Joshua Eaton, Religion Dispatches: When I showed up the room at Harvard Divinity School was already overflowing. World-renowned professors were packing the aisles along with undergrads, standing in the doorways, and squeezing in behind furniture. At the front of the room stood Bhikkhu Bodhi—a short, soft-spoken Buddhist monk with a marked Brooklyn accent—who held the audience rapt even as he explained dry, technical details of meditation.
Born Jeffrey Block, Bikkhu Bodhi has a PhD in philosophy and years of monastic training in Sri Lanka. He is best known for his translations of the Theravada Buddhist scriptures from the Pali language into English—a massive undertaking.
Rocket News 24 (Japan): What do you think of when you hear the word Zen? For most people, “organized religion” probably isn’t a phrase that pops up immediately. This can be a bit of a predicament for Zen Buddhist missionaries working in places like Europe and North America.
The word, which comes from a Japanese translation of the Chinese word chán, literally means meditation, and has developed a romantic sense of being purely in the moment and devoid of all thought. This concept has been focused on by various artists in Western culture like Jack Kerouac, with a diminished emphasis on the less sexy …
William Wilson Quinn, Washington Post: American Buddhism’s numbers are booming. Published just over three years ago, an American Religious Identification Survey survey showed that from the years 1990 to 2000, Buddhism grew 170 percent in North America. By all indications that remarkable rate of growth continues unabated.
Why is a faith founded under a Bodhi tree in India 2,500 years ago enjoying a newfound popularity in America today?
There is no such thing as a historic North American Buddhist tradition, a fact that is crucial to understanding and facilitating Buddhism’s blossoming. This growth is all the more remarkable given that Buddhism was arguably the most recent import …
As a long-standing Western Buddhist, my curiosity was piqued by this book. Work, sex and money are crucial issues to all of us, so I was interested to hear what Trungpa said.
Chogyam Trungpa was a major figure in the establishment of Buddhism in the West – particularly in North America. He was the founder of Vajradhatu and the Naropa Institute, two major achievements in themselves. But he did more than this.
Born in Tibet in 1940, and recognised as an infant as a major Kagyu tulku, he intensively trained in monasteries with Jamgon Kongtrul and other eminent teachers, later receiving full ordination. After dramatically escaping Tibet in 1959, he eventually arrived in Oxford University … Read more »
The Buddha Walks Into A Bar: A Guide to Life for a New Generation is the literary debut of 28 year-old Shambhala Buddhist teacher, Lodro Rinzler. The book is aimed at “Generation O” and makes no assumptions about any prior knowledge or experience of Buddhism. Having said that, despite being a ‘young Buddhist’ I have almost a decade of experience of Buddhism yet I still found this book enjoyable, useful, and interesting.
I must admit, I did wince slightly at some of the expressions in the book, such as “Sid said…” when referring to the Buddha, but perhaps this is due to not being so ‘down with the kids’ these days. However, the cringe-effect quickly … Read more »
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 »
We have a copy of Ponlop Rinpoche’s Rebel Buddha to give away! All you have to do is to comment below, telling us which article in Wildmind you most appreciate, and why. (Please do supply a link to, or at least the title of, the article you’re nominating).
The competition is open to anyone, world-wide, and the winner will be chosen at random on December 12.
Rebel Buddha is an exploration of what it means to be free and how it is that we can become free.
Although we may vote for the head of our government, marry for love, and worship the divine or mundane powers of our choice, most of us don’t really … Read more »
Robert Aitken Roshi, one of the most influential and respected western teachers in the Zen tradition, has passed away. I have to confess that I’m not that familiar with his writings (so many books, so little time) but I’m glad that although the man is no longer with us, he leaves an extensive body of work. Here’s one example of his teaching that I came across.
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Recently, an old-timer came to me and complained that he no longer felt enthusiasm for his practice. I questioned him and learned that he was limiting his zazen to his visits to the Zendo. I can understand how his enthusiasm might erode over a
Trungpa Rinpoche was a deeply flawed man, but an inspiring teacher. A new book gives Suriyavamsa a chance to reflect on Trungpa’s genius, and on the visceral and striking teaching it gave rise to.
I remember studying with my teacher Sangharakshita in a group of Triratna Buddhist centre teachers a couple of years ago. He expressed his admiration for Chogyam Trungpa and, using Gurdjieff’s distinction between the narrow saint and the broad genius, considered Trungpa to be a flawed genius of intelligence, flair and imagination. Sangharakshita went on to encourage us all to become ‘geniuses’ – to be broad and other regarding, and to develop the many diverse talents necessary to spread the Buddha’s teachings.… Read more »
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:
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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.”