the world’s major religions, with their emphasis on love, compassion, patience, tolerance, and forgiveness can and do promote inner values. But the reality of the world today is that grounding ethics in religion is no longer adequate. This is why I am increasingly convinced that the time has come to find a way of thinking about spirituality and ethics beyond religion altogether.

The Dalai Lama’s advice sounds startling familiar — one that echos the sentiment put forth by outspoken …

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Meditation improves emotional behaviors in teachers, study finds

March 28, 2012

Schoolteachers who underwent a short but intensive program of meditation were less depressed, anxious or stressed – and more compassionate and aware of others’ feelings, according to a UCSF-led study that blended ancient meditation practices with the most current scientific methods for regulating emotions.

A core feature of many religions, meditation is practiced by tens of millions around the world as part of their spiritual beliefs as well as to alleviate psychological problems, improve self-awareness and to clear the mind. Previous research has linked meditation to positive changes in blood pressure, metabolism and pain, but less is known about the specific emotional changes that result from the practice.

The new study was designed to create … Read more »

Meditation helps kids pay attention, leading researcher says

February 17, 2012

Gordon Hoekstra, PostMedia News: Simple meditation techniques, backed up with modern scientific knowledge of the brain, are helping kids hard-wire themselves to be able to better pay attention and become kinder, says neuroscientist Richard Davidson.

Davidson — who will speak Friday at the University of British Columbia on his new co-authored book, The Emotional Life of Your Brain — has put his research into practice at elementary schools in Madison, Wis.

About 200 students at four elementary schools have used breathing techniques to hard-wire their brains to improve their ability to focus on their work.

"It’s so widely popular and successful, the district wants …

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New books for new thinking in a new year

January 9, 2012

I thought to write about books to ring in the New Year last Sunday, but my column was due almost a week ahead and I was still enjoying all the wonderful holiday treats hanging around my home. Not to mention the parties, the bowl games and champagne.

But now that the New Year is here and I’m in diet/resolution mode, I’m ready to share my collection of, shall we say, new thinking books, the ones we hope will shape us up physically and mentally.

Let’s start with a master. The Dalai Lama continues his dialogue with scientists and experts with the Mind and Life …

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“Now I Know That Silly Hopes and Fears Will Just Make Wrinkles on My Face” by Sally Devorsine

November 23, 2011

This lovely children’s book has been test-driven by my five-year-old daughter, and found to be engaging and illuminating. In my amateur estimation it would be suitable for children considerably older — at least up to the age of eight or nine.

Now I Know (the full title is “Now I Know That Silly Hopes and Fears Will Just Make Wrinkles on My Face”) is the first of a series, also called Now I Know, described as a “Collection of Retro Cool Wisdom for Kids.” This series of children’s books is written and illustrated by Sally Devorsine, who lives in Bhutan, where she teaches a western school curriculum to young monks.

Title: Now I

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Dalai Lama questions wisdom of self-immolations

November 19, 2011

BBC News: The Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, says he is very worried about the growing number of monks and nuns setting themselves on fire to protest against Chinese rule in Tibet.

He told the BBC he was not encouraging such actions – saying there was no doubt they required courage, but questioning how effective they were.

There have been 11 cases of self-immolation so far this year.

Most have resulted in death – the latest a 35-year-old nun two weeks ago.

The BBC has obtained graphic footage of the moment she set herself alight, prompting horrified cries from onlookers. Later, Chinese security forces flooded …

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Another Tibetan nun dies by self-immolation in China

November 5, 2011

Andrew Jacobs: A Buddhist nun in southwest Sichuan Province died Thursday after setting herself on fire, becoming the 11th Tibetan to embrace a grisly protest against Chinese rule and at least the sixth to die doing so.

The death of the nun, Qiu Xiang, 35, was reported by Xinhua, the official news agency, and confirmed by exile groups, who gave her Tibetan name as Palden Choetso. She was the second nun in the predominantly Tibetan region to take her own life by self-immolation.

Like two previous cases, the most recent suicide took place in Ganzi Prefecture, known as Kardze in Tibetan, which is the site …

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South Africa denies visa to Dalai Lama

October 4, 2011

The government of South Africa has refused to issue a visa to the Dalai Lama, who has been forced to cancel a trip there to celebrate the 80th birthday of fellow Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Archbishop Desmond Tutu. The Tibetan leader was supposed to be visiting South Africa this Thursday.

According to the Dalai Lama’s office, visa applications were submitted to the South African High Commission in New Delhi at the end of August and original passports were submitted on 20th September, but nothing was subsequently heard.

According to the New York Times, Cosatu, a powerful coalition of trade unions, criticized the South African government for allowing China to influence South Africa’s foreign … Read more »