Keep calm and cultivate compassion

November 9, 2016

keep-calm-compassion“Hatred is never appeased by hatred in this world. By non-hatred alone is hatred appeased.” — The Dhammapada

The weeks leading up to the US presidential election were a real emotional roller coaster for me. I’m still a “Resident Alien” rather than a citizen, and so I couldn’t vote. But of course I had opinions and feelings about the outcome of the election, which directly affects my life in many ways.

The election is of course now over, and it didn’t go the way I’d hoped. It was unthinkable to me that Donald Trump could possibly be elected. Even though polls have been wrong in the past, the fact that a large majority of people … Read more »

Briton jailed in Burma for ‘insulting’ Buddha image named prisoner of conscience by Amnesty

October 9, 2015

wildmind meditation newsPhilip Sherwell, The Telegraph: A British bar manager jailed in a notorious Rangoon prison for insulting Buddhism is to be named as a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International as his family and human rights activists campaign for his release.

Philip Blackwood’s case has become embroiled in the political ascendancy of radical Buddhist nationalist monks in the run-up to landmark elections in Burma next month.

His supporters have argued that his prosecution for religious defamation for uploading an image of Buddha wearing headphones to advertise his bar was a maneuver by the military-backed government to court nationalist support in the former British colony also …

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Buddhists are pro-environment, pro-evolution

May 22, 2015

evo_env-relig3

Josh Rosenau, evolutionary biologist and Programs and Policy Director at the National Center for Science Education downloaded the 2007 version of Pew’s Religious Landscape Survey and mapped the correlation between attitudes on the environment and attitudes on evolution. The result is the graph above. His blog post on this graph is here.

In the original survey, people had been asked which of these statements they most agreed with:

Stricter environmental laws and regulations cost too many jobs and hurt the economy; or
Stricter environmental laws and regulations are worth the cost.

The second question asked people to agree or disagree with the statement:

Evolution is the best explanation for the origins of human life

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We can save a precious Buddhist archaeological site!

May 15, 2015

Brent Huffman, who travelled to Afghanistan to film the desperate efforts by archaeologists to document the ancient city of Mes Aynak before it turns into a Chinese-funded open-cast copper mine, wrote today to point out these new artifacts, which were recently unearthed:

The unheard-of level of preservation on discoveries just like this is one of the many reasons why Mes Aynak provides such a unique insight into Buddhism and Afghanistan’s past. This historical treasure must be protected and preserved!

Mes Aynak (“little copper well” in Pashto) is a mountainous site in the Taliban-controlled Logar Province, Afghanistan, 25 miles southeast of Kabul near the Pakistan border. Mes Aynak contains the ancient remains of a 2,000-year-old … Read more »

125 U.S. Buddhist leaders to meet at the White House

wildmind meditation newsMichelle Boorstein, Washington Post: Are we about to enter the era of the political Buddhist?

On Thursday about 125 U.S. Buddhist leaders from across the spectrum will gather in Washington for what organizers say may be the biggest conference ever focused on bringing their faith communities into public, civic life. After the conference, the group will meet with officials at the White House, which longtime writers on U.S. Buddhism say is a first.

The daylong conference represents, some experts say, the start of a civic awakening not only among U.S. Buddhists, …

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Dalai Lama’s demand for greater autonomy rejected by China

August 8, 2013

Harold Mandel, examiner.com: His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s hopes that Beijing would give serious consideration to his desire for autonomy for Tibet have been thwarted by China. The Tibet Sun reported on August 7, 2013 that China has rejected the Dalai Lama’s demand for greater autonomy. China has said the Dalai Lama’s demand for a “high degree of autonomy” for Tibet went against the Chinese Constitution and the “fundamental interests of Tibetan Buddhism”.

Yu Zhengsheng, a senior leader of the ruling Communist Party of China, said in his talks with Buddhist monks and religious officials during his current tour of Tibet, “Dalai Lama’s so-called “high-degree of…

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50 years ago this week…

June 14, 2013

June 11: 50 years ago today, a Buddhist monk named Thich Quang Duc calmly sat down in the middle of a street in South Vietnam in front of the Cambodian Embassy, while a fellow monk poured gasoline over his head. A moment later, he set himself on fire.

He was protesting the systemic religious discrimination against Buddhists by the Roman Catholic regime of dictator Ngo Dinh Diem. Although Catholics were very much a minority in the country, they enjoyed majority status and privileges. Buddhists were not allowed to practice their religion in public, serve in the army, and were routinely discriminated against.

[Via Death and Taxes]

Buddhism, wealth, and happiness

May 2, 2013

Screen Shot 2013-05-02 at May 2, 4.20.08 PMBe forewarned. You’re going to see a bunch of headlines soon like this one from Business Week: Economists Nail It: You Can Never Be Too Rich.

The Business Week post is rather breathless: “I just spoke with Justin Wolfers, co-author of a short but important new paper that concludes the more money you have, on average, the happier you are.” I almost see the author’s laptop screen misting as he pants with excitement.

Business Week describes this finding thus: “That may seem to deserve a Homer Simpson “Duh!” award for most obvious research finding of the month” before going on to admit that actually previous research has shown this not to be the case: … Read more »

Tibet is burning

December 13, 2012

Xu Zhiyong, New York Times: Around noon on Feb. 19, an 18-year-old named Nangdrol set himself on fire near the Zamthang Monastery in the northeast Tibetan town of Barma. In a note left behind, he wrote, “I am going to set myself on fire for the benefit of all Tibetans.” Referring to China’s ethnic Han majority as “devils,” he added, “It is impossible to live under their evil law, impossible to bear this torture that leaves no scars.”

Over the last three years, close to 100 Tibetan monks and laypeople have set themselves on fire; 30 people did so between Nov. 4 and Dec. 3. The Chinese government …

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Buddhist scholar Robert Thurman calls for an end to the Norquist tax pledge

December 5, 2012

In this short talk, Professor Robert Thurman of Columbia University highlights the contradiction involved in congresspeople taking the oath of allegiance to the US Constitution and also pledging never, under any circumstances, to raise taxes. Further, he argues that the desire of Grover Norquist, who started this pledge, to shrink government to the size that it can be “drowned in a bathtub” is anarchistic and profoundly unconstitutional: in effect an act of sedition or treason.

The core of the sedition argument is that the oath of office says:

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will

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