Om Ah Simpson

September 6, 2012

Found on Google+, and the source tracked down with the help of Rod Meade Sperry at Shambhala Sun.

Homer Simpson on a donut zafu, holding a mala and pretzel. Yours for only $50.

HBO’s ‘Enlightened’ take on modern meditation

October 11, 2011

NPR: Can people really change? That’s the question Laura Dern and Mike White ask in their new HBO series, Enlightened, which premieres Monday night. The show features Dern as Amy Jellicoe, an ambitious executive who has a nervous breakdown at her workplace. She goes to a rehabilitation center in Hawaii, where she experiences an awakening.

When Amy returns home, she wants to put her new philosophy into practice — meditating, communicating better with her mother (Diane Ladd), and fostering a healthier relationship with her ex-husband (Luke Wilson). But she finds her lessons of enlightenment being put to the test.

Show creator Mike White…

Click to read more »

News of selfless acts has positive effect: study

April 3, 2011

Good news begets better people.

That was the conclusion of new research released Tuesday by the University of British Columbia, that found people with a strong sense of “moral identity” were inspired to do good when they read media stories about Good Samaritans’ selfless acts.

According to lead author Karl Aquino, who studies forgiveness and moral behaviour issues, four separate studies found a direct link between a person’s exposure to media accounts of extraordinary virtue and their yearning to change the world.

He said media reports could potentially play a crucial role in the mobilization of history makers if less attention was paid to negative coverage.

“Our study indicates that if more attention was devoted … Read more »

Film review: Crazy Wisdom: The Life and Times of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche

February 18, 2011

Unique perspective on controversial Tibetan lama’s life and teachings skews toward the reverential.

Well before American Buddhists and New Age acolytes began flocking to the feet of Tibet’s Dalai Lama, hippies and spiritual seekers were following in the footsteps of Chogyam Trungpa, a Tibetan lama who took up residence in the U.S. during the 1970s.

A provocative account of Trungpa’s global odyssey, Crazy Wisdom offers a perceptive, if one-sided, perspective on Trungpa’s impact on American spirituality and the arts, but is probably too rarified for the uninitiated — film fests, DVD and VOD will provide the best refuge.

Born in Tibet in 1939, Trungpa was identified as a reincarnate lama (“rinpoche”) before he was two … Read more »

Groupon Superbowl ad trivializes the suffering of the Tibetan people

February 7, 2011

Groupon, an outfit that offers discount coupons online, ran what it no doubt thought was a witty little ad during the Superbowl (apparently some kind of US sporting event in which massive numbers of people celebrate physical excellence by sitting in front of TV sets for hours, consuming large quantities of calories washed down by alcoholic beverages).

The ad begins with what appears to be a serious tone, with the actor Timothy Hutton saying: “The people of Tibet are in trouble, their very culture in jeopardy.” This is of course, true. Since the Chinese occupation began, Tibetan culture and religion has been oppressed. Many Tibetans have fled the country in order to escape persecution. Monasteries … Read more »

Stressed out? Try mindfulness meditation (Toronto Globe & Mail)

January 10, 2011

Zindel Segal was in a Toronto bookstore a few weeks ago, when a title caught his eye. The book, The Mindful Investor, caused him a moment of shock and panic.

“I turned to someone and said, ‘This is the beginning of the end,’ ” recalls Dr. Segal, who heads the cognitive behaviour therapy clinic at Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.

The book, which purports to explain how a calm mind can help a person achieve financial security, is a sign that the concept of mindfulness is making a leap into mass popularity. But that doesn’t mean people actually understand it, he says.

Mindfulness is a technique for slowing down and examining one’s … Read more »

‘Vedanta and yoga perfect match for certain American values’

January 10, 2011

There has always been a pervasive but undocumented feeling that Indian philosophy, as manifest in Vedanta on the intellectual plain and yoga on the physical plain, has very significantly influenced the West in general and America in particular. That feeling now finds a meticulously constructed scholastic endorsement in the form of an important new book.

Author Philip Goldberg’s ‘American Veda – From Emerson to the Beatles to Yoga and Meditation, How Indian Spirituality Changed the West’ (Harmony Books, 398 pages, $26) [available on and] offers a comprehensive account of the inroads made by Indian philosophy since the early 19th century.

‘The combination of Vedanta and Yoga was a perfect match for certain … Read more »

“Thought is gazing onto the face of life, and reading what can be read.”

December 29, 2010

buddha faceAt the climax of the 2001 movie Vanilla Sky, Tom Cruise’s character, playboy David Aames, comes to realize that he’s been in suspended animation for 150 years and is trapped in a dream. He makes this discovery on top of an improbably tall building, apparently miles high, with the guidance of Edmund Ventura, a “Support Technician” who is trying to guide him back to waking reality.

Before he entered suspended animation, David had made the decision to awaken from this dream by facing his fear of heights. In order to wake up, he must now leap from the top of the building. Also on the rooftop is someone who has been a father figure … Read more »

Do you know where you’re going to? The Teaching of Guru Garth

July 7, 2010

There is a profound teaching in the movie Wayne’s World. When asked by the evil Benjamin “How do you feel about making a change?”, Wayne’s friend and side-kick Garth responds in a deadpan voice “We fear change.” It’s a popular part of the movie, with thousands of references to it online, and like many jokes it has a significant truth at its heart.

We really do fear change. We don’t know what change may bring us, and for many people that fear of the unknown is so strong that it not only stifles their growth and development, it keeps them in abusive relationships or jobs that they hate. For many people the security of … Read more »

“Bodhisattva, Superstar” – a film about popular culture and Buddhism

A new “allegorical documentary” about Western perceptions of, and misconceptions about, Buddhism, looks to be very interesting. The following is from the movie’s website:

Bodhisattva, Superstar, a new film by multimedia artist Michael Trigilio, confronts American popular culture’s habit of addressing the subject of religion with alternating degrees of deluded piety or flippant scorn.

Popular culture’s treatment of Buddhism often is ensnared by the language of marketing, using Buddhist language or images to sell shampoos, candy bars, or self-help recipes of one kind or another.

As one contemporary Buddhist author interviewed in the film suggests, many Americans expect Buddhism to be simply “a mash up of every Eastern philosophy they’ve ever heard of.”

Bodhisattva, Superstar

Read more »