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.

a multiyana perspective

At the risk of being permanently labeled “that guy who does nothing but bitch about what’s wrong with everyone else’s approach to Buddhism but rarely advances his own cogent ideas or practical solutions,” allow me to explain what I think multiyana would mean and how it could be put into practice and why I think it’s important or worth talking about in some sort of general way.

on being ruffled

But I think we need to understand that anger, that being offended, that being ruffled or riled, is okay. “Offended” is, at the end of the day, an emotion. It is essentially no different than “happy” or “in love” or “light-hearted” or “sad” or “jealous” or, dare I say it, “enlightened.” And this knee-jerk reaction against being offended isn’t any more “Buddhist” than a calm or equanimous reaction. In fact, when you judge “offended” or “self-rightous” as “bad” and “calm” or “letting it go” as “good,” isn’t that nothing more than discriminative thinking?