the honest scrap award

According the Internets, “This award is bestowed upon a fellow blogger whose blog content or design is, in the giver’s opinion, brilliant. This award is about bloggers who post from their heart, who oftentimes put their heart on display as they write from the depths of their soul.” I’ve been nominated. You have been, too. Spread the joy.

the Dalai Lama

Dana and I had the opportunity to see the Dalai Lama speak in Berkeley yesterday. Through a series of more than fortunate events, not only did we get tickets to the Greek Theater, we got front row tickets. And, by the way, sitting directly behind us, was James Hetfield, Metallica front man, and his family.

The fifteen-year-old-kid in me, who played Metallica covers in his junior high school band, wants to gloat about that, wants to say irreverently that he got better tickets than James Hetfield. But there’s not much to say and I suspect you’d rather hear about what the Dalai Lama had to say.

compassionate violence

This past Friday, Prof. Steve Jenkins from Humboldt State University gave a lecture at the Institute of Buddhist Studies called “Compassionate Violence, Torture, and Warfare in the Bodhisattva Ideal.” In short, it was super fascinating.

While I can certainly do no justice to his lengthy talk, and while I certainly haven’t spent the better part of the last twenty years reading countless Buddhist texts — in their original languages — I did want to put down some of the things I learned and raise some interesting questions. And, of course, talk about The Matrix.

podcasts and other things

The new episode of the DharmaRealm is up (go listen! now!) in which we talk about American Shin Buddhist practice. One of the things we recognize is that the BCA is very much “family Buddhism.” This is a double-edged sword, of course. One the one hand, it acknowledges that people have families, they have kids and jobs and lives, and it can be very difficult to practice Buddhism. So the BCA creates a space that is extremely open and welcoming to anyone complete with Dharma Schools for the kids. But this can also be really difficult for the solitary practitioner. It can be hard to find your place in a century-old community where there are long-standing family networks if you yourself don’t have a family or pre-exisiting ties. It’s a real problem, and Harry and I certainly don’t solve the issue in this one episode, but I was excited to have a chance to talk about it regardless.

from the archives

A couple of interesting bits from the Internets have found their way on to the ol’ desktop today. First up is an article from a 1962 issue of Time magazine celebrating the 70th anniversary of Buddhism in America. You do the math. The second, along with my thoughts on the nature of consciousness, is the conversation between Stephen Batchelor and Robert Thurman about reincarnation, brought to you by Tricycle.

way too much data, or not enough?

Because we here at the buddha is my dj aim to please, allow me to present some interesting statistics and data culled, mostly, from a recently published book, North American Buddhists in Social Context, an edited volume of ten chapters dealing with different communities of Buddhists across the United States and Canada. I’m citing these stats in part because of the conversation that popped up in the comments thread to my last post. I’m also posting them because I think sharing data is a worthwhile and valuable activity that allows us to have something meaningful and factual to talk about rather than basing our assumptions of what (we think) we know on our own limited experience.