Zen and the art of brutality; or, How can a Buddhist write such violence?

A lot of people read my fiction and tell me something like, “Wait. I thought you were Buddhist?” Even friends are sometimes surprised that I am (by intention if not always by action) so committed to compassion and nonviolence and the pursuit of enlightenment, yet I write such cruel characters, such violent events, such aContinue reading “Zen and the art of brutality; or, How can a Buddhist write such violence?”

Photo blog 11

This is not a spectacular photo, I know, but I wanted to post it in honor of the 75th birthday of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama (6 July).  While he is not formally my teacher, I have received teachings from him, including teachings on Tara (the female bodhisattva of compassion, whose Chinese name isContinue reading “Photo blog 11”

The Netherlands: Days 7 & 8

Day 7 Monday, April 12, 2010 I am quite too relaxed to write.  I’ll try to jot down a few notes, but I expect to sleep soon. We did the Artis Zoo today, a beautiful complex packed not only with an excellent zoo but also with a planetarium, an aquarium, a zoological museum, an AfricanContinue reading “The Netherlands: Days 7 & 8”

The Netherlands: Day 6

Day 6 Sunday, April 11, 2010 Today started out continuing the forgetfulness of yesterday, though it improved quickly.  We decided to head to the Anne Frank House first thing this morning, thinking the crowds might be thinner early on a Sunday.  We were right, but even after a thorough run-through of our new pre-departure checklist,Continue reading “The Netherlands: Day 6”

The good times are killing me

We writers and academics love to ask each other what books we’d want with us if ever we’re stranded on a desert island, and we love offering clever, literary answers: Jane Austen, Cormac McCarthy, the Oxford English Dictionary, the Dhammapada. But we’re lying to ourselves.

Earthquake in Tibet

I’ve been meaning to post this for a few days now:  I join His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama in expressing his condolences to the victims of the recent earthquake in Tibet, and I hope he will be allowed to visit the region soon. I will try to post any information on relief efforts andContinue reading “Earthquake in Tibet”

After life

Look upon the world as a bubble, regard it as a mirage; who thus perceives the world, him Mara, the king of death, does not see. ~ Dhammapada, Canto XIII, verse 170 I’ve become a student of many aspects of many religions, but one of the areas I pay most attention to is death andContinue reading “After life”