|12/03/2017 10:07 (GMT+7)|
Dharma practitioners, and many people who uphold and live by ethical values, can sometimes be far from open minded, even old fashioned to the point of having preconceptions against modern ways of life and all sorts of technology-based tools, in particular the Internet. Practitioners who seek Internet connections for their retreat abodes are often frowned upon, as if Internet connectivity somehow invalidates the integrity of their practice and the purity of their practice boundary. In this column, I will seek to defend the view that technologies are not inherently at fault, but are merely instruments that can be used ethically or unethically.
|08/03/2017 18:18 (GMT+7)|
The far-reaching benefits of meditation and mindfulness, as long recognized by many spiritual traditions, are gaining increasing traction in the West, both within and outside the Buddhist world. Perhaps nowhere is this postivie impact being more keenly felt, and with the greatest potential to improve the future, than at the growing number of schools that are incorporating these practices into their daily curriculums.
|06/03/2017 18:43 (GMT+7)|
I once had a dance teacher who shared with us his trick for ensuring a successful performance: he would rehearse his dance company enough to know the piece, but also to be just a little tired. If they were not tired enough, they would try too hard and the beauty of the performance would be lost. As exhaustion is not helpful to performing, I had imagined that any fatigue would be an impediment, so I was surprised that his technique for “just right” was to ensure that the dancers were a little tired. Then I saw the wisdom in his method. As this teacher worked with us to create our own choreographies, he was always finding ways to get us out of our heads and into the movement. It turns out that “a little tired” does this automatically. The lesson has stayed with me long past my life as a dance student: ease is more beautiful than striving; it is also more enjoyable and thus applies to all of life.
|01/03/2017 18:56 (GMT+7)|
The Tibetan Plateau is home to some of the world’s rarest wild species, among them the elusive snow leopard. With estimates for the total global population ranging from 3,920–6,390 in the wild, snow leopards are classified as endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.* In recent years, however, an unlikely wildlife activist has embarked on a self-imposed mission to record the declining biodiversity of the Tibetan Plateau. The Buddhist monk, who comes from a traditional Tibetan nomadic community and goes by the name Drukyab, travels through the Himalayas documenting the snow leopard, along with other other flora and fauna in the remote region, seeking to raise awareness about threats to the region’s delicate ecological balance.
|24/02/2017 15:20 (GMT+7)|
“Ultimately, all the creative arts are testaments to the foundational truths of Buddhist principles,” says Canadian-American writer Ruth Ozeki. Whether tracing the themes of interdependence and non-attachment, crafting characters who are Zen Buddhist nuns, or using her meditation practice as a springboard for new work, Ozeki has become a uniquely Buddhist voice in modern fiction.
|14/02/2017 10:55 (GMT+7)|
I truly enjoy my conversations with the quiet, authoritative Anam Thubten Rinpoche, and I was glad to learn last year that he likes coming to Hong Kong to teach. This patient and soft-spoken Nyingma master has a devoted, urbanite, and educated following in the cosmopolitan enclave. “I really enjoy being in Hong Kong and I feel that I’m learning how to teach in Hong Kong and understand more about the culture and people. The people have been wonderful, and the learning experience for me overall and sharing the Dharma has been a source of joy. The people who come to my teachings have been very sincere and intelligent, and I feel that these people really have the capacity to understand the depth of Buddhism,” he told me when we met in December.
|13/02/2017 23:59 (GMT+7)|
A new study from an international team of researchers indicates that climate change poses a direct threat to fragile mountain habitats, affecting both glaciers and the proliferation of high-altitude species. The international study, which examined seven of the world’s major mountain regions, which are warming twice as fast as the global average, found that higher temperatures are speeding up microbial activity, and leading to fundamental changes that could displace some plant life and dramatically alter the habitat of others.
|07/02/2017 17:26 (GMT+7)|
The world is beset by what are often called “intractable problems.” Agitation and response seem to run in circles of escalating violence, with little apparent creativity in the attempts to resolve these issues. Perhaps it is time to take a moment to pause, to self-reflect on what it would take to change a discussion, to offer a way forward that is not merely a self-righteous rehash of the past? While I was working in the Vale of Kashmir in the summer 2016 with a 700-year-old tradition of satirical performers known as Bhand Pather, whose plays are based on Sufi poetry and social observation, these simmering tensions took a turn for the worse. Eight Indian soldiers were murdered on a bus when militants ambushed an official convoy. Several days later, Burhan Wani, a popular young militant leader, was killed in a gun battle with security personnel, unleashing years of pent-up frustration among the populations of villages in Kashmir as well as the Indian security forces. In this ongoing cycle of violence and retribution, Kashmir is, regrettably, not so unique in the world, but perhaps the world has forgotten the suffering of Kashmir?
|04/02/2017 12:49 (GMT+7)|
In Myanmar’s strife-torn Rakhine State, where ethnic and religious tensions continue to simmer and segregate the Buddhist and Muslim communities, at least one ethnic Rakhine Buddhist, a 46-year-old school teacher, is willing to bridge this tragic divide that has been defined by violence and bloodshed. Since 2014, Maung Than Shwe has been the headmaster of the Basic Education High School (BEHS) in Thet Kay Pyin village, which is attended by children from one of the state’s biggest internment camps for displaced Muslims.
|02/02/2017 21:34 (GMT+7)|
“It’s not a thrill a minute. You’re not seeing auras and jumping into other dimensions,” says Susan Piver. “Meditation is not a life hack. . . . It’s a way to see clearly.”
|30/01/2017 11:27 (GMT+7)|
In Mathura, India, kind-hearted villagers and animal lovers are weaving colorful sweaters (calling them jumbo jackets) for elephants at the Elephant Conservation and Care Centre, a project of Wildlife SOS 30 miles north of Agra city. As temperatures in north India drop dramatically during this month, the garments will keep warm the rescued elephants, which suffer from blindness, disabilities, or other conditions caused by their abusers’ appalling treatment.
|29/01/2017 11:32 (GMT+7)|
In a new study published earlier this month in the journal Science Advances, climate researchers re-examine the likelihood that the swift and powerful Gulf Stream system of currents in the Atlantic Ocean—otherwise known as the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC)—could be affected or even collapse under the cumulative impact of climate change, leading temperatures in the northern hemisphere to drop by as much as 7°C.
|28/01/2017 15:17 (GMT+7)|
After a long and difficult journey across the precipices and through the blizzards of the Tian Shan mountain ranges, Xuanzang (fl. c. 602–64) finally reached the town of Bamiyan in modern-day Afghanistan. His celebrated pilgrimage to India was one of astonishing tenacity, aided by the protection of bodhisattvas from the forces of nature, and on this leg of his journey Xuanzang arrived in a valley separating the Hindu Kush from its western extension, the Koh-i-baba. The residents of Bamiyan, according to the Chinese monk, wore furs and rough woolen clothes, and made a living growing spring wheat, flowers, and fruit, and herding cows, horses, and sheep. The people had coarse, uncultivated manners, but Xuanzang admired their simple and sincere religious faith, which they expressed by carving two colossal Buddha images into the rocky northeastern hill overlooking their settlements (a third reclining Buddha recorded in Xuanzang’s journal has yet to be found).
|25/01/2017 17:55 (GMT+7)|
The Buddhist practice of life release (sometimes known as mercy release)—the act of saving the life of an animal that was destined for slaughter and returning it to the wild—is practiced by monastics and lay Buddhists in almost all schools of Buddhism, and is commonly viewed as an ideal way to earn spiritual merit and, through a small act of compassion, to make the world just a little bit better. However, as with many good intentions, when not practiced mindfully and with skill, it can result in far more harm than good.
|23/01/2017 11:15 (GMT+7)|
A Buddhist co-ed fraternity at San Diego State University (SDSU) in California, which is considered to the nation’s first, is developing quickly and getting national attention from different schools. According to The San Diego Union-Tribune, Delta Beta Tau, which was founded in 2015, is going to open another chapter at the University of California, San Diego or UC San Diego next year. Moreover, the Dharma Bums Buddhist Temple in downtown San Diego, which helped to form the fraternity itself, is expanding and hopes to move into an empty 1920s-era Swedenborgian Church in University Heights.
|21/01/2017 07:33 (GMT+7)|
Adding lemon to water not only quenches thirst better than any other beverage, but it also nourishes our body with vitamins, minerals and trace elements which we absolutely need. Lemon with water can be considered the best natural energy booster. When we wake up in the morning, our bodily tissues are dehydrated and are in need of water to push out toxins and rejuvenate the cells. In other words, this homemade “lemonade” helps eliminate internal toxins, regulating proper kidney and digestive tract functions by forcing them to work as smoothly as possible.
|09/01/2017 05:24 (GMT+7)|
Korean Buddhist nun Venerable Seon Jae, best known for popularizing the cuisine of Korean Buddhist temples, has released a new book titled What Do You Eat for Living? During a press briefing about the book in Seoul, in late December, Ven. Seon Jae spoke about temple food and the Buddhist culinary culture.
|06/01/2017 17:47 (GMT+7)|
Kunzang Palyul Odsal Changchub Choling (usually shortened to Kunzang Palyul Choling or KPC), a Tibetan Buddhist center in the United States, has created two stupa peace parks—one near Washington, DC, the other in Sedona, Arizona—to provide places of pilgrimage where people of all spiritual traditions can visit, pray, and meditate to find peace and benefit for themselves and others.
|01/01/2017 11:36 (GMT+7)|
The turning of the year is a natural time to pause and reflect on our lives, be it for the lunar or the Gregorian calendar. Many people prepare by cleaning or making resolutions. Some are excited about a new job or a new child, while others are living without food or shelter. But one thing holds true for everyone: none of us knows what the New Year will actually bring. The Buddha’s teaching on impermanence may seem redundant here, but I think this is the perfect time to examine it it more closely.
|31/12/2016 11:48 (GMT+7)|
What a year it’s been—brimming with economic and political upheavals that historians will be debating furiously for decades to come! Many joke (with a hint of grim sincerity) that the world might have lost its moorings because of the string of deaths of beloved household names that punctuated 2016, from David Bowie to Muhammad Ali to Prince. There is also a growing awareness of the increasingly critical decline of the planet’s ecological health, which can only mean bad news for humanity. We are all living on borrowed time unless we take radical measures to slow such destructive trends as ocean acidification, the melting of the polar icecaps and Himalayan glaciers, and the rapidly accelerating extinction of species (at least 10,000 each year, by conservative estimates!).